West side Path -- Manhattan --
Ideas for Making your Route 

 

 what's here

 Overall Description of Route Trip Reports + Road Condition Reports Photos


Things to keep in mind 

  • We're not local experts on this path.  We're just out-of-towners who have had some fun on it, and we're offering our ideas and stories in hope that they might help you to have fun too.  If you find other helpful sources of information about the path, please send us E-mail, so we can recommend them as links. 
      
  • We have only been on the path in the middle of the day in summer and fall in nice weather.  What risks it might have or special procedures it might require at other times of day or night or in other weather or seasons we do not know -- check with local New York City experts. 
      
  • Things keep changing -- mostly for the better -- but there was that real big one for the worse.  Be prepared to change your route and your plans.  Carrying a map of Manhattan is a good idea.  
      
  • We have usually done the route from end to end:  Battery Park and under the George Washington Bridge.  There's lots of ways to enter and exit in the middle -- but we don't know them well, so we haven't said much about them.  It's up to you to figure out how to connect with streets or subways or buses. 
      

Southern -- between Battery Park and 72nd St

Most of this section of the path has been fairly straightforward when we've done it:  Try to stay in view of the Hudson River, follow the obvious off-road path, and follow the signs relevant to your mode of transportation. 

One problem we've heard of for this section is that it's so popular sometimes that it's hard to keep pedaling with safety and courtesy.  This has not happened to us yet.  But it makes sense to be prepared for it.  One alternative is to get off and walk.  Another is to ride on the streets, but we don't know enough about riding on the streets in southern Manhattan to offer helpful advice about this -- except that you'd better have some good urban traffic-handling skills. 

We think of the southern part as having three main sections: 

Battery Park 

The southeastern tip of this park is near the Coast Guard station and the Staten Island Ferry terminal.  The northwestern corner is by the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery car tunnel, near West St and Battery Place -- and near the water.  There are several ways through this, including a promenade next to the water and shaded paved paths through the interior of the park. 

Esplanade at World Financial Center 

This section goes around the West side of the World Financial Center, right next to the water.  Its southern end is near West St and Battery Place, near the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.  Its northern end is near Chambers St and Harrison St. 

Main path: Chambers St to 72nd St 

The path in this section stays near the water, but not always right next to it.  There are several places where it crosses driveways or entrances or street extensions which are used by cars and buses and other motor vehicle traffic.  Its southern end is near Chambers St and Harrison St and we put its north end conceptually at the point where we like to leave the path and climb up to get to 72nd St, because that's the southern end of Riverside Drive, which we enjoy riding on.  But actually there's no break in the path there -- it just continues on to the north. 


Northern -- 72nd St to George Washington Bridge

We break the Northern part into several sections.  For some details of the routes some people took through these sections, see the Reports.  

Main path: 72nd to around 84th St 

Next to the water, no crossings of driveways or street extensions normally used by motor vehicles. (as of June 2002) 

Upper path: around 84th to 92nd St 

The path right next to the water gets very narrow and difficult, so bicyclists are directed up to another path further East which looks like an old street, then go back down to rejoin the main path by the water.  No crossings of driveways or street extensions normally used by motor vehicles. (as of June 2002)

Main path: around 92nd to 132nd St 

Next to the water.  The northern part is called "Cherry Walk". 

Detour out on the streets: 132nd to 138th St

There is simply no way to continue alongside the water at this point.  The detour is somewhat complicated -- see Reports.  As if June 2002, this section definitely requires dealing with urban traffic of cars and other motor vehicles.  So if that's not something you feel ready to handle, better turn around when you hit this section.  

Main Path: 138th St to the Little Red Lighthouse and GWB

Path runs near the water. 

Steep hill: Little Red Lighthouse to Lafayette Place 

Somewhat complicated -- see Reports

On the streets near the George Washington Bridge

Even if you're not going to the GWB, if you come through here you have to do something with streets (or walking your bike on the sidewalks) and a steep hill. 

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