View of The Hudson River on a Clear Day at Palisades Interstate Park New Jersey

Where is Palisades Interstate Park

Located on the western shore of the Hudson River, Palisades Interstate Park resides within the state of New Jersey. The park’s most popular attractions are the palisades, or series of steep cliffs that line the Hudson River. In addition to containing this unique landscape, Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey also contains an array of hiking trails, a boat ramp, a clifftop parkway, a nature sanctuary, and several historic sights. The closest city to the interstate park is Alpine, New Jersey. New Haven, Connecticut is located 75 miles (hour and twenty-minute drive) west of the park. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is 108 miles (hour and forty-five-minute drive) north of the park. Palisades Interstate US Park is also 20 miles (thirty-minute drive) north of New York City. The interstate park also lies near several other outdoor recreation sites. These sites include Tallman Mountain State Park and Harriman State Park. 

How Large is Palisades Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate Park covers a total area of over 2,500 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of Hudson River shorefront, upland forests, and steep rocky cliffs. The Palisades Interstate Park trail system provides interstate park visitors with access to over 30 miles of hiking and skiing trails. The Greenbrook Sanctuary found within Palisades Interstate Park is a 165-acre woodland wildlife preserve. This preserve provides a home to a variety of wildlife species the park continually tries to protect.

Palisades Interstate Park Weather

The weather at Palisades Interstate Park changes frequently throughout the year. In summer, temperatures in the park average between 55- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures in the park average between 15- and 55-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest days of the year appear in Palisades Interstate Park in June, July, and August. The coldest days in the park arrive in December and January. On average, Palisades Interstate Park and the surrounding area receives around 95 days of rain per year. These 95 days of rain normally result in a total of around 55 inches of rain per year. The park also occasionally sees snowfall during the winter months of the year. The yearly snowfall average for the park is around thirty-two inches.

View of Cyclist Along Roadway in Palisades Interstate Park New Jersey

When did Palisades Become a Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate Park first became an interstate park in 1900. The park is managed along with several other state parks, historic sights, and wildlife areas by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The commission was established through collaboration by the two states of New Jersey and New York. These states founded the commission to stop the destruction of the Palisades which was occurring due to the operations of several quarries in the area. Palisades Interstate Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965. The Palisades Cliffs have also been designated a National Natural Landmark.

Things to do in Palisades Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate Park offers visitors the chance to experience a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Activities often practiced within Palisades Interstate Park include hiking, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and several others. Our State Park Visitors Guide lists the most popular and intriguing adventures found in Palisades Interstate Park below:

Participate in an Interpretive Program

Visitors looking to learn more about Palisades Interstate Park during their New Jersey state park trip should look to participate in one or more of the interpretive programs offered by the interstate park. These programs vary in topic, but normally touch upon issues and characteristics of the park’s wildlife, geology, geography, and history. All interpretive programs offered by Palisades Interstate Park are led by knowledgeable park staff or experienced volunteers. The schedule for these programs varies from week to week but is normally posted around the park and on the park’s visitor center.

Hike the Long Path Trail

The Long Path Trail found in Palisades Interstate Park takes visitors across a path on the top of the park’s cliffs. Visitors looking to complete the entire long path trail will pass through areas such as Fort Lee Historic Park, Dyckman Hill Road, the Alpine Lookout, and the State Line Lookout. The Long Path Trail continues from Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey into New York State. The terrain on the New Jersey portion of the trail is easy to moderately difficult to traverse.

Hike the Shore Trail

The Shore Trail found in Palisades Interstate Park is the park’s other premier trail. The trail takes visitors along the shore of the Hudson River. Visitors traveling along the Shore Trail will encounter unique locations found in the park like Hazard’s Dock, Ross Dock Picnic Area, Englewood Picnic Area, and Alpine Picnic Area. The Shore Trail also crosses over Giant Stairs, a large boulder field that is found in Palisades Interstate Park.

Cast a Fishing Line into the Hudson

Anglers visiting Palisades State Park will want to remember to bring all of their freshwater fishing rods, reels, and tackle. Fishing is allowed along the Hudson shoreline that is found throughout the park. Visitors fishing inside of Palisades State Park are not required to obtain a fishing license but should be aware of New Jersey fishing regulations as they are all in effect in the park. Popular species caught on the Hudson river include catfish, striped bass, and white perch.

