Hiking NJ – Giant Stairs – July 2020 (Update)

Giant Stairs is a 4.59 mile, moderate difficulty hike located about 30 minutes north of NYC at the State Line Lookout. It’s a fun quick escape that exhibits great views, challenging terrain, and decent elevation gain. The area is good for picnics and offers an excellent bird watching opportunity in the morning.

In the wintertime, some of the trails (A, B, C, and D) can be used for cross-country skiing.


  • River
  • Stream
  • Waterfall
  • Good Views
  • Picnic Area
  • Monument
  • Wild Berries
  • Wild Flower

Table of Contents

Fun Fact(s):

State Line Lookout used to be a part of the legacy scenic route 9W before it was re-routed to form this park.

Weather Forecast:

Getting Here:

Below is the location of the parking lot. Click on ‘Directions’ to get a Google Maps route to here.

Official Maps:

Trail Map, Elevation and Statistics

Total distance: 5.05 mi
Max elevation: 579 ft
Min elevation: 68 ft
Total climbing: 1182 ft

Trail Guide:

  1. [0.0 miles] Trail entrance is located to the left of the convenience store, towards the back corner of the parking lot. The trail has a green marker which will quickly indicate “A”
  2. [0.14 miles] Trail marker “A” can go left or straight, continue straight.
  3. [0.30 miles] Turn left to continue on “A” trail marker.
  4. [0.40 miles] Continue straight at the T intersection. Going left would take you back to the parking lot.
  5. [0.47 miles] Cross street following green trail markers to Giant Stairs.
  6. [0.61 trail] Turn right to check out Women’s Federation Monument. The trail is marked with green and white/blue markers.
  7. [0.81 miles] Arrived at the Women’s Federation Monument. Turn around heading back.
  8. [0.98 miles] Back to the main trail. Turn right following white/blue trail markers for Giant Stairs.
  9. [1.29 miles] You’ve reached the bottom by the Hudson River. Turn left following white trail markers.
  10. [1.64 miles] Start of the Giant Stairs section of the hike.
  11. [2.95 miles] NJ/NY state line. Crossing into NY for a short portion of the hike.
  12. [3.12 miles] Only waterfall on the hike. Cool spot to hang out before hiking back up.
  13. [3.51 miles] Turn left following green trail markers back to State Line Lookout. Straight will take you back to the highway.
  14. [3.84 miles] Crossing back into NJ.
  15. [3.93 miles] Take the left E. Either way will bring you back, the right E will bring you to paved road section quicker. The paved road is the legacy portion of the Palisade Parkway.
  16. [4,35 miles] Joined to the legacy Palisade Parkway, no more traffic today. Continue straight.
  17. [4.59 miles] Hike finished.


Come early enough in the morning to catch the sunrise, majestic views, and birds flying over the cliff.

State Line Cafe – can get drinks and food here. While restrooms are normally open, they are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Morning is the best time to catch birds flying over the cliff prior to starting the hike.

Trail map and any active alerts to be aware of. Just to the left of the Cafe.

The trail starts to the left of the State Line Cafe at the corner of the parking lot.

Chipmonk on the prowl for a meal.


The trail continues across the street.

Late morning view.

Women’s Federation Monument with beautiful views of the Hudson.

Does anyone know the history behind the deserted car on the side of the trail?

Raspberries growing in June.

Mature raspberries on the trail come July.

Capturing the early morning sunrise. Park opens at sunrise.

Yes, a major portion of the hike is on boulders, aka, Giant Stairs.

Crossing from NJ into NY.

Ducks on the Hudson River.

Waterfall before starting the climb back up. Tends to dry up getting into the summer months.

View of Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge, formally Tapanzee Bridge.


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