- - passing through North-South
- - connecting south to Pennsylvania
- - passing through West-East
Most of the routes on this Bike Hudson Valley website were not designed for long distance
Cyclists on a long distance tour often desire efficiency (short
distances and few ups and downs) and convenience (ease of route-finding,
ease of finding food and lodging).
The problem with applying that approach to the Hudson Valley is that
it leads to riding on the main highways. And that misses out
on the special character of the Hudson Valley.
But often there are quiet and interesting alternate roads available in the
Hudson Valley that add only little in distance and climbing. This website can help you find
these. You can use
the Overview Map to identify
routes which are near your itinerary -- and "borrow" routes
into your trip.
After you've done some research and started planning on your own,
it's often interesting to share your overall plan ask some questions of
A good way to do that is through discussion groups:
Mid-Hudson -- good place for questions, discussion, road
- bridge - path conditions roughly from the Bear Mountain Bridge
north to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
-- good place for questions, discussion, road - bridge - path
conditions in the metropolitan New York City area and the nearby
Hudson Valley area south of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
- more on discussion groups
Traveling this direction generally follows the river and the major valleys.
We have a multi-day route
New York City and Albany, which provides numerous alternatives to
the main highways. The other River
routes provide alternatives along both sides of the Hudson.
There is also a route called "Bicycle Route 9" which
roughly parallels road Routes 9 and 9W. See discussion of this on
our NYC to Albany route.
A nice North-South route can be created in eastern Dutchess and
Columbia counties, by linking up sections of the Harlem
Valley Rail to Trail to Falls, Harlem
Valley Rail Trail, and Quaker
Ridge (with Brewster
extension) routes. Choose sections that keep the route in the
valley following the upper Roeliff Jansen Kill and then the Ten Mile
River (and Route 22) -- between the "Taconic Hills" on the
West and the "Berkshire Ridge" on the East.
Further south, consider connecting to the Putnam
County Trail and Westchester
County Trailways and see
reports on Trailway +
Road combinations to get close to New York City. Some tourers
have also connected with the Berkshire
Loop to connect with western Massachusetts.
For riding north from Albany, see
Northern Hudson Valley Riding and
Trip Reports North.
For connecting to the south with Pennsylvania, consider taking the
Wallkill River valley as a way to avoid the most heavily
urbanized-suburbanized areas of northern New Jersey. From
Kingston to Wallkill, you can use the routes
around New Paltz for ideas.
For some ideas for roads to take, see
Trip Reports for Connecting South and
for Orange County.
This is the hard way through the Hudson Valley. There are some significant
barriers to traveling this way -- perhaps due to how the
glaciers in the last ice age worked.
Barriers (from West to East):
- Catskill mountains -- These are the highest elevations in the
Hudson valley. The only way to fully avoid these is to
ride to the
north, like along the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal. We have
heard that there is something called "Bicycle Route 5" in that
area, but we know little about it.
In the northern Catskills, there are not many alternatives to the
obvious major highways like Rt 28. In October 2004, we were driving on
Rt 28 and saw some new signs on part of it that said something like
"Bicycle Route 28".
A possible route to be considered for going through the Catskills
in the south might be something called "Bicycle Route
17". We know little about it, but its East
end is near the Newburgh-Beacon bridge, and we have seen signs for it
which to some extent follow the major highway Route 17.
- Shawangunk ridge -- This is in the south part of the region.
It is the continuation of a geological feature which starts in North
Carolina or Georgia. It is called the Kittatinny in New
Jersey, and the Blue Mountain in Pennsylvania. Here in the
Hudson valley, it is the site of some famous rock climbing cliffs,
nicknamed "the Gunks", and a beautiful environment for
hiking and mountain biking. Its north end is near
Rt 213 is the first road can be used to avoid crossing it by
going around the north end of the ridge. The most spectacular
actual crossing is on US Rt 44. We've also crossed the ridge
near Otisville and on Rt 52. Perhaps "Bicycle Route 17" could also
be useful, but we have not ridden it.
- Hudson River -- Bridges cross it about every 20 to 30
miles, but not all of them are open to bicyclists. And sometimes their
status can change due to construction -- check our Bridges
and Condition Reports pages.
you want to avoid surprise bridge closures, it's not enough to check
our web pages, or any web pages -- actually make a phone call to the authority who
operates the bridge you want to cross.
- Taconic hills -- These remnants of a giant ancient mountain range
run down the middle of Columbia and Dutchess counties.
For a crossing in southern Dutchess, consider Old Rt 55. In
northern Dutchess, Rt 44 gets a lot of traffic. The crossings on the Hills
and Farms of NE Dutchess route have less traffic -- but at the
expense of some big hills. In Columbia County, the obvious
crossing with few hills is US Rt 23, with plenty of high-speed
traffic, but wide pavement in lots of its sections. Using the
southern part of the Roeliffs
Jansen Kill route (perhaps combined with some sections on Columbia
county Rt 7) is interesting and quieter, but does have some hills.
There is also a secondary road parallel to the Massachusetts
Turnpike extension, but we haven't ridden it in a long time. The other crossings in Columbia
county have harder
- Berkshire ridge -- This major ridge runs just East of the New York
state border alongside Rensselaer, Columbia, and Dutchess
The lowest crossing is Rt 55 near Webatuck NY and Bulls Bridge CT.
But crossing on Dutchess County Rt 3 and Connecticut 341 near Wassaic
NY and Kent CT is much nicer and only a little higher. Another
crossing with less of the steep hills and car traffic is Dutchess
County Rt 2 and Connecticut Rt 41 at Amenia Union (near Wassaic and
Amenia NY and Sharon CT).
North, US Rt 44 is not much hill, but more car traffic. If you need to cross in
Columbia County, there is US Rt 23 between Hillsdale NY and South
Egremont MA. Rt 71 between Green River NY and South
Egremont MA seems gentler to us, but it doesn't connect well with much
else. There is also a secondary road parallel to the
Massachusetts Turnpike extension, but we haven't ridden that in a long
For information about conditions of roads, paths, and bridges, here's
some places to check out:
other resources for long distance touring in the Hudson valley: