About 23 miles and 9 hours, fast-paced hike across the George Washington Bridge then north along the Palisades on the Batt to Bear Trail and the Old Erie Trail to Nyack. Return to NYC by bus.
This hike has beautiful views along the Hudson River; it also has a steep descent and a steep ascent; trails with rocks, tree roots, branches and fallen trees that must be walked, climbed or clambered over and very few drop off points.
The route: The Batt to Bear Trail is mapped out over a number of existing trails leading from The Battery in Manhattan to Bear Mountain. We will follow it to Nyack.
After crossing the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey, we'll follow the Long Path north to the Carpenter's Trail, descend a steep rock staircase to the shore, walk north to the Ross Dock Picnic area, then take the Shore Trail north, stop at the Englewood Picnic Area to eat then continue to the Closter Dock trail, which we will follow back up to the top of the Palisades and rejoin the Long Path.
Next, we will take a rest stop at the Palisades Park HQ, then continue along the Long Path to our second lunch break at the State Line Lookout, which has a small cafe. We continue on a short portion of the Long Path past the Lamont Doherty Observatory, take a quick rest stop at a roadside cafe, then enter Tallman Park. At the north end of Tallman Park we enter the village of Piermont and reach the Old Erie Path, which we follow into Nyack, ending at South Broadway and Church Street in front of the Brickhouse bar to catch the bus.
Dropout Points: The first dropout point we reach will be at Closter Dock Road about 9 miles into the hike, then there will be more dropout points as we continue north. All of the dropout points require standing by the side of the road waiting for the bus.
Here is the route map: GWB to Nyack
Here is the trail map for Palisades Park, which has most of the hike in great detail including where to catch the bus if you drop out: Palisades Park trails
The return: We should reach Nyack before 6:00 p.m. There is a 5:38 bus that does not stop at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and arrives at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 6:50. There is a 6:38 bus that reaches the George Washington Bridge Bus Station at 7:27 and the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 7:52. Fare is $9.75 to the GWB or $11.10 to the Port Authority. Pay the fare in cash on the bus; best to have the exact amount.
Here is the Rockland Coach schedule: Rockland Coach
Another option is to take the Tappan Zee Express from Nyack to either the Tarrytown or White Plains train station, $2.00 fare. There are buses at 5:25 and 6:20. If you want Tarrytown, confirm with the bus driver that the bus is making that stop, sometimes they go straight to White Plains.
Here is the Tappan Zee Express schedule: Tappan Zee Express
Meet: 9:00 a.m. at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station temporary waiting room, at Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street. Take the A train to 175th Street.
Bring lunch, snacks, water; it will be about 5 hours before we reach any food for sale. We will take short lunch breaks at the Englewood Picnic Area and again at State Line Lookout.