Breakneck Ridge to Sugarloaf Mountain Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,490' 454 m
Descent: -1,483' -452 m
High: 1,180' 360 m
Low: 5' 2 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 68% (34°)
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“A must-do route for New Yorkers, plus some added trails and Sugarloaf Mountain, all accessible by Metro North.”— Karl W
The ridge offers excellent views of the Hudson River. Less known than the ridge hike is that there is a mess of great trails in the Hudson Highlands once you get to the top. Crowds thin rapidly from the ridge to allow some lovely peace and quiet. This can be shortened or lengthened as you see fit.
You'll also get to ascend Sugarload Mountain before taking a less-steep route down than the Breakneck Ridge Trail. You can then take the metro back into the city to treat yourself to a much-deserved beer :)
There will likely be a mass of people that just got off the train so I recommend just chilling for 15-30 minutes to let them get ahead if you don't want to be part of the parade going up the ridge (or race ahead if you're fast).
The ridge ascent is very steep, but you can see some old switchbacks to make it basically a steep hike-up. You won't need your hands for much more than balance, but I wouldn't bring kiddies on this trail. Once to the top, you get excellent views of the Hudson River and access to a large number of trails.
For this route stay on the Breakneck Ridge Trail. You'll get some more nice views as the trail follows the ridge line, as well as a bit more elevation gain and loss. If you have had enough, you can take the Breakneck Bypass Trail back down right away. Or continue on to the blue-blazed Notch Trail.
The Notch Trail will connect to the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail after less than a half mile. Turn left onto Wilkinson Memorial Trail to head back. You'll stay on this trail the whole way back down to the metro tracks, but not before ascending Sugarloaf Mountain for some lovely views north. There are a few steep points on the descent as well, but nothing as consistently steep as the ascent.
When you get to the road, you'll have to head north to get to an overpass over the train tracks. Remember the metro back is heading the opposite direction! When you pass over the train tracks, you'll see the yellow train platform for the return metro again.
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