Palisades Interstate Park Palisades Boulder Field Trail

Alpine, New Jersey 7620

Palisades Interstate Park Palisades Boulder Field Trail

Palisades Interstate Park: Palisades Boulder Field Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This awesome hike begins from the highest point of the New Jersey Palisades and steeply descends 530 feet to the Hudson River. Part of the trail is an obstacle course through a sea of boulders and part of it is a series of stone steps leading downward. Wear sturdy hiking shoes because some of the huge rocks are smooth and slippery—particularly when weather conditions are wet or icy.

Although this hike is strenuous in places, it’s well worth any muscle aches you may have afterward, for the views beneath volcanically formed vertical columns are exceptional. No doubt, Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano was impressed when he discovered the Palisades in 1524, which he referred to as a “fence of stakes.” Heavy quarrying once threatened this area, but when Congress established the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the natural beauty of these basaltic cliffs was preserved for all to enjoy. The cliffs of the New Jersey section, whose present appearance dates back about 12,000 years to the Ice Age, have been named a National Historic Landmark and also a National Natural Landmark."

Palisades Interstate Park: Palisades Boulder Field Trail Reviews

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This hike is awesome! I started early at 7 am. Started at the interstate area, headed down the stone steps to the base of the waterfall, then headed south along the river across the boulder field. The sun was smiling, and the hawks were flying the whole time. A few hikers passed by, but by no means a festival. There are several options to complete the loop. I chose to stay on the river trail up to the park headquarters, affording a much longer loop. It was well worth the effort. Will post pics shortly.
This was a very fun trail. And when they say boulder field they mean it. The entire east side of the hike is spent walking over boulders. The waterfall near the end was very nice too, a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat. This trail only took me 2 hours to complete.
Very scenic trail along hudson river. Be prepared for a 550' descent and ascent - with a mile long boulder field hike. A good workout. Pictures: The water fall at the end was dry - so go after a good rain (but after ground is dry - as the boulder field could be dangerous if the trail is wet.
I have done this trail at least four times and it is my favorite trail in the tri-state area. The boulder climbing is just so enjoyable, also very tiring and somewhat dangerous. They have a big sign before the boulder climbing starts that says "expert hikers only", don't let that scare you too much, I am not an expert hiker and I can't say I'm in a good shape either, and I was fine. There is also a specific section along the boulder climbing part of the hike, where you could climb down, and there is a small sandy beach from which you could have a pleasant swim in the warm, mildly salty, Hudson waters.
Trail was definitely a good time. I'm not sure how small kids would be able to pass some of those boulders as the guide says. There were some points that were real tough but the views were worth it. Wear long pants or pay very close attention to the MASSIVE amounts of poison ivy. Definitely bring ample water, there are only two points at which you can grab water to purify (I used SteriPEN) which are at the relative beginning and relative end.

Palisades Interstate Park: Palisades Boulder Field Trail Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
530 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day Hike
Dawn to dusk
Palisades Interstate Park Commission
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Jul 2018