Bicycling in Ulster County

in the Hudson River valley in New York

Ken Roberts and Sharon Marsh Roberts 

Ulster County is a wonderful place 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 


Folks to Ride with

  • VO2 VELO -- riding around the northern tip of the Shawangunk Ridge and New Paltz in Ulster County NY.
     
  • Mid-Hudson Bicycle Club -- riding around Dutchess and Ulster Counties.  Some members live elsewhere but show up on weekends to join in the great road riding in the Mid-Hudson area.
     

Routes to Try

New Paltz - Wallkill Valley

List of maps for New Paltz - Wallkill Valley region 

Map of Gentler Places for bicycling around New Paltz 
  • Farms and Orchards around New Paltz -- 49 miles, gentle-to-moderate hills (with shorter variations).  Beautiful farms and orchards, a covered bridge, sweeping views of the Wallkill valley and the Shawangunk ridge.  2100 vertical feet, hill index 2.6.  Start points New Paltz, Wallkill, Tillson / Rosendale. [ Description | Map ] 
     
  • Farms around New Paltz -- South -- 35 miles, gentle-to-moderate hills.  Beautiful farms and orchards, with a big horse farm.  Sweeping views of the Wallkill valley and the Shawangunk ridge.  1400 vertical feet, hill index 2.2.  Start points New Paltz, Wallkill. [ Description | Map | GPS ] 
     
  • Great Shawangunk Hill Loop -- 32 miles, with some big steep hills.  Great descents, beautiful views.  3200 vertical feet, hill index 8.4.  Start points New Paltz, Mohonk Preserve, Minnewaska State Park, Kerhonkson, Accord. [ Description | Map ]
     
  • New Paltz to Kingston Waterfront -- 44 miles.  Moderate hilliness.  Also a 31 mile variation.  Variety of interesting settings -- beautiful farm country, three towns with shops and food, into the woods, and the Rondout waterfront.  2400 vertical feet, hill index 3.7.  Start points New Paltz, Kingston, Port Ewen, Rosendale. [ Description | Map | GPS | Cue sheet ] 
     
  • New Paltz to Ashokan Reservoir -- 58 miles, big hills.  Several great descents and climbs with sweeping views over three major watersheds (Wallkill, Rondout, Esopus), lots of quiet back roads and fun little downhills -- and the biggest cliffs, the largest lake, and the highest summits in the Hudson Valley.  5200 vertical feet, hill index 6.9.  Start points New Paltz, Kerhonkson, Ashokan Reservoir, Stone Ridge. [ Description | GPS | Map | Photos ]
     
  • Lloyd - Highland Rail Trail -- about 5 miles on pavement with return.  Very gentle.  Pleasant off-road riding on a paved path -- additional unpaved section also open.  A good place to ride for families with children.  60 vertical feet, hill index 0.9.  Start point Lloyd (near Highland and Mid-Hudson Bridge). [ Photos ] 
     
  • New Paltz North : Trail + Roads -- 15 miles.  Half on an unpaved "rail trail" mostly off-road, the other half on roads.  Mostly flat, except for one hill (not that long or steep -- and avoidable).  Start point New Paltz. [ Description | Map ] 
     
  • New Paltz South : Trail + Roads -- 17 miles.  Mostly flat, except for one hill on the rail trail and one on the roads.  Half on an unpaved "rail trail" mostly off-road, the other half on quiet roads.   Start points New Paltz or Gardiner. [ Details | Map | GPS | Cue sheet ] 
     

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Woodstock - Ashokan Reservoir - Catskills

  • Ashokan Reservoir Dam -- 2 miles or 5 miles.  Flat, on wide pavement most of which is closed to motor vehicles -- with first mile out-and-back all car-free.  Beautiful views across the largest lake in the Hudson Valley, and of the highest summits in the Catskill mountains.  Hill index 0.1.  Start point Ashokan Reservoir. [ Description | Map | Photos ]
     
  • Ashokan Reservoir Views -- 20 miles (or 29 miles).  Gentle-to-moderate hilliness.  Beautiful views across the largest lake in the Hudson Valley, and of the highest summits in the Catskill mountains.  900 vertical feet, hill index 2.6.  Start point Ashokan Reservoir. [ Description | Map | Photos ]
     
  • Woodstock and around the Ashokan Reservoir -- 30 miles.  Moderate hills.  The arts and shops and food of Woodstock, plus beautiful views of the largest lake in the Hudson Valley and the highest summits in the Catskill mountains.  1900 vertical feet, hill index 3.5.  Start points Woodstock, Ashokan Reservoir, Zena, Boiceville. [ Description | Map | Photos ]
     
  • New Paltz to Ashokan Reservoir -- 58 miles, big hills.  Several great descents and climbs with sweeping views over three major watersheds (Wallkill, Rondout, Esopus), lots of quiet back roads and fun little downhills -- and the biggest cliffs, the largest lake, and the highest summits in the Hudson Valley.  5200 vertical feet, hill index 6.9.  Start points New Paltz, Kerhonkson, Ashokan Reservoir, Stone Ridge. [ Description | GPS | Map | Photos ]
     

