Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights, This “hike” is more of a rock scramble for the first mile.
It’s a fun and fast paced puzzle trying to figure out how to get to the top. Vast views of the Hudson River and Storm King Mountain make the half workout worth it. Mostly easy switchbacks loop you back down to the parking area for a total of 4 miles.
Get Ready: Breakneck Ridge is near the town of Cold Spring, New York. It’s an hour and thirty minutes from New York City and an even shorter drive from Connecticut. Leave early, hike it up and enjoy brunch or lunch in the nearby town. Give yourself some time to walk around and check out the shops, too.
Get Set: There is a parking lot along 9D. Pull in and walk to the along the road to the summit trail. There is a path behind the bumper that you will be able to follow. Once you get to the trail head, you’ll be greeted with this sign – letting you know what you’re in for.
Go: In a few short steps you’ll learn why it’s called Breakneck Ridge. You’ll quickly hit a long, steep rock wall. Tilt your head back and take a look up before you hit the rocks scrambling. You’ll gain 1,200 ft. in the next 3/4 of a mile.
We brought two dogs with us and were impressed with their goat-like skills scaling up the rocks, however, we did have to hoist them a few times. If you choose to bring dogs just be sure you can lift them.
About halfway up the wall, there will be places to stop and enjoy the view of the Hudson River and Storm King Mountain right across it. Keep going up. After one false summit, you’ll see where you’re headed. From that point on, the loop sweeps around, behind and down the back side of the ridge. You’ll come across a sign that says to veer onto the yellow path to go to the parking lot or stay on white. STAY ON WHITE. The yellow and red paths are a cut through to the other side of the loop. If you’re tired, then there’s no shame in taking this path; just know, you won’t be completing the full loop. You’ll pass over a river and walk beside it back to the road.
Effort: This hike is to be taken seriously. It’s not the longest hike but the climb up is no joke. We saw some in tears on the way up because it can be scary navigating the rocks, especially on a wet day.
Takeaway: This hike was wonderful. The rock scramble was a nice and challenging change of pace. When I go back I might try to stay in the town of Cold Spring. There are sweet little shops and restaurants. You should definitely stop at Hudson Hil’s for the best mac n’ cheese ever and a Doc’s hard cider.
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