BREAKNECK RIDGE
Putnam and Dutchess Counties, NY


Directions:

Taconic Parkway north;  get off at the Cold Spring/Carmel  (Route 31) Exit.  Turn right at the stop sign.  Travel west to Cold Spring and turn right onto Route 9D.  Drive north, going through the tunnel, and then look for the parking area of the left (west) side of the road.  


Geology:

Breakneck Ridge heads northeast from the Hudson River and connects to Scofield Ridge and then Fishkill Ridge.  Northwest of the ridges are the mountains: Sugarloaf, South Beacon, and North Beacon.  Southeast of Breakneck and Scofield Ridges are a lot of waterways, including: Lake Valhalla, Cold Spring Reservoir, Surprise Lake, and Bound Brook.  At the northeast end  of Scofield Ridge is US 84 and Route 9.  

great views of Storm King and Bannerman's Island

1909 (October 29-30)  --  William T. Howell (1982:152) wrote: "Breakneck, jagged and precipitous, has a stunted fire-swept growth different from all the other hills."


Trails:

A short counter clockwise walk.  Walk south along Route 9D and pick up the white-blazed trail  (Breakneck Ridge Trail) that will take you up the steep mountain side.  For a short walk you can pick up the red trail  (Breakneck Bypass Trail) on the left (west side) and travel west and then south west to the yellow-blazed trail (Wilkinson Trail) back to Route 9D. Then hike south along Route 9D to the parking lot.  

A short clockwise walk.  Follow Breakneck Ridge trail past the Breakneck Bypass Trail (red) and pick up the blue trail heading southeast and south to a pond on Breakneck Brook.  Continue southwest to the red trail on the right (west).  Travel northwest, then southwest, and northwest again back to the Breakneck Ridge Trail (white).  Turn left (southwest) and head back to Route 9D where you first picked up the trail.


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney


Trees:
Acer negundo (boxelder maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula populifolia (gray birch)
Carya sp. (hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Ulmus americana (American elm)

Shrubs:
Corylus (hazel) -- no glandular hairs
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rubus odoratus (flowering raspberry)
Rubus phoenicolasius (wineberry) with fruits
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Staphylea trifoliata (bladdernut)
Vaccinium pallidum (hillside blueberry)
Viburnum dentatum (maple leaf viburnum)

Vines:
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort) 7/19/01
Vitis sp. (grape vine)

Herbs:
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Anemone virginiana (thimbleweed)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster)
Bidens sp. (beggar ticks) trifoliate one
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed) 7/19/01
Cichorium intybus (chicory) 7/19/01
Commelina communis (Asiatic dayflower)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 7/19/01
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 7/19/01
Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower) 7/19/01
Lactuca canadensis (wild lettuce)
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) 7/19/01
Plantago major (common plantain)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Rumex acetosella (field sorrel)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solidago canadensis var. altissima (tall goldenrod)
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)

Rushes:
Juncus tenuis (path rush)

Sedges:
Carex laxiflora type (sedge)

Grasses:
Deschampsia flexuosa (hair grass)
Microstegium vimineum (Japanese stilt grass)
Panicum clandestinum (deer-tongue grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)

Ferns:
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)