NYC to Bear Mountain Adventure
  
  • where:  a loop on the West side of the Hudson river, from the George Washington Bridge to the Bear Mountain Bridge -- through Bergen county in NJ, and Rockland and Orange counties in NY.  On the way out it goes through the hills of the interior, then it returns close by the Hudson river.

  • options + distances: 100 miles more or less . . .

Bear Mt from NYC the mostly interior way (except missing the Harriman lakes), return the river way -- the main route in the cue sheets: 99 miles, hilly (approx 6800 vertical feet).

X: Bear Mt and the Harriman lakes (with direct connection) the fully interior way from NYC, return the river way -- our original great adventure -- using Variation X (which we later heard might be illegal) : 101 miles, hilly (6400 vertical feet, hill index 4.2)

H: Bear Mt and the Harriman lakes (with long-way-around connection) from NYC, return the river way -- using Variation H to try to retain the full adventure without the possibly illegal section): 118 miles, hilly (7800 vertical feet)

H+R: Harriman lakes + Stony Point beaches (but not Bear Mt) from NYC -- using both Variation H and Variation R: 96 miles, hilly but less so.

Another option we often take is to ride across the Bear Mt Bridge and return south on the other side of the river, using the second half (with our favorite variations) of the GWB to Bear Mt Bridge loop for the east side. Not overall better riding than the better-known west side river return, but conceptually grander, and something different to try.

see comparing options + variations and alternate routes below.

Overall Description of Route main route Map Route Directions Cue Sheet Trip Reports and Road Condition Reports Photos more routes from the GWB

  • highlights:  It offers quite a mix:  the famous bridge crossing, several views along the Hudson river shore, and high above on the mountain. (Variations H + X also offer unpopulated hill-country riding beside pretty lakes with islands).  It goes through wealthy suburbs, also cities whose prosperity has passed;  both four-line highways and 3-foot-wide paths.  Several long fun descents.  [ Story ] 

  • mappingdigital mapping resource + GPS . . .

GPX file with all tracks + key waypoints

 . . . GPX only key tracks for main route

 . . . GPX key tracks for route with Variations H or R

 . . . GPX key tracks for route with Variations X

sections:

A) GWB to Saddle River [bhvw13a] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX

B1) SaddleR to Willow Grove [bhvw13b] track in main GPX file + main key GPX

B2) Willow Grove to Bear Mt:  track in main GPX file + main key GPX

 . . . vars H + R: tracks in main GPX file + var H key GPX

 . . . var X: track in main GPX file + var X key GPX

B3) down from Bear Mt: track in main GPX file

C) Bear Mt to Nyack [bhvr3ar] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX

D) Nyack to GWB [bhvr2b] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX 

 + (non-digital) overview map of entire route

  • characteristics:  Lots of hills, some long, some steep.  One section on a dirt path (the way to avoid this gets into a different problem). 

Traffic:  This route has a larger number of miles with moderate and high volumes of motor vehicle traffic than most routes on this website.   And there are specific road sections that have greater traffic-interaction risks and require "advanced" traffic-handling skills.  (For one section, we say that the our way to handle the traffic is to get all the way off the road onto the grass.)  See more details

see Trip Reports | Traffic Notes

And it might have been a longer time since some of the Variations of the route were last checked by us.  Some roads and intersections might be different since then, or closed -- so be prepared to find alternatives -- a good reason to carry a detailed map. Other people may have more recent experiences with parts of the route which could help prepare: see the Reports page linked below.

Route not checked by us since 2010 -- learn more | see Reports

Description | Map | GPS | Cue Sheets - A - B - C - D - vH - vX - vN | Reports | Photos | Traffic | more routes

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more . . . 

East end of George Washington Bridge:  See the GWB -- Central Park and Manhattan to Nyack routes.

West end of George Washington Bridge:

To get to the West end of the south walkway of the George Washington Bridge at Hudson Terrace / Route 505 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. 

From New Jersey by carStarting from NJ Turnpike, I-95 Northbound, or I-80 Eastbound:  Get into the Local lanes of the George Washington Bridge approach. Keep working into the Right-hand lanes. Exit on the Right at the "last exit in New Jersey" (last time we were there, it said Rt 67 / Lemoine Ave).  At the end of the exit ramp, continue straight (becomes Bridge Plaza South) -- avoid left turn onto Lemoine Ave.  Then continue straight East to Route 505 / Hudson Terrace, and find parking  -- some possibilities to consider are on Hudson Terrace (north under the GWB roadway) or in Fort Lee Historical Park (south of GWB).

From New Jersey by bike:  See these pages for some ideas:

Warning:  Getting there riding on a bicycle may require more capability in handling vehicle traffic interaction than the route itself, with more risks and dangers than the route itself.

