High Tor

Palisades Covered in Fall Colors

Distance: 2.2 miles

Type: Out and back

Difficulty: Easy

High Tor State Park protects the northern Hudson River Palisades, which also includes the highest peak of High Tor, rising up over 600 feet above sea level. This feature stretches down from Hudson River’s western coast in New York and into New Jersey.

High Tor Trail Description

The High Tor Trail begins at the trailhead by heading east into the woods. A wide array of deciduous trees arch over the trail providing ample shade, like many trails in the area. An opening early on is available thanks to power lines running through, where views both north and south can be easily attained.

Through the trees, you pass an occasional seasonal pond, until at about 1 mile in, you reach a fork that heads north, bringing you to the Small Tor, a rocky outcropping that breaks out of the trees and offers panoramic views of the area. On clear days, you can even see the New York City skyline! Sadly, a number of people have decided to leave their mark and ruined the natural beauty of the rocks. Once you’ve enjoyed the views, either head back to the trailhead the way you came, or head left at the junction to continue on to High Tor.

From the junction, the trail doesn’t change very much. The trees will continue to cast a cool and relaxing shade over trail, and aside from road noise, will help you immerse yourself into the scenery.

Boulders and Forest Floor in Fall Leaves

As you begin to near High Tor, roughly 0.75 miles later, you’ll notice the trail getting rockier, with several large boulders even scattered along the trail. Gradually, the trail begins climbing up the rocks and boulders, making easy scrambles to the top of High Tor. From the summit, the Hudson River flows below, offering unparalleled views up and down the river, and even to the west and east. Few views will offer such outstanding vantage points that far south along the Hudson River, so be sure to enjoy all that it has to offer! When you’re ready, head back the same way you came in.

Getting to the High Tor Trailhead

From the Palisades Interstate Parkway, take Exit 13 and head east toward Haverstraw. After 2.1 miles, head south (right) on S. Central Highway and look for the trailhead on the east (left) side of the road at the top of the hill, about 0.8 miles past the right turn.

Elevation Profile for High Tor
Elevation Profile for High Tor, courtesy of Route Scout

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *