Classic Roads: Storm King NY SR 218
About 50 miles north of New York City, along the Hudson River, Storm King Mountain rises abruptly to lofty heights above the river’s west bank. Geologists tell us that this striking granite formation is several hundred million years old. The mountain’s evocative name was coined by writer Nathaniel Parker Willis in the mid-19th century. At that time, there was a belief that a coming storm would first form atop the region’s tallest mountain—Storm King rises way above the other mountains in this part of the Hudson Highlands.
A Road with a View
The three-mile segment of SR 218 designated as Storm King Highway climbs up to 420 feet above the Hudson River. Before the road’s completion in 1922, the more circuitous route between Newburgh and West Point, NY, required an extra 22 miles of driving. Because the roadway had to be blasted out of the mountain’s sheer rock face, construction took three years to complete. Surveyors reportedly had to rappel down the cliffs to mark the route. Ensuring that falling debris did not impede the New York Central Railroad’s West Shore Line running along the river’s edge below further delayed the construction.