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June 2005

Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.


Palisades Trek the ramparts along the Hudson.

Since the chance of a New Yorker owning a car is inversely related to the likelihood he’ll be wearing black, it makes perfect sense that you can walk across the George Washington Bridge and step right onto a network of riverside trails. For a 7.5-mile loop from the west end of the GWB, pick up the Long Path, a 326-mile trail that stretches north to near Albany. Hike atop the Palisades, a 20-mile band of sheer rock cliffs that drop straight into the Hudson and offer sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline. At 2.1 miles, turn right onto the Dyckman Hill Trail, which descends 300 feet via a series of stone steps. At the river, follow the Shore Trail south along the water, then up another series of stone steps to the bridge.

Get There Pedestrian access to the GW Bridge is from Cabrini Boulevard near 178th; alternatively, cross the bridge and park at the trailhead in Fort Lee Historic Park.

Get Info Palisades Interstate Park, (201) 768-1360; a


The Highlands Trail See the Garden State’s better half on this new path.

What started as a dream-to build a trail that links B&Bs for 150 miles, the trailhead just an hour’s drive from Manhattan-has proven to be just that. While the Highlands Trail should someday extend from New York’s Storm King Mountain all the way to the Delaware River, land-rights issues have thwarted the B&B concept-and minimized camping options. But backpackers don’t need no fussy B&Bs; instead, there’s this 18-mile out-and-back from the Columbia Rail Trail at Califon, NJ through Voorhees State Park to Spruce Run Recreation Area; both parks allow camping from April 1 through October 31. Because the Highlands is a motley concoction of new and existing trails and residential roads, you’ll need the detailed directions on the NY/NJ Trail Conference Web site to avoid getting lost in the wilds-yes, wilds-of Jersey.

Get There Califon, NJ is about 50 miles from NYC. For precise trailhead directions, see contact info below.

Get Info NY/NJ Jersey Trail Conference, (201) 512-9348;

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