 
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gentler places, mostly off-road

  • Ashokan Reservoir -- 2.3 miles (as of May 2004) -- 1 mile, flat, on a wide paved path, plus an additional 1.3 miles on a wide paved road closed to motor vehicles (as of May 2004) -- but access to the second section from the usual "Frying Pan" parking area requires traveling up to 0.1 mile on a road open to motor vehicle traffic.  Beautiful views across the largest lake in the Hudson Valley, and of the highest summits in the Catskill mountains.  Also suitable for inline skates, roller skates, wheelchair -- or walking with a stroller.  Start point Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster county.  See [ Details | Administration | Map | Photos

  • Lloyd - Highland Rail Trail -- about 5 miles on pavement with return (out 2.5 miles and then back).  Very gentle.  Pleasant riding on a wide paved path, mostly off-road.  Additional unpaved section also open.  Also suitable for inline skates, roller skates, wheelchair -- or walking with a stroller.  In town of Lloyd in Ulster County (near Highland and Mid-Hudson Bridge).  See [ more Details | Photos ]

  • 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

  • Hurley Rail Trail - (as of July 2007) - The paved section runs alongside the east side of Route 209 near Kingston. Its north parking area is immediately south of where 209 crosses Esopus Creek, a little more than a mile south from Route 28. The paved section of the trail is flat, and it's about 2.1 or 2.2 miles long (one-way). It crosses one public motor vehicle road. Parking areas are on either end of the paved section, or sometimes we park alongside Russell Rd (the one that crosses the middle of the trail).  The unpaved section continues south another 5 miles or so to Leggett Rd + Rt 213 near High Falls (and we've heard that it continues some distance further south from there). We've also heard that the trail follows the former path of the Ontario & Western Railway (O&W) and had some relation to the Delaware and Hudson canal (D&H). See [ Map ]

Start point New Paltz in Ulster County, which is conveniently reached from exit 18 of the NYS Thruway or the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Route 9W.  Bike shops and food in New Paltz.  Note that although the Rail Trail itself is off-road, it intersects with public roads at several points, some with possible high-speed vehicle traffic -- so special care is required in detecting, approaching, and crossing those.  [ Map ]

Start point New Paltz in Ulster County, which is conveniently reached from exit 18 of the NYS Thruway or the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Route 9W.  Alternate start point Gardiner (on Route 44).  Bike shops and food in New Paltz, food in Gardiner.  Note that although the Rail Trail itself is off-road, it intersects with public roads at several points, some with possible high-speed vehicle traffic -- so special care is required in detecting, approaching, and crossing those. [ Map | KML | GPX ]


River Routes -- Bridge to Bridge

Ulster County has three 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

  • 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.  
     

Downhill runs and Uphill challenges

Ulster County also some fun descents, including  

and (for those who must) some notorious climbs: 

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Bike shops 

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

  • Table Rock Tours + Bicycles -- Rosendale, NY

  • Broadway Bike Shop -- Kingston, NY

  • Kingston Cyclery -- Kingston, NY

  • Bike Brothers -- Kingston, NY

  • Big Wheel Bicycle -- Lake Katrine, NY

  • Performance Pedal -- Ulster Park, NY

  • Overlook Mountain Bikes -- Woodstock, NY

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Taxi services 

Calling a taxi services can be very helpful for bicycling: 

  • when your bicycle gets messed up bad enough so you cannot ride it -- or weather turns real bad -- and you still need to get home or back to your car.
  • to get to and from train stations.
  • to set up one-way tours.

It's usually easier to call a taxi if you have some phone numbers of taxi services in the area you're riding. A way to get a list is to do a search for "taxi" on a directory of business phone numbers such as Superpages.com -- Here's some towns and cities in this county on which might be helpful to search:

New Paltz, Kingston, Saugerties, Woodstock, Kerhonkson, Wallkill (all in New York state)

Here's some taxi services we found in phone directories around 2003:

New Paltz 

  • New Paltz Taxi - - New Paltz, NY

  • Discount Taxi of New Paltz - - New Paltz, NY

Kingston 

  • Taylor's Family Taxi - - Kingston, NY

  • The Royal Taxi - - Kingston, NY

  • New Cabs - - Kingston, NY

  • Kingston Cabs - - Kingston, NY

other

  • S & K Car Service :: Saugerties, NY
  • Woodstock Transportation :: Woodstock, NY
  • Accord-Kerhonkson Taxi-Limousine :: Kerhonkson, NY
  • Chuck's Taxi of Plattekill :: Wallkill, NY

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Tourism in Ulster County

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concept words:  

places: Hudson river valley, New York state, NY

regions: Mid-Hudson Catskills Catskill region Wallkill area Gunks Shawangunks

towns:  New Paltz Kingston Saugerties Wallkill Woodstock Kerhonkson Milton Marlboro Rosendale Gardiner High Falls Mohonk Minniwaska Hunter Tannersville Phoenicia Boiceville Palenville Poughkeepsie Newburgh -- west east north south -- city town village hamlet

bicycling: bicycle bicycling bike bikes bicycles bicyclist cycle cyclist cycling touring riding rider riders

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


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