Along the Palisades skyline in Alpine, New Jersey, are the ruins of a once opulent mansion built in 1911 on a 25-acre cliffside property overlooking the Hudson River.
The Cliff Dale Manor was built as a summer home by a wealthy businessman named George Zabriskie. The property was then purchased in 1930 by J.D. Rockefeller, Jr., who donated the property two years later after the Palisades commission decided to return the skyline to its natural terrain.
Plans for the demolition of the two-story stone mansion were set forth, but the demolition didn’t go as planned. The top part of the structure was demolished, but the large bottom portion still stands today, looking much like the remains of an old castle. Today the large ruin, including parts of the garden and a few stairways leading nowhere, can be seen on a nice hike in Palisades Park.
Check out this video for more exploration of Cliff Dale Manor.
Know Before You Go
The ruins are on park property and is legal to visit. There is a trail opening towards the left of the parking lot. Follow that trail for about a mile and you will eventually be led to the ruin. Be careful the GPS doesn't lead you over the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey; you don't want to accidentally pay that that $15 toll.
Utilizing the alternate parking area at the following address not only puts you directly on the trail that the ruins connect to, but also saves you money as the parking lot is free. Enter the trail by going underneath the two overhead highway bridges and then make a right onto the dark green marked Long Trail.
14 Old Dock Rd, Alpine, NJ 07620