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Sharon and I rode from Albany south to the GWB on a Sunday in June. It was a good adventure for us and an interesting and pretty route. Total distance about 164 miles. (to make our day shorter, we did not follow this website's NYC to Albany route for some sections)

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what's here

our story for the day

overall route

details on each section -- route, report, hills, alternate roads

see also

our story for the day

Sharon and I rode from Albany south to the GWB on a cool and cloudy Sunday in June. It was misty and rainy for the first three hours or so, but we had a bit of a tailwind, so overall it was a good day to for us to choose.  It was a good adventure for us and an interesting and pretty route.

When we explored the different River routes on this website, Sharon and I never imagined we could ride this in a single day. Each weekend on our long ride, we just kept riding farther than before, and then it struck us that we were ready for this one.

The total distance of our route was about 165 miles with 8800 vertical feet of climbing.  To make our day shorter, we did not follow this website's NYC to Albany route for some sections, but we still were able to ride lots of pretty roads -- with very few miles on major roads from Rensselaer down to Newburgh.

For most of the ride, we focused on not going too hard -- and drinking and eating frequently. Later we worried about the pains.


The next day Sharon said the parts she liked best was southern Rensselaer county and Columbia county, the farms on quiet roads, especially the bison up close with babies and the horses up close with babies -- and bagel with cream cheese at our first food stop in Kinderhook. She also like doing something new, in this case Lattintown Rd. And the feeling of engagement with continuous active movement.

I also felt I had my best memories from southern Rensselaer and Columbia county -- and the Storm King Mountain highway -- but there was plenty of interesting variety through the entire route.

what could have stopped us

After the first half, my butt was getting sore from being on the saddle too long, so I was giving attention to getting to all or partly off the seat, or at least on it differently. I was a little afraid the pain might get so bad that I'd have to stop, or somehow finish the ride standing the whole way -- but that didn't happen. Sharon said that sitting was often painful for her after the Bear Mt Bridge.

About three-quarters of the way through I got a pain in my upper front right knee near the top of a long steep hill climb. It recurred a few times later. Fortunately it  didn't get any worse, and the next day it felt fine.

what got us through

  • lessons learned from our 138-mile ride on Sunday the week before

  • endurance from a progression of long rides, each weekend farther than before

  • waiting for a day with favorable weather (not too hot and not too wet) and wind (some tailwind for much of the day).

  • being careful to go easy up any hill more than short and gentle, choosing a gear lower than what we thought we could use on a shorter ride.

Overall Route

The total distance of our route was about 165 miles (including crossing the Albany and Manhattan bridges, but not including any riding in the two endpoint cities). The total climbing south-bound is around 8800 vertical feet (the tougher climbs are described below).

Although we did not follow this website's NYC to Albany route for some sections (to make our day shorter), we still were able to ride lots of pretty roads -- with very few miles on major roads from Rensselaer down to Newburgh.

We went on the east side of the river from Rensselaer down to Poughkeepsie, and then on the west side for the rest of the way down to the George Washington Bridge.

towns + sites along the way

Some the cities and villages and sites we visited along the way were:

  • Empire State Plaza in Albany + bridge over Hudson River into

  • Rensselaer city + south to big bison farm

  • Kinderhook village + Hudson city

  • our favorite farms + barns of Columbia county

  • Rhinebeck + Red Hook villages in northern Dutchess

  • Poughkeepsie + Mid-Hudson Bridge + apple orchards

  • Newburgh river view streets

  • Storm King Mountain highway

  • West Point USMA Army academy gates

  • Bear Mountain state park alongside Hessian Lake

  • Stony Point beach + Haverstraw

  • Nyack + the river view road to Piermont

  • Englewood Cliffs (NJ) + Fort Lee + George Washington Bridge

The counties we passed through along the way were:

  • Rensselaer county, NY

  • Columbia county

  • Dutchess county

  • Ulster county

  • Orange county

  • Rockland county, NY

  • Bergen county, NJ


In the south-bound direction, the total climbing is around 8800 vertical feet.

  • steepest climbing section was over 10% on Hayes Rd east-bound up from Rt 9J (between Rensselaer and Kinderhook) -- about 140 vertical feet at a grade over 10%

  • longest climb was about 550 vertical feet on Rt 218 starting along the Hudson River south of Storm King Mountain, climbing southwest past the northern gates of West Point USMA Army academy up to the intersection with Rts 293 + 9W, with like half at a steepness grade of around 7%

  • another memorable one was Rt 9W just south from Rockland Lake, includes about 250 vertical ft at a steepness grade around 7% or more -- with lots of high-speed vehicles whose drivers were hoping we'd confine all our climbing struggles to the shoulder of the road.

