Traffic Discussion -- 
Great Shawangunk Hill Loop

 

Overall

Some of the roads get a lot of motor vehicle traffic.  And especially since some of this traffic must be handled while climbing up steep hills, we think some of these road segments have greater traffic interaction risk than most of the road segments on this Bike Hudson Valley website.  (The Great Shawangunk Double route has a section in one of its directions which we think has still greater traffic interaction risk.)

We recommend that these routes be done only by riders with excellent and well-practiced bike control skills on steep climbs and steep descents, and with good skill and experience in traffic handling and strategy in those circumstances -- and with an understanding and acceptance of the special traffic interaction risks in these situations. 

 
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. . . . or see Route Directions "Cue" sheet

 
Details

Some of the roads on this route get a lot of motor vehicle traffic -- and the traffic must be handled at the same time as some significant hills

  • Rt 299 -- often has narrow shoulders or no shoulders, and its lanes are not extra wide.  But at least its hills are not really long or steep.
     
  • "Minnewaska East" hills -- which are the three hills on Rt 44 which are East from the Minnewaska State Park main entrance to the junction with Rt 299, and on down to the valley floor.  The shoulders on Rt 44 in this segment seem reasonable to us.
     
  • "Minnewaska West" hill -- which is the hill on Rt 44 which is West from the Minnewaska State Park main entrance to Rt 209 and Kerhonkson.  The shoulders on Rt 44 in this segment seem reasonable to us. 
     
  • "Mohonk East" hill -- which is Mountain Rest Rd (Ulster County Rt 6) on the East side of the Mohonk Gatehouse -- This usually does not get as much traffic as Rt 299, but it is narrower and has at least one curve with bad visibility (especially in the uphill, west-bound direction taken on the Double).  
     
  • "Mohonk West" hills -- which are the hills on Ulster County Rt 6 on the West side of the Mohonk Gatehouse -- This section is similar in width to "Mohonk East", so it also merits concern with executing bike control and traffic handling during a long, ever-steepening climb -- but at least the  visibility is better, and it usually gets a bit less traffic.

We think the Rt 299 West-bound section and the "Mohonk West" hills on this route have greater traffic interaction risk than most of the road segments on this Bike Hudson Valley website.  These sections call for very good "traffic strategy" and "traffic handling" skills and may require excellent bike control skill while on a climb.  Each of the long or steep descents requires excellent bike control skill and traffic strategy also.

We selected the overall direction of this route as clockwise, because that takes the "Mohonk East"  hill in our preferred direction.  We also that the at least one of the descents in that direction is more interesting, and that it's nice to have the climb up Minnewaska East broken into three sections with two little rests in between.

 
Great Shawangunk Double

  • "Mohonk East" hill -- which is Mountain Rest Rd (Ulster County Rt 6) on the East side of the Mohonk Gatehouse -- We think the traffic interaction risk on this is still greater when taken in the uphill direction, like at the start of the "Double", since on that climb at least one of its steeper sections comes on a low-visibility curve.

return to Main Route Description . . . . or see Route Directions "Cue" sheet

  
Hints on managing the traffic interaction risk

For the "Great Shawangunk Hill Loop", we take the clockwise direction -- so that the hill which we think usually has the greatest traffic interaction risk, "Mohonk East", is taken in the downhill direction.  We prefer to get through the climb up Rt 299 West-bound early in the day, when hopefully there is less traffic.

For the "Great Shawangunk Double" route, all the major hills must be taken in both directions.  So we prefer to start in the counter-clockwise direction -- so that the "Mohonk East" climb, which we think is the riskiest segment and direction, can be taken early in the day when hopefully there is less traffic.  The route eliminates one of the other more risky segments (the West end of Rt 299) completely, through a trick:  We descend to the low point in the Wallkill Valley by continuing down Rt 44, which has reasonable shoulders and pretty good visibility.

And there's a lot to be said for avoiding both routes on crowded weekends, notably at fall foliage time.

  
more

See further discussion of traffic patterns into and out of the village of New Paltz.

 

  
return to Main Route Description
. . . . or see Route Directions "Cue" sheet

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