Take a Picnic Lunch in the Park

Visitors looking to enjoy a relaxing meal in Palisades Interstate Park should look to stop at one of the park’s picnic areas. Picnic areas found throughout Palisades Interstate Park include Alpine Picnic Area, Englewood Picnic Area, Ross Dock Picnic Area, and several others. Visitors looking for more information on popular picnic spots found throughout the park can ask park staff working throughout the park.

Wildlife Viewing

Palisades Interstate Park provides a home to a variety of wildlife species. The species most commonly spotted by visitors in the park include squirrels, racoons, chipmunks, skunks, racoons, white-tailed deer, and coyotes. The park also occasionally is visited by male black bears who are roaming throughout the area. However, these animals do not live in the park throughout the entire year.

View of Boulders on The Hudson River in Palisades Interstate Park New Jersey

When to Visit Palisades Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate Park is open year-round, and visitors can plan their trip to the park throughout the entire year. However, visitors who wish to explore the park’s hiking trails or fish on the Hudson River will be best suited planning a visit in spring or summer. Temperatures during these seasons grant visitors the opportunity to experience most of what the park has to offer. Visitors looking to ski or see the Palisades coated in fresh snow should look to visit during late fall or winter.

Must Have Items to Bring to Palisades Interstate Park

A successful trip to Palisades Interstate Park, just like any outdoor adventure, requires visitors to bring a few supplies along with them to the park. List of Parks outlines the most essential items needed for a trip to Palisades Interstate Park:

Water & High Energy Snacks

Water and high energy snacks are the two most important pieces of equipment visitors will need during their trip to the park. Visitors looking to spend a day hiking trails throughout the park or extended time otherwise recreating within Palisades Interstate Park should bring additional supplies of water with them to the park. The New Jersey summer sun can also dehydrate visitors rather quickly. Summer days spent on the Hudson River can cause this risk of dehydration to escalate. The best snacks for outdoor recreation are lightweight, easy to consume, and full of energy.

Swimsuit, Sunscreen & Sunglasses

A swimsuit, sunscreen, and a pair of sunglasses will come in handy when spending all day in Palisades Interstate Park. These items will provide visitors who are fishing on the Hudson or hiking throughout the park comfort and protection from the sun. Visitors looking to wear their sunglasses while recreating on the river should bring an inexpensive pair with them to prevent them from damaging or losing anything valuable.

Fishing Tackle

Anglers visiting Palisades Interstate Park will want to bring all of their freshwater fishing tackle along with them. Anglers fishing from the shoreline found in Palisades Interstate Park are not required to obtain a New Jersey state freshwater fishing license prior to their arrival at the park. However, all visitors planning to keep any fish or crabs they catch in the river should be aware of all New Jersey fishing regulations.

Hiking Boots

The trails found within Palisades Interstate Park contain various levels and degrees of terrain. Visitors planning to hike within the park should arrive at the park with a sturdy pair of hiking trails. Visitors planning to conquer Giant Steps on the Shore Trail will especially want to wear a sturdy pair of hiking boots. A lightweight and waterproof pair of hiking boots can provide added comfort and protection. 

Perkins Memorial Tower in Palisades Interstate Park New Jersey

Where to Stay in Palisades Interstate Park

Palisades Interstate Park does not maintain any form of overnight lodging including a campground of any sort. Visitors looking for camping nearby can check out other various state park’s found in the area. Visitors looking to stay at a hotel in the surrounding area will want to initially check out options near Alpine. However, visitors deciding they would like to stay in a larger city or have more lodging options to decide between, can make the drive to either New York City, New Haven, or Philadelphia. 

Food Near Palisades Interstate Park

The closest food to Palisades Interstate Park can be found in Alpine and its surrounding area. The area contains several restaurants, bars, and grocery stores that are in close proximity to Palisades Interstate Park. Visitors looking for additional options or a larger culinary scene can visit New York City, New Haven, or Philadelphia. Palisades Interstate Park also manages and maintains a concession stand where visitors can purchase drinks, ice cream, and snacks. 

Airports Near Palisades Interstate Park

The closest international airport to Palisades Interstate Park is located in New York City. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is 29 miles and about a forty-five-minute drive away from the park. The next closest airport to the park is located in New Haven. The Tweed New Haven Airport is located 78 miles and about an hour and thirty-minute drive away from Palisades Interstate Park.

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