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.