October 30, 2022 – Closter, NJ
Size: Roughly 4.6 miles
Max elevation: 535 ft. – complete elevation achieve roughly 841 ft.
Route sort: Circuit
Trailhead parking: State Line Lookout, Closter, NJ 07624
Parking Charges: Weekend Charges: $2.50/hr. – Weekday Charges: $1.50/hr. (First hour is free at State Line Lookout)
Restrooms on website
Please notice: Don’t try this hike if is moist or icy outdoors.
Particulars on Big Stairs hikes through totally different routes:
This hike explores the northern finish of the New Jersey Part of Palisades Interstate Park. It incorporates quite a few scenic options and, for almost all the distance, you might be far-off from the noise of the Parkway. Additionally it is essentially the most tough hike within the park, because it entails not solely steep climbs and descents on uneven rock steps, but in addition almost a mile of strolling close to the shore of the river on jumbled rocks.
The picture beneath reveals the jumbled rocks and boulders beneath the State Line Lookout that contains the “Big Stairs.”
This hike incorporates segments of the Lengthy Path, the Shore Path and an deserted part of Outdated Route 9W. The marked trails are properly blazed and for essentially the most half, simple to comply with. The mile lengthy part of jumbled rocks and boulders alongside the Shore Path known as “The Big Stairs,” has some recent white blazes, making it a lot simpler to comply with than the earlier occasions that I visited. The secret is to maintain an eye fixed out for the following white blaze earlier than you progress ahead.
I’ve carried out this hike on two separate events, utilizing barely totally different routes in July of 2016 and 2017. The rocks can get awfully sizzling through the summer season months and in a single space you might be completely uncovered to the weather. This time I waited for just a little cooler climate on the tail finish of the Fall foliage season. Though we bought an early begin (8am), it wasn’t lengthy till we encountered hordes of individuals alongside the Big Stairs part. For essentially the most half, nearly everybody that we encountered had been getting in the wrong way. My reasoning for doing this hike counterclockwise is that when the Big Stairs part is accomplished, Peanut Leap Falls and the ruins of an Italian Backyard makes for a great place to loosen up earlier than tackling the steep climb again up. I’ve but to see Peanut Leap Falls truly flowing, however there are quite a few locations to sit down in that space for a properly wanted relaxation.
This hike was carried out counterclockwise from the State Line Lookout.
Because the elevation graph signifies, there’s a steep descent to river stage at first of the hike and a steep climb again as much as the highest of the cliffs close to the top of the hike.
This hike begins within the parking space on the State Line Lookout. Proceed forward in the direction of the Palisades cliffs to get some instant views up and down the Hudson River. If you happen to get fortunate, you may even see a Peregrine Falcon or two perched on the cliff. If you end up carried out testing the views, head south alongside the deserted part of Outdated Route 9W, with the rock wall in your left. In about 600 toes, the outdated part of Route 9W reaches the doorway street to the State Line Lookout. Proceed fastidiously forward alongside the shoulder of the street. In about one other 400 yards, flip left on the aqua-blazed Lengthy Path, which heads south, parallel to the cliffs.
There’s a good viewpoint over the river simply to the left of the path (use warning right here, as there’s a steep dropoff). Simply past, the path begins a steep descent on rock steps, constructed by the park within the early years of the 20 th century. Use excessive warning when descending these steps, as they’re considerably uneven. The steps might be significantly hazardous when moist or coated with leaves.
After crossing a small stream on a picket footbridge, you’ll attain a path junction. The Lengthy Path turns proper, however you need to bear left, now following the blue/white-blazed Forest View Path. An indication signifies that it’s 0.3 mile from this level to the Shore Path, however the distance will most likely appear for much longer. The steep descent continues, first on extra rock steps, then on switchbacks, a few of that are properly graded, however others are rocky and uneven.
You’ll lastly attain the underside of the descent, marked by a big boulder. Right here you need to flip left and head north on the white-blazed Shore Path. Quickly, you’ll emerge onto an open space coated with vines.
A brief distance past, you’ll attain a subject of jumbled boulders. That is the start of the Big Stairs, essentially the most difficult part of the hike. After taking within the panoramic view to the north alongside the river and over the placing Palisades cliffs, bear left and comply with the white blazes as they start to climb over the rocks, paying cautious consideration to the white paint blazes.
For the following half mile, the path follows a rocky path about 100 vertical toes above the river. You’ll have to make use of care in deciding the place to take every step. In about half an hour, the path emerges onto an enormous talus subject, made up of enormous boulders which have fallen down from the cliffs above. That is the location of the large rockslide that passed off at 7:28 p.m. on Saturday, Could 12, 2012, during which a big part of the cliff face broke off and tumbled right down to the river. There are panoramic views throughout the river, and the lighter-faced rock column on the cliff signifies the place the rocks fell from.
On the finish of the talus subject, the path reenters the woods. In about ten minutes, it comes out on one other talus slope after which, after briefly passing by way of a wooded part, it emerges onto a 3rd talus slope, marked by an enormous tree stump. Once more, you’re afforded a panoramic view over the river, and also you’ll need to cease to relaxation from this tough part of the hike and benefit from the view.
The path now descends and ultimately comes near river stage. You’ll encounter yet one more rocky part, however this one is far simpler to barter. After a few mile of strolling on a comparatively easy footpath alongside the river, you’ll undergo a gate in a rusted chain-link fence. A brief distance past, you’ll attain the Peanut Leap Cascade. Adjoining to this waterfall, which is really spectacular after heavy rains, are the ruins of the Italian Backyard, constructed about 1900 by the sculptress Mary Lawrence-Tonetti, whose household owned an property at close by Sneden’s Touchdown.
From river stage again to the highest of the cliffs, you’ll achieve about 500 toes in elevation. Relaxation up right here, earlier than you sort out the steep climb.
After spending a while at this fascinating and delightful spot, comply with the white-blazed Shore Path because it turns left, away from the river, and climbs on picket steps and switchbacks. It parallels the stream resulting in the waterfall for a brief distance and shortly ends at a junction with the aqua-blazed Lengthy Path.
There are a number of ways in which one can go right here. We selected to proceed straight onto the Lengthy Path till we reached the northern finish of the deserted part of Route 9W.
Flip left onto Outdated Route 9W (a large concrete street), and comply with it again to the State Line Lookout, the place the hike started.
I’ve carried out this hike now three separate occasions with slight variations of the route. Every time it has been difficult, however a number of enjoyable. This can be a highly regarded hike and is finest carried out on a weekday to keep away from the crowds.
Big Stairs rock scramble, Hudson River views, Palisades cliffs, ruins, waterfall.
Plenty of Poison Ivy alongside the Shore Path.
Take a hike!