Columbia County, located just two hours north of Manhattan, is easily accessible by car or train (Metro-North to Wassaic). Meandering country roads offer the cyclist breathtaking views of unsurpassed rural beauty. Several trails are available on the Columbia County Tourism website, but here’s one of the favorites:
Copake Falls to Ancramdale, in the southeastern part of the county. Begin your ride in Copake Falls—Bash Bish Bike Shop is nearby where bikes for all ages are available for rent. The ride is characterized by mostly country roads and a few high-traffic sections with no real steep hills; the toughest hill is at South East Ancram Road and is 130 vertical feet of climbing. The 23-mile ride past some of the prettiest farmland in the county has gentle to moderate hilliness but can be shortened to an even gentler 11-mile version or 8 miles of nearly flat terrain. Stop for lunch in Ancramdale or Copake, hamlets with characteristic charm, or finish your ride with a swim at Taconic State Park or a hike to beautiful Bash Bish Falls. For more information, visit columbiacountytourism.org.
Dutchess County is about an hour and a half drive or train ride on Metro-North from New York City. Nestled in the center of the Hudson Valley, Dutchess County has many bike routes that showcase the scenic beauty of the Hudson River. There are six suggested bike ride itineraries through different sections of the county.
The Dutchess Rail Trail and the Harlem Valley Rail Trail allows cyclists to ride through the scenic routes that people in Dutchess County adore. But first, kick-start your day watching the sunrise on the Walkway Over the Hudson.
The Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie has been a popular state park since it opened in 2009. Cyclists are invited to ride across the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world at 1.28 miles. When you are finished, head over to the Dutchess Rail Trail.
The Dutchess Rail Trail allows cyclists to travel southeast from Poughkeepsie at Morgan Lake. Enjoy 12 miles of educational points of interest and wildlife found along the trail. Take a break at the bridge over at Sprout Creek, filled with trout every year.
Are you a cycling aficionado without a car? Check out the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. This 10-mile trail begins at the Wassaic train station, accessible from Metro-North on the Harlem Line. Bring your bikes from New York City and hit the trail. For information, visit dutchesstourism.com.
Biking trails of every stripe can be found in Orange County. The Heritage Trail offers riding on a paved rail trail for 12 miles through scenic villages and farmland. Expert riders may prefer the paved roads that wind through Bear Mountain State Park. These byways are shared with cars, but are not major roads. Stewart State Park offers a bit more adventure for mountain bikers along dirt paths that were once residential streets. The park is off-limits to vehicles, so riders are left to pedal on these well-marked, now unpaved roads through the scenic foliage, wetlands and waterways.
Views over the Hudson can be seen from the protected path on the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. The dedicated path is also open to pedestrian traffic.
Last summer, Route 218 around Storm King Mountain was closed to vehicular traffic on Sundays for hikers and bikers. The road is carved out of the face of the mountain and offers expansive views of the Hudson River. We’re expecting this route to open again as a trail, but it has not been confirmed. Accomplished bicyclists can navigate it on their own without the closing, but should be aware that this is a winding, narrow road. For more information, visit orangetourism.org.
Since 1974, Westchester County residents have enjoyed the popular Bicycle Sundays program that opens a 6.5-mile stretch of the historic Bronx River Parkway to bicyclists and other non-motorized use on a series of Sundays each year. Bicycle Sundays will commence this year on May 6 at the County Center in White Plains. No motorized vehicles are permitted.
The Bicycle Sundays route is a 13.1-mile round trip from the Westchester County Center in White Plains to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers. Bicycle Sundays are held in May, June and September, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Participants travel through White Plains, Hartsdale (a hamlet in the Town of Greenburgh), Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Yonkers as they complete the Bicycle Sundays route.For more information, visit friendsofwestchesterparks.com.
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