This trail features some challenging and fun rock scrambles at the start, and just before reaching the firetower. The firetower gives fantastic views on a clear day of the surrounding Hudson Highlands and Hudson River. There are several around points should you decide that you no longer wish to do the entire loop, although turning back early will mean missing the second set of rock scrambles and the firetower. Crowds at the start can be frequent, but quickly diminish as you progress further along the loop.
The loop is accessible from the Metro North line, providing easy transport to and from NYC. For a shorter version of this run that keeps the first set of scrambles, check out Karl W's excellent Breakneck Ridge to Sugarloaf Mountain Loop
Please note that this loop must be completed in the correct direction.
The trailhead can be seen easily from the road, as there are portapotties and a large sign. If traveling north along route 9D, the trailhead will be on your left (between the road and the train tracks) on your left shortly after exiting the tunnel. Parking will be further along on your right. If traveling south along 9D, the trailhead will be on your right (between the road and the train tracks) shortly before entering a tunnel. You'll see parking on the left before the trailhead.
Follow the white blazed Breakneck Ridge Trail
(BR) from the trailhead. It begins with some very intense uphill sections and the first set of scrambles. There are several scenic overlooks on the way up, stop at them as you please. You'll stay on the white blazed BR past the green blazed NH which will diverge to your left. Continue on the BR past the yellow blazed UC trail which will diverge on your right. Continue past the red blazed BB which will diverge on your left.
The blue blazed NT will merge with the white blazed BR trail from your right. Continue on the blue and white blazed BR/NT trail.
The blue and white blazed BR/NT trail splits into a blue blazed NT and a white blazed BR trail. Follow the white blazed BR trail, which will be the rightmost of the two trails. Continue on the white blazed BR trail past the intersection with the yellow blazed WM.
Following the white blazed BR will bring you to the second set of rock scrambles. Shortly following the scramble, you'll arrive at the fire tower. The firetower makes a great place to stop and lunch. Climbing to the top offers fantastic views of the surrounding area. The best vistas of the entire run are here.
After you are done at the firetower, backtrack along the white blazed BR. When you arrive again at the intersection with the yellow blazed WM, take the yellow blazed WM on your right. Continue along the yellow blazed WM until it merges with the blue blazed NT. Hook a hard left, and continue along the blue and yellow blazed WM/NT trail.
The blue and yellow blazed WM/NT will split. Follow the yellow blazed WM, which will be the rightmost of the two trails. Continue on the yellow blazed WM trail past the red BB, which will diverge to your left. Continue on the yellow blazed WM past the green NH, which will diverge to your right.
The yellow blazed WM ends at road 9D. To get back to the trailhead from here, turn left and run so that the railroad and river are to your right (with the mountain on your left).