Avoiding major roads

We planned our route to avoid lots of high-traffic major roads. Except for the southern third, we were able to keep the distance on major roads below 15%.  Even for the total route, the major roads were less than 30%.

Here's the distances on major road segments in each county:

  • Rensselaer county:  2.0 miles on Rt 9J out of 18 miles riding
  • Columbia county:  7.4 miles on Rt 9 out of 36 miles riding
  • Dutchess county:  2.7 miles on Rts 9 + 9G out of 35 miles riding
  • Ulster county:  1.0 mile on Rt 9W out of 12 miles riding
  • Orange county north of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge:  0.7 mile on Rt 9W out of 5 miles of riding

Total from Rensselaer south to Newburgh-Beacon bridge:
14 miles on major "9" roads -- 13% out of 106 miles of riding.

South of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge there's lots of miles major roads: 30 miles on Rt 9W out of 57 miles of riding

could easily have avoided 1 mile on Rt 9W near Highland Falls NY, by taking Old State Road.

Total from Rensselaer to GWB is about 44 miles on major "9" roads -- 27% out of 163 miles of riding.

Alternate routes + distances + comparing

The straight-line distance on a map from Albany to the GWB of New York City is about 124-125 miles.

A "simple" route on major roads could perhaps be:

  • from Albany, take north sidewalk of Dunn Memorial Bridge into Rensselaer
  • Rt 9 South from Rensselaer, soon turn Right onto
  • Rt 9J South to its end
  • Rt 9 South to near Poughkeepsie
  • some local streets thru Poughkeepsie to the Mid-Hudson Bridge
  • cross Mid-Hudson Bridge to Rt 9W
  • Rt 9W South thru Newburgh
  • Rt 218 South thru Cornwall-on-Hudson to its junction with Rt 293 + 9W
  • Rt 9W South into Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
  • Left on Palisades Avenue going east
  • Right on Hudson Terrace / Bergen County Rt 505 South
  • Left onto the south sidewalk of the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan

The total distance of the route is about 145 miles, and the total climbing south-bound is about 8400 vertical feet (an average of 58 vertical feet per mile).

This website's NYC to Albany route is about 185 miles.


Our single-day route in June 2006 was about 164 miles with 8800 vertical feet of climbing (for an average of 54 vertical feet per mile).

  • "simple" route:  Compared with the "simple" route, our single-day route had less than 30% of the major roads (44 versus 140 miles), yet it was only 13% longer with only 5% more climbing.

  • this website's NYC to Albany route:  Our route is 21 miles shorter and also less climbing, but has very little more distance on major roads.

Details by Section

Albany city

Since a key motive for starting our ride in the city of Albany is that it's the capital of the state of New York, we thought we'd make a loop around through some of the state office buildings. Our route was roughly . . .

  • west up State St

  • bear R on Washington Av (going west)

  • L  Lark Av

  • L  State St, then

  • ride around Empire State Plaza (off the right side of State St in the midst of a downhill), then back onto State St and

  • east down State St to its end,

  • R  Broadway, L to to under the expressway,

  • Right onto the sidewalk of the Dunn Memorial Bridge

  • across the Hudson River to the city of Rensselaer.

Report:  Since we started riding about an hour before sunrise, there wasn't any light in the sky. We discovered that the state buildings and Empire State Plaza were not lighted very much, so we didn't get to see much of what makes Albany the state capital. Much better to see it during the day.

Rensselaer to Hudson

We followed -- in reverse direction -- the first half of this website's Rip Van Winkle to Albany loop route.

Report:  More miles of Broadway and the streets south in Rensselaer had streetlights than we might have expected. The climb up Hays Rd east-bound looked really steep, so we got off our bike and walked up. But it was worth it for the pretty farms and interesting riding on mostly quiet roads through Rensselaer county. The bison farm had much expanded its number of bison, and we saw more horses than before at other farms. Bagel Tyme in Kinderhook was open at 6:00am.


  • Hays Rd east-bound to Phillips Rd was about 200 vertical ft total, including perhaps 140 vertical ft at a steepness grade over 10% (very steep)

We just got off our bike and walked up the steep section -- seems like most people who could do this whole route could also walk their bike up this steep section in less than 10 minutes.

