Bicycling in Dutchess County

in the Hudson River valley in New York

Ken Roberts and Sharon Marsh Roberts

Dutchess County is one of the wonderful places in the world to explore on a bicycle.  We've been riding on its beautiful back roads for years, and we keep coming back for more, and keep discovering new special places. 

what's here

see also 

 - - Taxi services in Dutchess County


Folks to Ride with

Mid-Hudson Bicycle Club (MHBC) -- The bicycle club most closely identified with touring in the central Hudson Valley.  We've been riding with them for years -- fun people who know good routes.  Rides and members tend to center around Dutchess and Ulster Counties -- but there are some members who live elsewhere but show up on weekend days to join in for some riding.


Routes to Try

  • Rhinebeck - Bard - Red Hook -- 19 miles, gentle hills.  A visit to Bard College and the village of Red Hook, with pleasant riding on tree-lined roads and country estates along the way.  700 vertical feet, hill index 2.2.  Start points Rhinebeck, Red Hook. [ Description | Map ]
     
  • Rhinebeck to Tivoli -- 34 miles, gentle to moderate hilliness.  A visit to the villages of Tivoli and Rhinecliff, Bard College, with tree-lined roads, the river, and country estates -- and return through farm country.  1500 vertical feet, hill index 2.5.  Start points Rhinebeck, Rhinecliff, Tivoli, Red Hook. [ Description | Map ]
     
  • Harlem Valley Wandering -- 29 miles, moderate hills (shorter variations).  Rolling quiet roads with beautiful farms in Dutchess county and Connecticut, and a section on the nicest off-road "rail trail" around.  A tour through a different world -- but reachable by train from Manhattan.  Start points Amenia, Wassaic train station, Millerton, Sharon CT.  1600 vertical feet, hill index 3.3  [ Description | Map | Photos ]
     
  • Copake Falls + Ancramdale to Wassaic one-way -- 46 miles, moderate hilliness (with gentler variations of 25, 31, 43 miles).  Immersion in beautiful farm country of Columbia and Dutchess counties on quiet roads with good pavement.  Food stops in two interesting hamlets -- Ancramdale and Millerton.  Option to sample the prettiest paved "rail trail" around.  2500 vertical feet, hill index 3.1  [ Description | Map ]
     
  • Quaker Ridge -- 45 miles, hilly.  Lots of beautiful scenes on quiet back roads -- in southeast Dutchess County and Connecticut.  3300 vertical feet, hill index 4.2.  Start points Pawling, Dover Plains, Brewster, Kent CT.  [ Description | Map ]
     
  • Farms of East Dutchess -- 54 miles, hilly.  Many farms, some with animals, much on pleasant roads with less traffic, some rewarding downhills -- reachable by train from Manhattan.  Start points Dover Plains train station, Millbrook, Amenia.  4100 vertical feet, hill index 4.7  [ Description | Map + GPS | Cue sheet ]
     
  • Harlem Valley Rail to Trail to Falls -- 59 miles, moderate hilliness (shorter and longer variations).  Endless rolling quiet roads with beautiful farms in Dutchess and Columbia counties.  Climb to the biggest views from a Dutchess county road.  Lunch in quiet little Ancramdale.  Ride sections on the nicest paved "rail trail" around.  Start points:  Wassaic train station, Amenia, Millerton, Copake Falls, Sharon CT.  3900 vertical feet, hill index 3.8  [ Description | Map | GPS | Cue sheet ]
     

gentler places, mostly off-road

  • Dutchess Rail Trail -- mostly off-road. Only partially completed (paved with asphalt) as of 2009.  Planned eventually for 12 miles from Hopewell Junction to the city of Poughkeepsie in Dutchess county, NY. [ official website ]

As of 2009 there is a northern section near Poughkeepsie that is paved with asphalt. There is also a southern section near Hopewell Junction, but we haven't been on that since its construction.

GPS: access to north end of the northern asphalt section from public roads -- by Morgan Lake (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.71750,-73.90727 = N41.71750 W73.90727

access to south end of the northern asphalt section from public roads -- by Overocker Rd (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.69401,-73.88451 = N41.69401 W73.88451

connections:

 * As of 2009 there is no off-road connection between the Dutchess Rail Trail and the Walkway over the Hudson.

 * north end by Morgan Lake is near Walkway / Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge loop route on public roads with motor vehicle traffic (which also goes to the Walkway over the Hudson)

 * section by Overocker Rd crosses the connect Poughkeepsie to Salt Point route on public roads with motor vehicle traffic.

  • Walkway Over The Hudson -- Bridge across the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland, a rather wide walkway open for bicycling and walking. Big views up and down the river, especially nice of the road bridge and river to the south. [ official website ]  Off-road, paved (concrete and asphalt) about 1.5 mile long.

As of 2009 there is no off-road connection between the Walkway and the Dutchess Rail Trail or with the Lloyd-Highland Rail Trail -- but as of 2010 there is a project to connect with the Lloyd-Highland Rail Trail.

For a 4-mile loop that goes crosses the River twice, once over the sidewalk of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, but includes more than a mile on public roads with significant motor vehicle traffic, see Mid-Hudson / Walkway loop - (loop could also be used for walking or running, especially for those starting from the Poughkeepsie train station).

