Hiking Breakneck Ridge

cold spring

The Mission: Escape NYC for a day in the great outdoors.

The Prep:
Grab a train ticket from Grand Central to Breakneck Ridge. Travel time is approximately an hour and a half.

The Gear:
Trail shoes
Hydration pack
Hiking pants
Light layers on top

The Execution:
Being an outdoor lover in NYC can be quite difficult. Central Park is great, but sometimes you yearn for something more. Every fall, the outdoor loving city dwellers of NYC clamor upstate to Cold Spring, NY for the fresh, crisp fall air and Instagram worthy foliage. We gather at Grand Central Station, clad in our lulu with coffee in hand to board the early morning metro-north train for Breakneck Ridge. While many take this time to enjoy the scenery from their train car window, we seize this opportunity to continue sleeping off our hangovers. After about an hour and a half, we arrive at our destination. We followed the throngs of fellow hikers exiting the train and headed to the trail head.

The beginning of the trail requires a lot scrambling and with hikers of all levels navigating the face, the initial ascent was slow moving. After conquering the steep slope, we were greeted with sweeping views of the Hudson Valley River. We stopped for some water and a few photos before continuing on. Most hikers continue on the white trail, but we decided to avoid the crowds and follow the red and yellow blazes down the bypass trail onto Wilkinson Memorial Trail. This part of the hike was much easier than the initial climb and dropped down into the tree covered valley. The leaves at this time of year boasted a variety of vibrant colors and offered a serene setting. We followed the stream through the forest until we ended up on the main road. From here we followed the signs to the town of Cold Spring.

Cold Spring is a quaint little town with a bustling main street lined with independent shops and restaurants. Alongside the train tracks is Cold Spring Depot Restaurant, the perfect spot for a post-hike drink. We grabbed a table near the band and ordered up some hot cocoa with Baileys, enjoyed some much needed grub and reminisced about our day before crossing the tracks and hopping on a train back to city life.

The Highlights:

  • Level of difficulty: moderate
  • Approximate hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Train time each way: 1.5 hours
  • Check the train schedule as not all trains stop at Breakneck Ridge.
  • Take plenty of water.
  • There are many restaurants downtown for lunch after hiking.
  • Wear sturdy shoes.

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