Alternatives to the Hays Rd climb:

  • Muitzekill Rd -- We've never tried all this, but ... could possibly continue south on Rt 9J about 5 more miles, Left on Rensselaer county Rt 4 (or is Rt 1?) or Van Hoesen Rd, then quick Right to go southwest on Rensselaer county Rt 1 / Muitzekill Rd -- which starts with a climb which includes about 100 vertical ft at a steepness grade near 9% (which is rather steep) --  later cross Rensselaer county Rt 2, and enter Columbia county, where the road becomes Columbia county Rt 21 and goes into the village of Kinderhook.

But to me the miles on Rt 9J are not very interesting -- although on the map it goes near the River, in the memory of my experience I didn't get to see much of the River, and wasn't very impressive when I did. Instead the roads we took south from Hays Rd were much more interesting and pretty -- well worth walking up that admittedly very steep hill.

  • Castleton and Rt 150 -- We've never tried all this, but ... could possibly continue on Rt 9J South another 3.7 miles to Castleton-on-Hudson, then Left on Rt 150 (or similar). This reaches same pretty farms and orchards as the Hays Rd climb. But it still includes a climb with a significant section at 9% steepness grade or more. Seems to me that it's got to save time just to walk up the Hays Rd hill rather than ride those extra miles on Rt 9J.

  • Rt 9 South to Phillips Rd -- this keeps all the pretty farms and orchards and avoids any "very steep" climbs. But we've never tried all of it, and I'm not sure what the shoulder quality and lane width is on this section of Rt 9 South, and there's usually a lot more vehicle traffic on Rt 9 than on Rt 9J, and Rt 9 South from Rensselaer includes some substantial climbing in the range of 6-7% steepness grade.

  • for less steep climbing than on just going up Rt 9, but more navigational complexity, and unknown vehicle-interaction difficulty and risk -- We've never tried all of it, but could possibly consider going east in Rensselaer up 3rd Av / Rt 43, then R on High St / Red Mill Rd, R on Rt 151 east, soon R on Sherwood Av, to its end, L on Rt 9 South (likely includes 50 vertical ft of climing at steepness grade of 6-7%), R on Phillips Rd.

Hudson to Rhinebeck

We followed roughly this route:

  • southeast on Warren St which extends into

  • Rt 9 South, then cross Rt 23 onto

  • Columbia county Rt 31 south, then after passing by Wire Rd ...

  • L  Sparrow Bush (east)

  • straight cross Rt 9 onto Maple Av to its end

  • R  Columbia county Rt 19 south

  • bear R to join Rt 2 into Elizaville

  • L  R 19 south, which becomes Dutchess county Rt 55 and Spring Lake Rd

  • R  Dutchess county Rt 56 west

  • R  Old Post Rd (going north)

  • L  Pitcher Lane extension

  • straight cross Rt 9 onto Pitcher Lane going west to its end.

  • L  Dutchess county Rt 79 - Budd Corners Rd, becomes Linden Av to its end in the village of Red Hook, NY.

Then we joined the finish of this website's Rhinebeck - Bard - Red Hook route.

Report:  The section of Rt 9 south from Hudson was pretty, overlooking a valley to its west. Then lots more pretty orchards and farms. Sparrow Bush Rd had some rough-pavement sections, but we thought it was worth it. The food store at Elizaville seemed to have closed its business. Just after DC Rt 56, Old Post Rd and Pitcher Lane had some coarse-stone pavement sections -- next time might consider Rockefeller Lane instead. Old Post Rd (north of Rhinebeck from Hook Rd to Mt Rutsen Rd) had a notably coarse-stone surface -- I'd love to have a good alternative, but I'm not sure what it would be.

Rhinebeck to Poughkeepsie

We followed roughly this route:

  • east on East Market St (Rt 308) for about four blocks

  • R  Parsonage St to its end

  • half L  onto Closs Dr (full L is Mill St) to its end

  • L  Rt 9 South about 0.2 mile

  • L  Ackert Hook Rd to its end (starts east, then south, then southeast) -- along the way turn R to pass by Burger Rd, then bear R to pass by Vlei Rd, and bear L to pass by Ackert Hook Extension.

  • R  Rt 9G South

  • L  Creek Rd to its end

  • L  Hollow Rd / Dutchess county Rt 14 east (starts up hill)

  • R  Quaker Lane / Dutchess county Rt 16 south, then at traffic light

  • R  Netherwood Rd / Dutchess county Rt 41 west

  • L  Cream St / Dutchess county Rt 39 south

  • R  Haviland Rd to its end at traffic light

  • L  Rt 9G south

  • L  Creek Rd south

Then we followed -- in reverse -- the early section of this website's Mid-Hudson to Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge loop route.

