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Encyclopedia > New Jersey Palisades
Palisades is also a general term for steep cliffs next to a river.
The George Washington Bridge as seen from the New Jersey Palisades

The Palisades, also called the New Jersey Palisades or the Hudson Palisades, are a line of steep cliffs along the west side of the lower Hudson River in northeast New Jersey and southern New York in the United States. The cliffs stretch north from Jersey City approximately 20 mi (32 km) to near Nyack, New York. They rise nearly vertically from near the edge of the river, ranging in height between 350 ft (107 m) and 550 ft (168 m). The cliffs are among the most dramatic geologic features in the vicinity of New York City, forming a canyon of the Hudson north of Fort Lee, New Jersey, as well as providing a dramatic vista of the New York City skyline from the opposite bank of the Hudson.


Geology and History

The cliffs are the margin of a diabase sill, formed approximately 200 million years ago at the close of the Triassic Period by the intrusion of molten magma upward into softer sandstone. The molten material cooled before reaching the surface. Subsequent water erosion of the softer sandstone left behind the columnar structure of harder rock that exists today. The cliffs are approximately 1000 ft (300 m) thick in sections and were probably originally 1000 ft (300 m) high, approximately twice as high as they are today.

The Lenape called the cliffs "We-awk-en", meaning "rocks that look like rows of trees" (Weehawken, New Jersey, which sits at the top of the cliffs across from Manhattan, takes it name from the Lenape word).

In the 19th century, the cliffs were subject to widespread quarrying for railroad ballast, leading to local efforts to preserve the cliffs. A section of the cliffs north of Fort Lee were subsequently purchased by John D. Rockefeller, who donated them to the State for permanent preservation. The land is now Palisades Interstate Park. The park is a popular destination for local hiking and other outdoor recreational activities.

Crossings of the Palisades

This list runs from south to north. The south end of the Palisades is subjective.

New Jersey/New York state line

  • Washington Springs Road

See also

External link

  • Palisades Interstate Park (http://www.njpalisades.org/)

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