Breakneck Ridge is one of my favorite hikes. It’s challenging, scenic, train accessible, and you can celebrate with a burger, beer, and ice cream before you take the train home from Cold Springs. You can’t get much better than that!
I recommend wearing layers, a hat, sunglasses, and *light* hiking boots or sneakers. Bring a backpack (I love this one), at least one filled water bottle or pouch, small snack (e.g., nuts, protein bars, or jerky), sunscreen, and bug spray.
We take the first train from Grand Central to Breakneck Station (around 7:45 AM, but check the Metro North schedule). If you drive, there is very limited parking near the trail head, so plan to arrive early to secure a spot. I know it’s early, but the train takes over an hour and it can get very hot on the mountain.
There are no bathrooms or water on the actual hike, but there are porta potties at the trail head. There are typically 2 volunteers handing out free basic trail maps. We talked to them before we started our hike and paid $10 cash for a more detailed trail map.
The first part of the hike is challenging. After the initial ~15 minute climb, there are a few places to take a break. If there are large crowds, be patient and kind towards other hikers - let faster hikers pass your group and encourage those that might be struggling.
We always summit Breakneck and then walk past the Cornish Estate Ruins. They're super creepy but fascinating. If you have time, I recommend hiking up to Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus). The summit is higher than Breakneck, which is really cool!
From there, we head to into Cold Spring via the white trail, which leads you to another parking lot. We then follow the signs to Cold Springs, enjoying the flat walk along the water.
Once downtown, enjoy food and brews at Doug’s Pretty Good Pub or Silver Spoon Café's porch and share a scoop of Moo Moo’s ice cream before boarding the train back to Manhattan.
Have you done this hike before? If so, any tips or trails to try? Cold Spring restaurant recommendations are also welcome!
Kate Scott is an avid runner, who has completed three marathons and numerous half marathons. She travels frequently, most recently to Toulouse and Bordeaux in France. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and is a certified public accountant.