It's not Colorado with its tall peaks, Utah with its popular Moab slickrock or California with its fast hardpack riding, but the Hudson Valley mountain biking scene is something special, and it deserves the attention that these other popular biking meccas get. Those that know where to ride their bikes in the Hudson Valley can ride just about every terrain imaginable and that is the beauty of it all - mountain bikers here have so many choices.
Do you feel like taking an isolated, forest enclosed riding adventure among tall pines and lush foliage where you can ride for hours over uncovered territory, enjoying the solitude? Or perhaps you may want to ride in the mountains, breathing in the fresh mountain air and taking in the breath-taking vistas and overlooks. The Hudson Valley can provide this for you. Want to experience and see some historic spots while at the same time your spinning those pedals? You can do so in the Hudson Valley, whether you are visiting historic mansions, Hudson River history, or other attractions.
Not in the mood for the above excursions but more in the mood for a performance, adrenaline-pumping experience on the bike? Looking for some place to go where the hills are steep, the singletrack is fast and technical, and the riding will leave you collapsed with exhaustion? Are you looking for some place to bring that tricked-out, dual suspension rig for some serious downhill rides? Look no further, the Hudson Valley will deliver. This is the beauty of Hudson Valley riding; it doesn't have the best of any one type of riding but it does deliver some of each, making the valley a very diverse place to ride.
So beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders read on as we take a tour of the Hudson Valley, seeing where the rides are that can suit all of us, and that we may have not known even existed at all.
Minnewaska State Park
5281 Route 44-55
Kerhonkson, NY 12446
Long known as one of the best places to ride a mountain bike in the Hudson Valley, Minnewaska is set in the beautiful Shawgunk Mountain ridge. 40 miles of wide carriage roads carry the mountain biker past beautiful overlooks provided by the valley below. Riding is relatively easy; hills tend to be long downhills and long, but manageable climbs. Trails are made up of loose rock, hardpack dirt, and bedrock. Trails are well marked and a bike trail map is available. Aside from biking, visitors may also hike, horseback, walk pets, picnic, and scuba dive. Two lakes can be found on park grounds, and both have areas for swimming. But visitors will soon see after arriving to Minnewaska that one doesn't need activities to keep them content. The spectacular views are enough. Go to Minnewaska to take in the sights. Parking fees are sometimes required; call first. Helmets are required and fines will be issued to violators. Directions
James Baird State Park
14 Maintenance Lane
Pleasant Valley, NY 12569
Baird Park has a small loop of about three miles of forest enclosed riding fun. The trails are not hard; there is mostly rolling terrain and only a few steep hills. Trail surfaces are made up of hardpack dirt with some roots and rocks. This is a great ride for a family looking to get out on their bikes and enjoy the outdoors because the riding is enjoyable and not too strenuous. After riding, one can enjoy lunch on picnic grounds, bring the kids over to the playground, play a round of golf on the Baird Golf Course, use the driving range, play softball, play tennis, or stop into the on-site restaurant. Water fountains are present on park grounds and a trail map is available. Directions
1000 Mountain Rest Rd., Mohonk Lake
New Paltz, NY 12561
Mohonk's riding trails are neighbors to Minnewaskas. The two destinations are only a few miles apart and have interconnecting trails in some sections. Mohonk Preserve is the largest private nature preserve in NY state. In total, Mohonk protects over 6,000 acres of the Shawangunk Ridge. As with Minnewaska, Monhonk riding brings you past breath taking views of the valley below supplied by the mountains. Trails are similar to Minnewaska; they consist of mostly well groomed carriage roads covered with shale, with some areas of exposed bedrock. Hills are generally long with a small incline or decline. There are plenty of flat trails to ride; this ride is extremely friendly to beginner riders. Mohonk demands a daily riding fee of $10, and helmets are mandatory. A trail map is available. Mohonk's main feature is its historic Mountain House. The Mountain House is one of the last great nineteenth-century mountain resorts and is quite beautiful; stop by to see it after you ride. Directions
Stewart International Airport Buffer Zone
Newburgh, NY 12550
The Stewart Buffer Zone is state land that separates Stewart Airport from a residential area. Its purpose is keep sound of the airport away from the community. Luckily for us mountain bikers, its also open to riding. Trails consist of some singletrack and have only a few hills that are tough to ride. Stewart holds mountain biking races every year, so the course is very popular with local riders. Go there and expect to see many others enjoying the sport of mountain biking. If you want to ride Stewart, act fast: there is talk of the land being sold to developers. The NY Department of Transportation demands that all riders acquire a free permit before riding. Fines will be issued to those without permit. Directions
Blue Mountain Reservation
435 Welcher Ave
Peekskill, NY 10566
Blue Mountain has received high acclaim from Bike magazine, ranking it as one of the 11 best places for bike trails in North America and as the No. 1 mountain biking venue in America near a metropolis.
“Blue Mountain Reservation is 1,500 acres of sweet urban respite just outside New York City,” the magazine said in its March 2009 issue. “With more than 40 miles of trail spider-webbing though deciduous forest, there are countless rides to be had, making it just as easy to create an all-day suffer fest as it is to slip out for a quick nooner.”
