Hudson River Valley

Biking
  |  Gorp.com
Hudson Valley

Both road bikers and mountain bikers find a lot to love in the Hudson Valley. The region has thousands of miles of safe and relatively tranquil secondary roads, plus innumerable backcountry trails for fat-tire enthusiasts.

Mountain Biking

The Minnewaska State Park Preserve, in the Shawangunk Mountains, is the most popular mountain biking site in the Hudson Valley. Forty miles of wide carriage roads afford relatively easy riding. Trails are well-marked and feature great views of the valleys. Parking fees for cars are sometimes required. While you're in the area, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail makes for a nice and easy warm-up, or cool-down.

The Mohonk Preserve, a few miles from Minnewaska, also offers easy trails. The Preserve is made up of land once a part of the grounds of the famous Mohonk House, a resort owned for 120 years by the Smiley family. The Smileys created the preserve as a private, not-for-profit entity dedicated to conservation. There is a riding fee at Mohonk Preserve. Visitors can purchase passes at the Preserve which also give them access to the trails and grounds of Mohonk House.

Harriman State Park, about a hour by car north of New York City, is criss-crossed with old mining and logging roads. Mountain bikers aren't allowed on the hiking trails, but there are enough other roads to keep them busy and happy for hours.

Mills-Norrie State Park is hilly and challenging, with both technical and non-technical riding. The best trail in the park runs along the Hudson River, offering spectacular views. But bikers must keep their eyes on the trail, because there are lots of roots, rocks and narrow sections. A few places demand that you carry your bike.

Another interesting mountain biking destination in the Valley is the Hereford State Preserve, nicknamed the"909," near Poughkeepsie. The Preserve's 909 acres feature numerous steep hills, loose terrain, and tight singletrack. It's easy to get lost there, so first-timers should go with someone who knows the trails. In addition, at certain times of the year the 909 might become a little too interesting, considering the preserve is open for hunting and is frequented by inexperienced hunters from New York City.

Clarence Fahnestock State Park also offers miles of challenging trails, some sections of which demand bikes with suspension. Fahnestock is a great place for a mountain biker to work up a sweat because there are so many places to cool off. The Park features two lakes and four ponds.

Road Biking

An avid cyclist with a good road map can hardly go wrong on the Hudson's east bank. The area just south of the town of Hudson offers great bicyling, and the opportunity to take in some of the mansions. Another great area for road cyclists is Rhinebeck and environs. Rhinebeck is an elegant little town with galleries, gift shops, restaurants and preserved 19th-century domestic and commercial architecture. Nearby is Tivoli, also an artists' haven. If these destinations aren't enough, pedal down to Annandale-on-Hudson and visit Bard College's beautiful campus or the Montgomery Place estate.

For open roads and bucolic scenery, road bikers head for the Catskills. One nifty "Catskills Cruise" itinerary takes the biker through Tannersville, Hunter, Jewett and Prattsville in a tour of the northern Catskills about 25 miles from the Hudson River.

Another road biking destination worth checking out is the Shawangunks region. It offers New Paltz, a college town, and country roads to cruise. County Road 18, about 13 miles from New Paltz, will take you to Blue Chip Farm, a beautiful horse farm open to the public. Why not get off your bike and take a look at the horses?

South of the Shawangunks area is the Hudson Highlands region. At the heart of this region is the United States Military Academy at West Point, and some really rigorous road biking. You can include a stop at the West Point Visitors Center, museum and other points of interest on campus. A more interesting and unique opportunity awaits you a few miles away, however, at Storm King Arts Center. The Center is a former farm, 400 acres of rolling, grassy fields and meadows, home to enormous outdoor sculptures by post-World War II artists such as Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. Storm King Arts Center, not to be confused with Storm King State Park, is located at Old Pleasant Hill Road, Mountainville.


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