From Manhattan by bike:  Check the New York City Bike Map at some of these websites -- can also purchase a nice paper copy.  See also these pages for ideas:

Warning:  Getting there riding on a bicycle may require more capability in handling vehicle traffic interaction than the route itself, with more risks and dangers than the route itself.

Bear Mountain State Park by train:  From the Metro North stations in Garrison or Cold Spring, get to Route 9D, go South, then ride West across the Bear Mountain bridge.  See the Bear Mountain to Newburgh-Beacon Loop route for detailed directions. 

Bear Mountain State Park by car:  From the New York State Thruway, take exit 16 and then Route 6 East toward the Bear Mountain bridge.  At the traffic circle just before the bridge. turn Right onto Route 9W South and reach the Park soon with obvious signs to parking.

Other starting points:  Allendale NJ, Airmont NY, Harriman State Park, Stony Point, Haverstraw, Nyack, Piermont.

  • maps:  You should have detailed road maps of Bergen county (New Jersey) and Rockland and Orange counties (New York) to do this route (see Maps). 

GPX file with all tracks + key waypoints

 . . . GPX only key tracks for main route

 . . . GPX key tracks for route with Variations H or R

 . . . GPX key tracks for route with Variations X

sections:

A) GWB to Saddle River [bhvw13a] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX

B1) SaddleR to Willow Grove [bhvw13b] track in main GPX file + main key GPX

B2) Willow Grove to Bear Mt:  track in main GPX file + main key GPX

 . . . vars H + R: tracks in main GPX file + var H key GPX

 . . . var X: track in main GPX file + var X key GPX

B3) down from Bear Mt: track in main GPX file

C) Bear Mt to Nyack [bhvr3ar] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX

D) Nyack to GWB [bhvr2b] map on Bikely | Google Earth KML | GPX 

 + (non-digital) overview map of entire route

comparing options + variations

Two especially pretty bicycling roads within 50 miles of New York City are Seven Lakes Drive thru the lakes of Harriman Park and Perkins Memorial Drive to the summit of Bear Mountain. So it's an obvious goal to want to visit both in one ride, and they're only 5-10 miles apart on the same road: Seven Lake Drive.

But there are problems connecting, so the main route does not attempt to visit both the lakes and Bear Mt. It skips most of Seven Lakes Dr.

Problem is that the Palisades Parkway intersects Seven Lakes Dr, and it might be illegal to ride (or walk) across the parkway. Anyway handling the traffic to do it can be tricky, perhaps dangerous -- most bicyclists should not attempt it.

The most reasonable alternate connection (in Variation H) adds around 15 miles distance but also around 1400 vertical feet of climbing -- and much of that extra distance is then repeated on the return route to New York City.
So Variation H is flawed.

Variation X fixes the flaws, visits both the lakes and the mountain -- but has the illegality problem.
So the main route gives up on trying to visit both, chooses for only Bear Mt.

Another approach is to select the other goal: visit only the lakes of Harriman Park (and skip Bear Mt) -- that's the combination of Variation H with Variation R.

A simpler approach to riding from NYC up to Bear Mt is to ride the first half of the George Washington to Bear Mt Bridge loop, then return with the second half of this route -- much of which is simply the GWB to Bear Mt Bridge first half in reverse.

So the big advantage of this route is that it cuts out much of the repetition in riding from NYC to Bear Mt and back -- though it adds miles and complexity.

yet more . . .

For route directions for going in the opposite direction alongside the River up the West side (south-to-north), see the first half of the GWB to Bear Mt Bridge Loop.

For shorter riding around Harriman Park, see Lakes of Harriman Park by Stony Point.

To connect with Metro North trains at stations on the East side of the Hudson river, see Bear Mt to Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and Train Stations with Bicycle Routes.  

To explore further North, see the Bear Mt to Newburgh-Beacon Bridge Loop.

see More adventures from the George Washington Bridge.

 


concept words:  

places: Hudson river valley, New York state, NY

Orange county Bergen Rockland counties New Jersey NJ
towns:  Fort Lee Englewood Cliffs Westwood Allendale Hillsdale Saddle River Airmont Monsey Pomona Tomkins Cove Stony Point Haverstraw Congers Nyack Piermont -- west east north south -- city town village hamlet
sites:  Harriman State Park Bear Mountain Mt Seven Lakes Lake Tiorati Palisades George Washington Bridge GWB Manhattan

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


Overall Description of Route main route Map Route Directions Cue Sheet Trip Reports and Road Condition Reports Photos more routes from the GWB

Description | Map | GPS | Cue Sheets - A - B - C - D - vH - vX - vN | Reports | Photos | Traffic | more routes

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