Who doesn’t love seeing the Fall colors? I could look at pictures of Fall foliage for hours on Instagram, but it’s even better if I can escape the city and see it up close.  Hiking is a great way to appreciate Fall’s beauty.  My friend, Artee, introduced me to Palisades Interstate Park which may be one of the best places to hike in New Jersey.  While our day hiking may not have turned out like I wanted, I would love to go back and see more.

The Fall colors are so pretty! - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
The Fall colors are so pretty!

Palisades Park Hiking

You can find hikes for many different ability levels at Palisades Interstate Park, but we decided to do an easy hiking trail.  We wanted to relax and just enjoy the scenery and each other’s company.  I chose the Cape Fly Away Hike which would be 3 miles and estimated to take 1.5 hours.  I liked that a lot of the hike was along the water, so I knew the views would be good.  After I printed out my map, we were ready to go.

Perhaps because of the proximity of Palisades Interstate Park to New York City, many first-time visitors are surprised at how rugged the trails can be.  Especially if you choose one of the more difficult hikes it is important to be prepared!  Make sure you wear proper footwear, dress appropriately for the weather, and also take plenty of water with you. Also, make sure your phone is fully charged!

Getting to Palisades Interstate Park

Anisa with her good friend Artee - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
Anisa with her good friend Artee

Palisades Interstate Park is located on the western shore of the Hudson River in Northern New Jersey, with great views of the George Washington Bridge.  I was surprised at how big the park was – 2500 acres!  In other words, the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey is about twelve miles long and half a mile wide.  You will find over 30 miles of hiking trails here!

I was lucky to have my friend, Artee, drive me but it is possible to get to Palisades Interstate Park using public transportation.  You would need to take the number 9 bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC.  The park’s website warns that “those coming by public transportation should keep in mind that to get to our riverfront areas, they will have to hike down from bus stops on the summit (and then back up again) on trails that are steep.”

 

Finding our Palisades Hiking Trail

The drive became scenic as soon as we entered the south end of the park.  It was early October and the leaves had just started to change.  We drove right under the George Washington Bridge.  I attempted to take as many photos as I could but the road was winding and narrow.  

Nice view of the George Washington Bridge from our hike at Palisades Interstate Park - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
Nice view of the George Washington Bridge from our hike at Palisades Interstate Park

I knew we needed to find the Alpine picnic area because our hike would start just north of it.  We saw a sign that said that the Alpine picnic area was straight ahead.  We went a little further and saw a picnic area, so we parked the car and got out.  Since we were visiting in the off-season, parking was free, but other times you will have to pay a small fee.

I knew I needed to find the white trail that was just north of the picnic area.  Well, I found a yellow trail, no that definitely wasn’t right.  Maybe for some reason, I have my north and south mixed up, so I thought I would check the other direction.  There I found a map and a snack bar.  Then I realized – this was not the alpine picnic area, we needed to drive further north!

Artee hiking in Palisades Park, New Jersey - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
Artee hiking in Palisades Park, New Jersey

Our Palisades Interstate Park Hike

So we got back in the car and drove a little further until we reached another picnic area.  We parked again and started looking for the white trail.  Luckily it didn’t take us too long to find it.  Still, something didn’t seem quite right.  The directions for the hike said that you would be going uphill.  Although our path was marked with white, it was pretty level.

We decided we had already wasted too much time trying to find this hike, that we should just follow this path for a bit and then just turn around.  If we didn’t start hiking soon, we would run out of time.  It was a good decision.   The path went right along the Hudson River and the views were stunning.

We hiked along the shore of the Hudson River - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
We hiked along the shore of the Hudson River

We stopped and took pictures every so often.  It was such a peaceful place and the Fall colors were just starting to show.  I could hear the waves from the Hudson and it was really calming.  We only came across a few other hikers.  The path was relatively flat although you had to be careful some stones were loose.  After a little while, we turned around and headed back to the car.

When we got back to the beginning of the trail, I noticed a sign I hadn’t seen before.  It said that the Alpine picnic area was 5 miles away. I knew we weren’t in the right place, but where we parked the road ended.  I didn’t realize there are actually three different entrances to Palisades Interstate Park.  We should have used the Alpine entrance.

Other Activities in Palisades Interstate Park

If you are not into hiking, there are plenty of other things to do at Palisades Interstate Park.  In addition to the hiking, you can find ski trails, a boat launching ramp, a scenic riverside drive, a cliff-top parkway with overlooks, picnic areas and playgrounds, a snack bar, the Greenbrook nature sanctuary, two boat basins, and even some historic sites.  The park is also very popular with cyclists.

Palisades Interstate Park is so pretty, especially as the leaves are starting to change colors. - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
Palisades Interstate Park is so pretty, especially as the leaves are starting to change colors.

Cycling at Palisades Interstate Park

Cycling is permitted on Henry Hudson Drive and Old Route 9W (from U.S. Route 9W to State Line Lookout) during daylight hours.  All cyclists must be over 14 years old and wear a helmet.  The hiking trails at Palisades Interstate Park are not suitable for biking because they are too steep and erodible.  Please makes sure you follow all traffic regulations and allow bike in areas where it is allowed.  There are no bike rentals inside the park.

Palisades Interstate Park Historical Sites

Anisa hiking along the Shore Trail - "Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike" - Two Traveling Texans
Anisa hiking along the Shore Trail

I didn’t have time to see the historic sites, but they sound interesting.  Fort Lee Historic Park is a 33-acre cliff-top park area with scenic overlooks, a reconstructed Revolutionary War encampment, and a Visitor Center.  The site was fortified during the American Revolution to protect New York City and the Hudson Valley from the British.  Ultimately, the American forces had to retreat from the site without even taking any of their supplies to avoid being captured by the British.  It was one of the darkest days in the American fight for independence.

You can also tour the historic Kearney House for free on weekends from May through October.  It has been debated whether the British General Cornwallis spent a night at the house in 1776.  The southern part of the house was built around 1761 with the northern addition being added in 1840, to make room for the tavern.  The house was damaged during Hurricane Sandy but re-opened to the public on Independence Day 2014.

I really enjoyed the short hike we did, it was very scenic and relaxing.  Now, that I know more about Palisades Interstate Park, I would love to go back and try another Palisades hiking trail, as well as some of the other great activities there.  Check out our video to see more of our experience.

Have you been to Palisades Interstate Park? What are other nice places to hike in New Jersey? Or any other nice Fall hikes you would recommend?

Anisa

Expert Tips for Palisades Park Hiking:

  • Go prepared for your hike and be safe.
  • Research our hike in advance to make sure you know where it is and that you are prepared for the hiking and weather conditions.
  • Pack a picnic lunch.  There are plenty of picnic areas with great views of the Hudson River.
  • If you have time, check out the historic sites at Palisades Interstate Park.

The Weekly Postcard

We are happy to co-host the Weekly Postcard Linkup.  Everyone is invited to join us and share their travel blog posts here beginning at 12 p.m. (PST) / 8 p.m. (GMT) Friday, October 27th.  If you would like a reminder email when the linkup opens, you can sign up to get one here.

For those of you that have not done a linkup before, please check out our frequently asked questions about the Weekly Postcard.  Feel free to reach out to us if you have other questions.  You can also check out last week’s posts here. Happy Travels!

Two Traveling Texans

 

Palisades Interstate Park: Perfect For a Fall Hike
Tips for your visit to Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey, USA to do some hiking.  Includes video. #hikinginnewjersey #usa #palisadesinterstatepark #easyhike
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