Access to the Walkway is roughly one mile on streets from the Poughkeepsie train station (service by Metro North and Amtrak from New York City).

GPS: main access to Walkway east end in Poughkeepsie from public roads (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.71171,-73.92446 = N41.71171 W73.92446

main access to Walkway west end in Highland from public roads (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.71014,-73.95522 = N41.71014 W73.95522

Start points Wassaic train station (Harlem line of Metro North) or Amenia or Millerton along Route 22 in eastern Dutchess county.  The rail trail goes slightly uphill in the north-bound direction from Wassaic toward Millerton, so if you want it easier on your return trip, start in Amenia or Wassaic.  Note that although the trail itself is off-road, it intersects with public roads at several points, at least one with high-speed vehicle traffic -- so special care is required in detecting, approaching, and crossing those. 

Start point Copake Falls along Route 22 in eastern Dutchess county (or Under Mountain Road at its south end).  Bicycle shop and food in Copake Falls.  Also suitable for inline skates, roller skates -- and walking with a stroller or wheel-chair.  Note:  This route includes a short section on a public road, but this normally has very little traffic.  It also intersects with driveways and possibly public roads at several other points -- so special care is required in detecting, approaching, and crossing those. 

   
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River Routes -- Bridge to Bridge

Dutchess County has four bridges across the great Hudson River, and it's a special thing to ride across one of them. One is free from motor vehicle traffic:

  • Walkway Over The Hudson -- Bridge across the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland, a rather wide walkway open for bicycling and walking. Big views up and down the river, especially nice of the road bridge and river to the south. [ official website ]  Off-road, paved (concrete and asphalt) about 1.5 mile long.

As of 2009 there is no off-road connection between the Walkway and the Dutchess Rail Trail or with the Lloyd-Highland Rail Trail -- but as of 2010 there is a project to connect with the Lloyd-Highland Rail Trail.

For a 4-mile loop that goes crosses the River twice, once over the sidewalk of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, but includes more than a mile on public roads with significant motor vehicle traffic, see Mid-Hudson / Walkway loop - (loop could also be used for walking or running, especially for those starting from the Poughkeepsie train station).

Access to the Walkway is roughly one mile on streets from the Poughkeepsie train station (service by Metro North and Amtrak from New York City).

GPS: main access to Walkway east end in Poughkeepsie from public roads (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.71171,-73.92446 = N41.71171 W73.92446

main access to Walkway west end in Highland from public roads (with parking nearby as of 2009) [ on Google Maps ] -- latitude-longitude (approx)
= 41.71014,-73.95522 = N41.71014 W73.95522

It's even more special to ride across two of them, and each of these routes makes a loop on both sides of the river, with two bridges.

  • Bear Mountain Bridge to Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, loop on both sides of the Hudson river -- 42 miles, hilly.  Spectacular views of the Hudson River, from every angle.  Rocks, trees, castles, two great bridge crossings, and West Point.  2700 vertical feet, hill index 4.0.  Start points Beacon or Cold Spring Metro North train stations, Bear Mountain State Park, Newburgh. [ Description | Map | GPS ] 
     
  • Mid-Hudson Bridge / Walkway over the Hudson loop -- 4 miles, gentle. Big views of the Hudson River and its shores and the bridges from the Walkway over the Hudson and the north sidewalk of the Mid-Hudson Bridge.  More than a mile on roads with significant motor vehicle traffic. Start points Poughkeepsie, Highland. [ Description | Map | GPS ]
     
  • Walkway over the Hudson / Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge loop on both sides of the Hudson river -- 53 miles (or shorter), hilly.  Pretty roads in quiet woods, two big Hudson river bridges, shops and sights at the Rondout waterfront, some quiet riding along the shore with a picnic park, optional side trips to Rhinebeck or New Paltz.  3400 vertical feet (feels like 3900 feet) hill index 4.0 -- also a shorter easier version.  Start points Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Kingston, Highland. [ Description | Map | GPS ]
     
  • Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to Rip Van Winkle Bridge, loop on both sides of the Hudson river -- 57 miles, moderate, from Rhinecliff to Saugerties to Catskill, then Germantown and Tivoli.  Shaded roads in the woods, two fine Hudson river bridge crossings, sweeping views of farms with the Catskill mountains beyond.  
     

Routes reached by Trains from New York City

Another special thing about Dutchess county is that it is served by two train lines from New York City.  Several of the bike routes above can be started from train stations -- a convenient way for many riders to reach them.  See Routes from Trains

 
Other People's Routes

back to Top | more bicycling in the Hudson Valley


Bike shops 

Here's some bicycle shops we found in phone directories around 2003:


Tourism in Dutchess County

Local areas 

see also

back to Top | more bicycling in the Hudson Valley


concept words:  

places: Hudson river valley, New York state, NY

towns:  Mid-Hudson Poughkeepsie Beacon Wappingers Falls Rhinebeck Rhinecliff Tivoli Millbrook Amenia Wassaic Millerton Fishkill Pawling Dover Plains Shekomeko Pine Hyde Park -- west east north south -- city town village hamlet

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routes: route routes ride rides tour tours turn cue sheet sheets map maps


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