Report:  Ackert Hook Rd was mostly nice, but south of Primrose Hill the pavement became coarse-stone. Both of the Creek Roads were nice. Haviland Rd had some coarse-stone surface, but it was good enough  in the west-bound (mostly downhill) direction.

Alternate roads:

  • Next time might consider using Vlei Rd and Rt 9G to avoid coarse-stone pavement and extra hill-climb on the southern part of Ackert Hook Rd.

  • North-bound? I'd consider following the Mid-Hudson to Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge loop route from the Mid-Hudson Bridge to Hollow Rd. It's hillier, but nicer views, and thost hills work better going North-bound.

Going south-bound, the hill up Cream St / DC Rt 39 just south of Haviland Rd is about 100 vertical ft total, including 50 vertical feet at over 9% steepness grade.

Poughkeepsie to Newburgh

We followed roughly this route:

  • after crossing the Hudson River, from the bicycle route access to Mid-Hudson Bridge sidewalk goes west up hill on Haviland Rd, then at traffic light

  • L  Rt 9W South

  • R  Chapel Hill Rd

  • L  Perkinsville Rd

  • bear R  Gabriety Rd (where Perkinsville turns left) to its end

  • R  Mahoney Rd

  • bear L  Peach Rd (where Mahoney turns right) to its end

  • R  Milton Turnpike / Ulster county Rt 10 west

  • L  Mulberry Lane to its end

  • L  Lattintown Rd / Ulster county Rt 11 South -- then just after road curves sharp left R  to continue on Lattintown Rd (where Old Indian Rd goes straight up hill)

  • after crossing Plattekill Rd / Ulster county Rt 14 and entering Orange county, reach an intersection with Holmes Rd (near Taylors Way)

  • bear Left to stay on Lattintown and pass by Holmes Rd, then immediate

  • R  Carter Rd, some climbs, then down a steep-ish hill to its end

  • R  Rt 9W South (mostly downhill here) -- at next traffic light

  • L  Balmville Rd, then after passing by Old Post Rd (which goes steep uphill to left), then (? perhaps at a stop sign ?)

  • L  Commonwealth Av, immediately pass by River Rd, down hill

  • bear R  onto Grand Av (where Commonwealth continues straight town hill), to go

  • underneath the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge highway (near the bicycle access to the bridge's sidewalk)

Report:  Overall we found these roads a nice alternative to Rt 9W. Lattintown Rd was nice riding with pretty houses and orchards. It had somewhat-coarse-stone pavement most of the way through Ulster county, then smoother surface in Orange county -- but definitely worth riding.


  • West from the Mid-Hudson Bridge sidewalk up Rt 9W is about 200 vertical ft at an average steepness grade over 4%, including some sections with steepness grade over 8%.

  • Lattintown Rd just south from Plattekill Rd / Ulster county Rt 14 has 80-90 vertical feet at a steepness grade around 7%

Alternate roads:

  • Going thru Milton as in the Newburgh-Beacon / Mid-Hudson Bridge loop route is also nice, but adds some steep climbing.

  • There are some pretty views by taking Old Indian east to Ridge Rd south, but the climb up Old Indian is rather steep -- and partly wasted since Ridge Rd is down the hill on the other side.

  • We could have avoided some hills on Carter Rd by staying on Lattintown all the way to its end, but that would have led to more riding on Rt 9W South where it is climbing uphill -- which we did not enjoy when we tried it a few weeks before.

  • Could have avoided the section on Rt 9W between Carter Rd and Balmville Rd by turning east on Leslie Rd (before the end of Carter) then cross Rt 9W onto Old Post Rd. But we were OK with that section on Rt 9W, since it had a decent shoulder and was mostly downhill. And we had tried Old Post Rd south-bound a few weeks before, and it mostly OK, but then ended in a steep curvy downhill into a stop sign.

  • North-bound?  I'm not sure I'd want to climb up Carter Rd going north-bound from its south end. Might consider more of Rt 9W North, then L on Lattintown, where the climb is shorter but likely at least as steep. Or I might consider trying reversing some of the Newburgh-Beacon / Mid-Hudson Bridge loop from Newburgh-Beacon Bridge north to Marlboro -- some nice views of houses above the river going north-bound, but also some steep hill-climbs.

