Update (9/22/17): Scenic Hudson, one of the groups partnering to construct the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, issued a press release today affirming that the Breakneck Ridge hiking trails and Metro-North stop will reopen, albeit not for more than a year.
The temporary closure will allow for the restoration of the existing trail, which has been eroded by its popularity, as well as the removal of local graffiti. At the same time, an approximately one-half mile long pedestrian/bike path connecting the trailhead to the Breakneck Ridge Metro-North stop will be created. Designated parking and no-parking areas along Route 9D in Coldspring will also be constructed, in an effort to improve safety conditions of hikers entering the trail from the road. All this will occur alongside the current Hudson Highland Fjord Trail project.
Restoration efforts will be paid for by the New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation Department, while the additional construction will be funded by Scenic Hudson and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust. Assuming contractor bids are approved, the closure is expected to take effect January 1, 2018 as reported and last until approximately April 2019. Further construction updates will be posted to the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail website.
At a town board meeting on September 7, Philipstown Supervisor Richard Shea announced that popular — and extremely challenging at points — local hiking trail Breakneck Ridge will be closed indefinitely, beginning the first of the new year.
The parking lot and area near the Breakneck Ridge stop along the Metro North will also be closed to the public, and the train will no longer stop at that station.
According to Shea, New York State plans to close all entrances to the parklands to “get a handle on things,” which entails surveying conditions on the trail and making any necessary repairs, as well as beginning construction on the new Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail.
Local hikers have expressed their displeasure at the site’s closure across social media. A popular site with breathtaking views of the Hudson, Breakneck Ridge is also one of the more challenging local climbs. This past July 48-year-old Brooklyn hiker Jason Kindopp died while attempting a particularly difficult section of the trail’s “rock scramble.”
Once closed, the Park Department plans to “educate” and divert hikers to the other 60-70 acres of nearby parkland, and to ease the transition by creating a park-and-ride along the Taconic State Parkway with shuttle service to several of the nearby parks.