July 3, 2016 – Closter, NJ
Difficulty: moderate – strenuous
Length: approximately 5 miles
Route type: circuit
The Women’s Federation Monument was built in 1929 to honor the role the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs played in preserving the Palisades. Basically it’s a miniature castle high atop the cliffs of the Palisades in Alpine, New Jersey. I love hiking the Palisades, mostly because it’s right across the river from me and also because the Long Path runs through them. The trails and the views are great too. I have done some of the hikes listed on the NY/NJ Trail Conference’s site for The Palisades, but today I felt like freestyling. I made sure I had my Hudson Palisades Trails Map because one should never hike without a compass or a map of the area.
I started my hike from the State Line Lookout which immediately provides views without any effort.
There were vultures flying near and far and I happened to capture an image of a Black Vulture sitting on the edge of the cliff.
Then as he took flight.
After snapping away for a few minutes I decided that I would start out walking along old U.S. Route 9W. Old Route 9W is a 1.5 mile remnant of a concrete surface highway constructed in 1926. With the construction of the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the 1950s, Route 9W was shifted to the west. The old highway is now closed to traffic and enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists.
I walked along old Route 9W for it’s entire length. I could see the faded double yellow line.
I noticed they still had the old cable barriers in some places.
It was cool to walk on this stretch of old highway.
When I reached the end of old 9W I began to follow the aqua colored blazes of The Long Path which was off to the right.
The Long Path like most long distance trails are usually quite rugged. This stretch is no exception. It’s not as strenuous as other parts that I have hiked, but it gives you a workout. At the beginning it was a little rocky, but it was nothing more than just a walk in the woods. Click on the ensuing images to enlarge.
Then I crossed a series of puncheons.
From there the trail steepened somewhat.
I almost stepped on this dead snake. Yes I jumped a little.
The Long Path led me towards the river and a partially obstructed view.
It was all uphill from here. This is where The Long Path lets you know where you’re at. Stairs…..
lots of them………
After conquering the stairs I was rewarded with some outstanding views.
After sitting on a rock outcrop catching some rays and enjoying some views it was time to get going again. As I continued along the edge of the cliff on The Long Path, I was greeted with, you guessed it, more stairs.
Then I reached the New Jersey Border monument.
I continued through the woods on The Long Path and found a nice shady spot to relax for minute.
As I continued on The Long Path I had to cross over old Route 9W back near the Stateline Lookout. I then kept following the aqua colored blazes of The Long Path as it ran together with trail A.
I then proceeded straight onto trail B instead of following The Long Path as it went left.
I then saw this lil fella off to the side admiring my hiking prowess.
Trail B led me back out to the access road near the Palisades Parkway where there was an unmarked trail between two boulders which I took.
This unmarked trail was an easy short walk through the woods which paralleled the Palisades Parkway.
Then I came to the blue & white Forest View Trail which I began to follow.
After a short distance the Forest View Trail turned left and joined The Long Path that came in from the right.
As I neared the cliff’s edge the castle came into view.
Such a cool structure to find along the edge of a cliff. I had been here before on a much shorter loop hike, but it is always a great spot to visit.
There were nice views from the castle as well.
More images of the castle.
When I was done enjoying my castle on the cliff, I headed off down the ravine on the joint Forest View Trail – Long Path. When I came to a junction where the Forest View Trail went right and the Long Path went left, I started following the aqua blazed Long Path once again.
As soon as I crossed over the small bridge I encountered more stairs.
Stairway to heaven it wasn’t, but at least I got my cardio in for the week.
Once I tackled those stairs I was back up at the same elevation where I began the hike. It was a flat walk back to the car. First I had to take a photograph of the Glenwood Power Station in Yonkers.
The Long Path crossed over the access road once again…
and I followed it and turned right onto trail A which led me back to the parking lot. This hike was fun and slightly challenging at the same time. After doing 5 miles the previous day, I was a little worn out after this hike. I hope you enjoyed the hike. If you would like to follow my blog click the tab on the left side of the page. Until next time, happy trails……….
Thanks for the beautiful photos of places I went hiking as a kid. My family told me that my great-grandfather Charles Van Valen was the stonemason who built the castle, and that a bear was formerly kept inside, behind the iron bars.
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