Exploring Palisades Interstate Park – Hiking with NYC Views

The Palisades Interstate Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located in North Jersey, the park stretches from Fort Lee to Alpine and offers a variety of activities for all seasons. If you’re looking to take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding area, there are several lookout points worth checking out.

Not only is the Palisades Park a great place for nice-weather hiking and picnics, it’s also a great place for cross-country skiing – with over 30 miles trails to explore!

You can hike all day up by the New Jersey-New York state line or enjoy a casual stroll through a picnic area down by the Hudson River in the afternoon. So grab a map, pack up your car or backpack, and head to this versatile park to see what North Jersey offers all year round!

Want more New York hikes? See our border hikes!

Views From Up Above Palisades Interstate Park

If you want to hang out on top of the world (ok, on top of New Jersey), enjoy the view of the cliffs from the State Line Lookout or Rockefeller Lookout. We recommend exploring some more low-key spots, including Allison Park and the State Line Hawk Watch.

State Line Lookout

The State Line Lookout is a popular spot for its stunning views of the cliffs and the surrounding landscape. The lookout also has a refreshment stand and a gift shop where you can grab a snack or pick up a souvenir on your way home. Aside from the views, the State Line Lookout is also a great place for hikers and skiers to start their adventures, with trailheads and access to slopes for both activities.

Rockefeller Lookout

The Rockefeller Lookout is a lesser-known vantage point at Palisades Park, which offers even more stunning views of the area. Some visitors say the views from the Rockefeller Lookout are even better than those from the State Line Lookout.

Allison Park

The Palisades Interstate Park also features Allison Park, an alternative lookout spot with unparalleled views of the bridge, NYC, and access to the water from the cliffs. Restrooms and drinking fountains are also available to the public in this area.

State Line Hawk Watch

If you’re a bird-watching enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the State Line Hawk Watch; a lookout point designed explicitly for watching raptor birds. We encourage you to bring your binoculars for the most precise view.

See More Birding Spots around New Jersey

Hiking Spots at Palisades Park

From high up in the State Line Lookout Parking Area, you can head out on a few hiking trails of different magnitudes, including the Long Path and the Shore Trail. 

The trailhead branches into several route options you can choose from to get to the top. These trails consist of combinations of the paved road on Henry Hudson Drive and more rugged pathways along the cliffs and by the riverbanks. Our friends maintain all 25 miles of trails at the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

If you want to take a hike, grab a trail map and strap on your hiking shoes to experience Palisades from our favorite loops and out-and-back trails!

What you need to hike Palisades Interstate Park:
Yaktrax Diamond Grip for Rocky Surfaces
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Shore Trail

One of my favorite hikes is the Shore Trail Hike to Peanut Leap Cascade. Trek down a few miles along cliff-sides and over a stream to this gushing waterfall along the Hudson River. Make sure you have enough water for the trek back up!

This exciting trail offers rugged terrain with many stairs, making it a more challenging route. However, the views of the city and bridge are worth it!

To start the hike, head to the State Line Lookout and look for the parking lot with the “ski trails” sign. This marks the beginning of the trail. If you’re looking for a shorter hike, you can travel from the visitors center and cafe down the cliff until you reach the Peanut Leap Cascade, a beautiful waterfall that flows into the Hudson River. You can turn around and head back to cut your journey short.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to tackle the full loop, you can continue the hike, but expect rocky terrain with many stairs. We recommend starting this trail counterclockwise so you can climb up the stairs instead of down, as it can be dangerous to navigate them in slippery conditions like snow or ice – you may want to consider investing in YakTrax for winter hikes.

Want more views of NYC? We have more overlooks!

Henry Hudson Drive

Another great hike in the area is the Henry Hudson Drive, just under 8 miles out and back with 787 feet of elevation. This easy route takes an average of 3 hours to complete and offers plenty of shade from nearby trees and beautiful waterfalls to explore. Keep an eye out for birds along the way too!

Huyler’s Landing

If you’re looking for a moderately challenging, beginner-friendly hike, try Huyler’s Landing Trail. This hike has an elevation of 410 feet and offers exceptional views of surrounding landmarks.

No matter where you hike in Palisades Park, look up! The steep rock faces here have been nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of New Jersey.”

If you’re feeling adventurous, continue along the hike to the Giant Stairs and scramble along — you guessed it — giant boulders. Be careful with this hike in the winter — the ice will be slippery!

From Down Below

If picnicking and photos are more your thing, Palisades Park has that too! There are several great spots in the park where you can enjoy a picnic or snap some gorgeous photos of the Hudson River and the George Washington Bridge.

See the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee Historic Park

Picnic Areas

For up-close views of the George Washington Bridge from the ground level, head to the Englewood Picnic Area or Ross Dock Picnic Area. You can also park in the Fort Lee Historic Park parking lot and walk around a few paths to get a unique perspective. We even had an NJspots meet-up there before!

Read More: Outdoor Hangout Spots

Palisades Scenic Byway

The Palisades Scenic Byway is an excellent way to experience the surrounding nature and landmarks. This stretch of road, which includes the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Henry Hudson Drive, offers breathtaking water views. Keep your camera handy to capture the stunning scenery while you’re there!

Easy Walking Trails at Palisades Interstate Park

If you’d instead take a leisurely walk, several low-elevation hiking trails in the park offer great views from the bottom. One of our favorites is the Shore Trail from the Englewood Picnic Area to the Fort Lee Historic Park.

This 4.8-mile out-and-back route is easy and flat, making it friendly for all ages and skill levels. The elevation is only about 65 feet, so you’ll get great views of the bridge and the NYC skyline from down below. This route takes about an hour, so it’s perfect for an afternoon stroll between activities.

See our maps for more waterfall spots and hikes.

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