Planning Long Distance Tours

        which pass through the Hudson Valley

what's here 

 - - passing through North-South 
 - - connecting south to Pennsylvania 
 - - passing through West-East 

see also

Long Distance Touring on this website 

Most of the routes on this Bike Hudson Valley website were not designed for long distance touring.

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.

Discussion - Questions - News 

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 local riders.   

A good way to do that is through discussion groups: 

  • Bike Mid-Hudson -- good place for questions, discussion, road - bridge - path conditions roughly from the Bear Mountain Bridge north to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. 
  • NYC.bicycles -- 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  


Passing through North - South 

Traveling this direction generally follows the river and the major valleys.

We have a multi-day route between 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.

Connecting south to Pennsylvania 

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.

Passing through West - East 

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 Rosendale.   

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. 

But if 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 hills. 

  • Berkshire ridge -- This major ridge runs just East of the New York state border alongside Rensselaer, Columbia, and Dutchess counties.  

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). 

Further 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 time.  

Conditions of Roads and Paths 

For information about conditions of roads, paths, and bridges, here's some places to check out: 

more . . . 

other resources for long distance touring in the Hudson valley:

New York state bicycle routes

see also

concept words:  

places: Hudson river valley, New York state, NY

regions: Mid-Hudson Catskills Catskill region Wallkill area areas

counties: Dutchess Rockland Orange Ulster Greene Albany Westchester Putnam Columbia Rensselaer Bergen county

towns:  Poughkeepsie Rhinebeck New Paltz Woodstock Kingston Manhattan -- city town village

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

long distance trip trips adventure plan planning


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