Trail Guides
Palisades Interstate Park

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Palisades Interstate Parkway Exit 2
P.O. Box 155, Alpine, NJ 07620
Phone: (201) 768-1360

OWNER:  Palisades Interstate Park Commission

DIRECTIONS:  Exit Tenafly driveway and follow Hudson Avenue. After 1 mile turn Right at the traffic light onto County Road/501 North. After 6/10 of a mile turn Right at the traffic light onto Hillside Avenue. Hillside Avenue bears around to the left. Follow up the hill and after 2 miles turn Left at traffic light onto 9W North. After 1.1 miles turn Right at traffic light onto Alpine Approach. Bear Right and follow signs for Police Headquarters – Boat Basin. After 2/10 of a mile turn Left into driveway of Palisades Interstate Park Headquarters.   Map
TIDAL CURRENT:  Tidal/Moderate to difficult

ACCESS AND PARKING:  Open daily from dawn to dusk. May close for inclement weather. Some roads may be closed during winter months. Parking available onsite; parking fees may be charged. Please review park regulations on their website before visiting the park. Beware of copperhead snakes which are venomous. Keep your distance and do not attempt to handle them.

NEAREST PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION:  Rockland Coaches’ Red and Tan Bus Line No. 9 runs along Route 9W in New Jersey. Visit their website for more information: www.coachusa.com/rockland/. The Park also has public transportation information on their website, listed above.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  Make sure you pick up a trail map at Park Headquarters. Fishing and crabbing are permitted in the park, no fishing license is required. Species common to the area include white catfish, striped bass, white perch, tomcod, eels and blue-claw crab. The boat launch at Hazard’s Dock is open from mid-April to mid-November. Check with the Park’s website for details on pricing, security and boat limitations.

A CLOSER LOOK:  The Park is known for its population of pipevine swallowtail butterflies. The pipevine plant that attracts these beautiful butterflies grows in the Undercliff section of the park.

Northern Copperhead
Northern CopperheadKevin Karlson
SITE DESCRIPTION:  The New Jersey section of Palisades Interstate Park runs approximately 12 miles along the Hudson Palisades encompassing 2,500 acres. The park is maintained by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission which was formed in 1900 after the New York Federation of Women’s Clubs was successful in protecting the Palisades from being destroyed by the large stone quarries in operation at the time. Today the Park is a favorite place to enjoy outdoor activities with the whole family. The Parkway that runs along the top of the Palisades offers 3 scenic overlooks with breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the New York skyline. Within the park you will find 30 miles of trails, two public boat basins, a public boat launch, four riverfront picnic areas, historic sites and a scenic drive along the Hudson River.

DON'T MISS:  Don’t miss the local Peregrine Falcons. The first post-DDT nesting site for Peregrine Falcon in New Jersey was located in this park. Make sure you look for their eyries along the cliffs of the Palisades. A sure sign that falcons are around is the whitewash on the sides of the cliffs. A good place to find them is at the Alpine Boat Basin, but you may see them perching on cliffs and snags anywhere throughout the park. In the early part of the 20th century nesting falcons were common along these cliffs, but the use of the chemical pesticide DDT came with a terrible price for many birds of prey. Since DDT was banned, the Peregrine Falcon has been making a steady comeback throughout the U.S.

Winter:  Peregrine Falcon and wintering Bald Eagle can be found during this normally quiet season. Check for them at Stateline Lookout while you enjoy the spectacular view of the Hudson River, or at the boat basins down by the river. Look for rafts of Canvasback on the river at the northern and southern ends of the Park.
Spring:  Spring migration always brings abundant species to New Jersey and the Park’s proximity to the Hudson River makes it a prime location. At Fort Lee Historic Park you will find an array of warblers along with a historic museum and one of the most picturesque views of the George Washington Bridge anywhere. A walk from Ross Dock Picnic Area to the Undercliff Picnic Area can be especially rewarding for thrushes and warblers; look for Veery, Hermit and Wood Thrushes, Black-throated Blue and Green and Yellow-rumped Warblers with an occasional rarity such as a Prothonotary or Nashville Warbler.
Summer:  The area’s summer residents include Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Barn Swallow, Gray Catbird, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, along with Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart and Black-and-white Warblers.
Fall:  The Palisades is famous for its raptor migration so plan to spend some time at State Line Lookout, which is perched so high you may be seeing birds from above in addition to from below. Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned and Broad-winged Hawks along with American Kestrel, Merlin, Osprey, Bald Eagle and Northern Harrier all have been spotted from the lookout; be on the lookout, though, for the rare occurrence of Northern Goshawk or Golden Eagle. Of course, all kinds of fall migration activity are underway, but raptor watching is a favorite for budding naturalists and families because the birds are large and can be relatively easy to identify.

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