“Although, the highest point at which bikes are allowed is 680 feet, the short, peaky climbs and stone-strewn hills can quickly force a rider to redline it,” Bike said.
Blue Mountain is the home of the annual Fat Tire Festival in June, hosted by the Westchester Mountain Biking Association.
909 Acres - Taconic-Hereford Multiple Use Area
Located off the Northbound Taconic State Parkway, in Pleasant Valley, NY
Town of Pleasant Valley Town Clerk: 845-635-3274
Taconic Region Park State Office: 845-889-4100
909 is a New York State multiuse land; it allows many activities on its land such as snowmobiling, 4 by 4 off-roading, hunting, and our favorite: mountain biking. 909 is an advanced placed to ride due to its numerous steep hills, loose terrain, and tight singletrack. Trails there are varied. The entire preserve is connected by a circle of fireroads. Branching off of the fireroads are a mix of singletrack trails, medium-width trails, and grassy trails. 909 is of course just that; 909 acres. There is a lot of land to get lost in; know where you are going before setting out on this ride. It is best to go to 909 with someone that knows its trails so you don't get lost. Also take serious consideration of not biking at 909 during hunting season because there are many inexperienced hunters that come out of NYC to hunt there. Directions
Mills-Norrie State Park
Statsburg, NY 12580
Park Office: 845-889-4646
Mills-Norrie State Park is set on the Hudson River. Norrie Point is a boat dock area on the Hudson River and Ogden Mills is a historic estate built by one of America's financial and industrial leaders during the Gilded Age, Morgan Lewis. The park features singletrack, along with various other kinds of technical and not so technical trails. Hills are frequent and often difficult. But the highlight trail of the park has to be its river-side trail. It goes from Norrie Point to Ogden Mills and runs right along side the Hudson River. The views are of the river are spectacular and the trail is very technical; there is allot of roots, rocks, narrow areas, and sections that cannot be cleared on the bike. Plan on carrying your bike over allot of the stuff. A trail map is available and there are water fountains and bathrooms. Directions
85 Sheafe Rd.
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Bowdoin Park has trails that are a mix of fast downhills, wide open flats and uphills. Trails range from the wide open variety to singletrack that will challenge the most experienced rider. The degree of difficulty of the ride depends upon which direction the rider takes the trails. Bowdoin Park is located along the side the Hudson River. If one takes the trails in the direction of sloping down towards the river, the terrain will yield mostly downhill riding. On the other hand, if one takes the same trails going from the river up, the riding will be mostly uphill. Those that are seeking a serious workout will appreciate this. Trail surfaces are generally hard pack dirt with some rocks and roots. The issue of biking on Bowdoin trails is a strange one; going into the park you will see a "no biking on trails" sign, but Bowdoin has mountain biking races every year and most bikers never get a hassle by park people. Directions
Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park
Carmel, NY 10512-9802
Park Office; 845-225-7207
Fahnestock is an expansive state owned park of 10,000 plus acres that has trails that are in part made up of the Appalachian Trail; a trail that runs for much of the east coast. Fahnestock is a place where you can ride wide, open trails for a great distance, not seeing anyone for miles. Bring a map (maps are available at the park office) so you don't get lost, and enjoy the solitude of just you, your bike, and the lush forest that surrounds you. Trail surfaces are a variety of smooth dirt and rocky areas with some areas with too many rocks for those without suspension. Climbs are the rule here; don't come here looking for an easy ride. After riding, one can enjoy themselves next to Oscawanna Lake, Wiccopee Reservoir, or any other of the number of bodies of water located in the park. Camping is allowed and fishing is also allowed in some areas. Directions
South-East of the City of Beacon
Just off of 9D/ Howland Ave.
Park near Hillside Rd.
Have a need for downhill speed but don't want to travel to some upstate or other state's ski mountain and ride a lift? Try Mount Beacon. Mount Beacon is an old, closed down ski mountain that is now a favorite among mountain bikers in the area. There is no lift here; you will have to climb your bike to the top. But once you get to the top and start heading over the other side, prepare yourself for a screaming downhill run that will test both your bike handling skills and your suspension. Trails range from smooth dirt to unmaintained, and downright dangerous rock-strewn trails that will make your braking hands ache and give you the ride of your life. Of special note is that Mt. Beacon is owned privately. As a result of carefully negotiated agreements, blazed trails extending beyond state park land and into Mt. Beacon are open to riding. It is very important to exercise care and caution as to not endanger the trail status; respect the privacy of the landowner and don't trespass. Directions
Westchester Mountain Bike Association
PO Box 95
Crompound, NY 10517
Hudson Valley Velo Club
156 Sheate Rd.
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
A riding/ racing club founded in 1980 by two local riders. Learn bike safety, fitness, and fun.
Fats in the Cats Bicycle Club
61 John St.
Kingston, NY 12401
Fats in the Cats are heavily involved in trail maintenance at a number of trails in their area. They also ride the trails they maintain in group rides.
Wheel and Heel
2658 E. Main St.
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
1581 Route 376
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Another local shop that has group rides on occasion; call or stop in to inquire.
Mid Hudson Bicycle Club
Hyde Park, NY
A riding club that offers organized rides and activities.