Amanda Graham, 36, told the New York Daily News she tripped and then fell from the trail, sliding down toward the cliffs. The fall occurred Sunday as she hiked with relatives on a trail north of Alpine, N.J., and just south of the New York State line.
"It was like straight out of a movie," Graham said. "As I was slipping I thought I was going to go all the way down, but I grabbed a rock. I was able to stabilize my fall and I didn't fall too far down."
The Piermont, N.Y., volunteer fire department called for help from New York City after trying to reach Graham.
The Palisades, one of the most dramatic geological features in the New York area, line the west shore of the Hudson River for 20 miles from Hudson County in New Jersey to Nyack, N.Y. They are more than 500 feet high in the Alpine area. The Palisades Interstate Park runs from Fort Lee, N.J., into New York State.
A New York police helicopter with a rescue basket was able to reach Graham and get her to safety and a hospital at about 5 p.m. -- five hours after her fall.
"The primary focus was to make sure she was okay," Sgt. Antonio Hernandez, who commanded the helicopter, said. "The side of the cliff was very steep. One wrong step and you could fall 200 feet."