Breakneck Ridge is a classic loop in the Hudson Valley that is accessible by Metro North from NYC. It is extremely steep at first, but doesn't require much scrambling. This hike includes the bypass trail to make for a short and fast trip, but still includes all the challenges of a longer route.
There's a hot dog stand between the main parking and the train stop. They taste better after the hike.
This loop can be accessed on weekends via the Metro North Hudson line or by car (ample parking). There is a special stop for Breakneck Ridge - be mindful as it is a single train door that will open onto a "station" that is no more than a set of wooden stairs. From the train stop or parking, make your way south along the road to the trailhead. The trailhead is just before a tunnel on the right/south.
The ridge ascent along the Breakneck Ridge Trail
is very steep, but you can see some old switchbacks to make it basically a steep hike-up. You won't need your hands for much more than balance, but I wouldn't bring kiddies on this trail. Once to the top, you get excellent views of the Hudson River and access to a large number of trails.
Stay on the white blazes past the several few peaks and viewpoints. You'll intersect with a trail featuring yellow blazes that send the trail to the right, but stay with the white Breakneck Ridge Trail
. About 3/4 of a mile past the yellow blaze intersection, you'll see red blazes for the Breakneck Bypass Trail
where you'll head to the left.
Follow that for another 3/4 of a mile and it'll dead end into the Wilkinson Memorial Trail
, which has yellow blazes. Take a left there and it's a quick shot back to the main road.