North-bound climbs: Carter Rd might have a climb of 175 vertical ft at a steepness grade around 7.5% -- Leslie Rd start is similar -- Lattintown Rd southeast end initially climbs up from Rt 9W for about 125 vertical ft with much of that at steepness grade around 8%. Later north in Orange county, Lattintown Rd has a 100 ft climb with major sections in the 6-7% range.

Newburgh to Bear Mountain Bridge

We followed roughly this route:

  • south from underneath Newburgh-Beacon Bridge on Grand Av to the obvious major interection, then down along the Hudson by turning

  • L  on Leroy Place, becomes Water St, becomes River Rd, finishes with steep climb, then after bridge over Rt 9W, bear Left down access ramp and get onto

  • Rt 9W South, down hill, then up hill, then we took the exit ramp Right for

  • Rt 218 South into Cornwall-on-Hudson, then continue on 218 into a steep-ish climb to a great viewpoint on perched on the side of Storm King Mountain over the Hudson river, then south with some ups and downs with more views of the River, leading into a long climb past some gates for the West Point U.S. Military Academy, to the interestion of Rt 218 with Rt 293 and Rt 9W, where we took the entrance ramp to get on

  • Rt 9W South to the Bear Mountain Bridge

Report:  Beautiful views, but some hard work to get to them. That section of Rt 9W South from River Rd to Rt 218 had a lot of rough pavement both in the shoulder and in the right-hand traffic lane [but later that 9W shoulder looked smoothly newly paved in January 2007]. But it was ridable, and then Rt 218 thru Cornwall-on-Hudson was pleasant. The river views seemed fine even on a cloudy day, but the second climb on Rt 218 south-bound up to the Rt 293 / Rt 9W intersection felt pretty tough (I can see why we usually prefer to ride this section of Rt 218 north-bound).


  • Rt 218 east from Cornwall-on-Hudson up to the big Storm King Mountain viewpoint includes about 225 vertical ft at around 7% or more -- but to us it seemed pretty evenly graded.

  • further south on Rt 218, going up past the West Point USMA gates to the Rts 293 + 9W intersection: 550 vertical ft total, with a gentler section in the middle. Lower part of the climb includes about 300 vertical ft at around 7%.

Alternate roads:

  • I think it's less hilly to ride on the east side of River for this section. And we like the crossings of River on both the Newburgh-Beacon and Bear Mountain Bridges (like see the first half of the Bear Mt / Newburgh-Beacon Bridge loop route).  On the other hand the views on the east side are not as big, and Rt 9D gets more vehicle traffic than the Storm King Mountain highway.

  • near Cornwall-on-Hudson, when we're going north-bound we usually prefer to take Dock Hill Rd and Shore Rd (like the second half of the Bear Mt / Newburgh-Beacon Bridge loop route). But south-bound the climb up Dock Hill Rd is pretty steep:  could have a section of like 80 vertical ft at 10% steepness grade, and total climbing of 150 vertical ft at average grade around 7%.

Bear Mountain Bridge to Nyack

We followed roughly parts C and D of the NYC to Bear Mountain Adventure route, except we stayed on Rt 9W for the big climb over the shoulder of Dunderberg Mt (just south of the Bear Mt Bridge), instead of the unpaved "Jones Point" Dunderberg bypass trail. (It had been been raining for several days, so we guessed that trail would be muddy and difficult).

Report:  Going down by the River by Beach Rd seemed nice as ever -- glad we got off Rt 9W through there. Just after climbing up Short Clove Rd and rejoining Rt 9W, the next intersection just south seemed pretty tricky for us to manage the traffic pattern. The climb up Rt 9W south-bound from Rockland Lake toward Nyack seemed notable tough for us -- near the top I felt a funny pain in my right knee which concerned me (but next day it was OK).


  • Rt 9W just south from the Bear Mountain Bridge climbing over the shoulder of Dunderberg mountain includes about 300 vertical ft at a steepness grade around 5% or more.

  • Rt 9W just south from Rockland Lake includes about 250 vertical ft at a steepness grade around 7% or more.

Nyack to GWB

We ride this section a lot. This time we noticed how slow we were up the hills. But then we felt very fast on the gentle rollers for the last eight miles. The usual nice views of Manhattan and down the Hudson river from out on the south sidewalk of the GWB.


  • the entrance ramp up to Rt 9W South from Sparkill is about 90 vertical ft at a steepness ground around of nearly 10%.

  • the hill just north of the New Jersey / New York state line includes about 175 vertical ft at steepness grade around 7%.

see also

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