North of Cold Spring in Hudson Highlands State Park, the Breakneck Ridge Trail is a very popular 5 mile route, although a 10 mile loop can be formed.
To reach the trailhead from Cold Spring, head north on SR9D for 1.5 miles. Cold Spring is locate 10 miles west of the Taconic State Parkway via SR301.
The Breakneck Ridge Trail starts from the Hudson River, up a ridge which the highway underpasses in a tunnel. The trail gains 800 feet in the first half mile, but your effort is paid off by views up and down the Hudson Valley. The trail is steep and requires the use of hand holds in a few sections, but these sections all have bypasses, marked with Xs that follow less exposed routes. It is this frequent exposure that makes the hike so exhilerating, as you climb alongside a 200 foot cliff while views of West Point Military Academy open up down the Hudson Highland Gorge. After the initial climb, the trail continues from exposed knob to exposed knob along the ridge, revealing the river as far south as the Bear Mountain Bridge and the surrounding series of parallel ridges. The finale of the hike is a climb up Mt Beacon to the fire tower, where the skyscrapers of Manhattan poke out over a ridge where the river bends. The Shawangunk cliffs shine to the north, while the purple Catskills loom behind them.
Other trails can be used to loop back to the start, over Taurus, via the undercliff trail if youre really ambitious. Most people loop back via the Wilkinson Trail over Sugarloaf, for one more panaroma of the river, before returning to earth.