Breakneck Trailhead to Close

Fjord Trail says new bridge requires shutdown 

Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail officials confirmed this week that when construction begins on the Breakneck Connector in early 2024, the Breakneck Ridge trailhead on Route 9D will likely be closed to hikers for as long as two years.

Fjord Trail officials said the closure is necessary because of the amount of construction that will take place in the small area near the trailhead at the Putnam-Dutchess border. The $85 million Breakneck Connector, which will include a 445-foot pedestrian bridge over the Metro-North tracks just north of the trailhead, is scheduled for completion in late 2025 or early 2026.

The Fjord Trail is a 7.5-mile linear park being built with public and private money, and will connect Dockside Park in Cold Spring and Long Dock Park in Beacon. Breakneck is one of the most popular trails on the East Coast and attracts thousands of hikers annually who arrive by car or on Metro-North trains that stop at the Breakneck Ridge station.

The projected closure also will include the trailhead to the Wilkinson Trail, although officials said they hope it will reopen sooner. If the Wilkinson trailhead is closed, that will cut access to the recently completed Nimham Trail, which provides a gentler path to Breakneck’s first summit.

Officials from the Fjord Trail, in conjunction with state parks, Metro-North and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, plan to announce the specific dates of the closures in coming weeks. 

The trails throughout the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve are interconnected, so it’s unclear where each trail closure will begin and end. Hikers may still be able to access the highest overlook on the ridge via the Washburn and Undercliff trails on Bull Hill or through the Notch Trail further north on Route 9D, although both hikes would take considerably longer than climbing the rock face.

4 thoughts on “Breakneck Trailhead to Close

  1. Judging from conversations and neighborhood signage, the local response to the proposed Fjord Trail is mixed. Before undertaking this immense, disruptive and costly project, I believe it should be on a ballot for voter approval.

  2. Hear, hear, Susan! Is there any reason the village can’t host a short survey of residents to gain more accurate information on who is for and against the Fjord Trail? While the trail is a complex and highly charged issue, a survey would provide foundational data from which the Village Board, which represents residents, can develop its positions.

  3. That two-year shutdown of Breakneck will force the hordes of hikers who take the trip from regions far and wide to discover other climbing venues. The question is: Will they return once construction is complete? If they don’t, how will this affect Cold Spring? Those opposed to the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail will get their quiet, quaint little village back. And the Main Street businesses will hope that they can survive. Who wins?

  4. I would like to vigorously object to how the writer of this article makes it appear to his audience that the Fjord Trail is a done deal, all wrapped up but for years of obligatory construction. In the third paragraph, he writes, “The Fjord Trail is a linear park, being built with public and private money, and will connect Dockside Park in Cold Spring and Long Dock Park in Beacon.” Guess what, editors? The so-called Fjord Trail is a proposed development, existing only in the minds, plans and workings of the extremely well-funded folks up in Poughkeepsie at Scenic Hudson. Since the proposed route goes through a long corridor of state-recognized scenic beauty, formally-designated bio-diversity, the habitats of 13 federally and state -listed wildlife species, and into a town with historic designations, etc., etc. etc. it is simply a proposal about to enter a long period of judgments from both federal and state agencies. And who knows what objections these agencies and scientists might have waiting for those who believe it is a done deal? Please, Highlands Current, ask your writers to reflect reality, not pie-in-the sky, however highly touted by its many friends in high places.

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