When there's no snow, serious skiers like to train their leg muscles for future days of skiing -- by going up hills. 

One hard workout is to to try to run up a hill.  But there are other variations that can be more specific for training for cross country skiing -- like "ski walking" and "moose hoofs" and "hill bounds".  For more on these, see the Dry Land Training page on the Ideas for Cross Country Skiing website. 


There are many opportunities for trails that go up big hills in the Hudson Valley.  We're not going to try to list them here. 


Why roads?  One problem of training by walking or running up a hill is that going back down again can put a lot of impact on joints and connective tissue.  A good way to avoid that is to exercise as a group, and take turns with one member driving everybody else back down to the bottom in a car or van.  

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Dutchess county 

Silver Mountain Rd 

Sustained moderate grade, pretty views.  Not far from the Amenia-Millerton section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. 

The climb starts from Route 22 with about 0.7 miles on Dutchess County Rt 5, and then turns Right onto Silver Mountain Rd for another 1.8 miles.  

The total is about 500 vertical feet at an average grade of 4%.  Nothing steeper than 6%. 

Directions:  From Amenia, take Route 22 North about 4.5 miles, then bear Right onto Dutchess County Route 5, and that's the start of the climb.  From Millerton or Route 199:  From its intersection with Route 199, take Route 22 South about 2 miles and make a rather sharp Right onto DC Route 5, just after a farm on the right.  (If you see a turn for Rt 5 after only 1 mile on Rt 22, you can just ignore that). 

Long Hill Rd 

This is a monster on southern border of Dutchess with Putnam county -- with a famous local racer nearby.  

Whether you try it from its east end or the west end, you'll find some sustained very steep climbing:  over 600 vertical feet total, including a 300 vertical feet section at least 12% grade.   We once made a rough measurement during a training session, and calculated the main steep paved section at the east end as about 450 vertical feet at an average grade of 14%, which is fairly consistent and sustained.  The climb on the west end has more variations in steepness and more unpaved. 

There are other challenging hills in this area.  Need a detailed local map to find it. 

Ulster county 

Devil's Kitchen 

This was the climb where several of the pro bike racers in the Tour de Trump ended up walking. (Actually it was raining that day). 

The climb is on Platte Clove Rd Westbound.  The road is an extension of Ulster County Route 33, and becomes Greene County Route 16. 

At least 1100 vertical in about 2 miles, for an average grade over 10%. 

Directions from the New York State Thruway:  Take exit 20 (marked for Saugerties and Woodstock).  After the Thruway toll both, turn Left at the traffic light onto Route 212 West (which is also Route 32 North).  After crossing immediately over the Thruway, continue straight on Route 212, and go West for 2 miles through Veteran to Centerville.  Turn Right (North) onto Ulster County Route 35 (Blue Mountain Rd?).  Go at least 1.7 miles and Bear Left a couple of times until you are going West on Ulster County Route 33, which takes you to the climb. 

Directions from Palenville, NY:  From Route 32A, take Malden Ave, then Manorville Rd south to a T at Platte Clove Rd.  Turn Right and start climbing.  

New Jersey 

Sunrise Mountain 

Up on the Kittatinny ridge in northwest NJ.  After about 4 miles of rolling pavement comes the training hill, which leads to a fine view.  The final hill is a bit over 200 vertical feet, including a 100 vertical foot section at about 10% grade. 

Directions: Take Rt 206 west from Culvers Lake, then Right on Rt 636, then Left in about 100-200 yards to the Sunrise Mountain Rd.  Parking lot on left at beginning of road, also at the summit, and at least one point in between.

Fiddlers Elbow 

This classic killer is way out in western NJ between Belvidere, Washington, Philipsburg. The climbing is split into two parts. 

Roxburg Hill Rd -- 180 vertical feet at an average grade over 12%.

rest break:  0.2 miles flat on Ridge Rd

Fiddlers Elbow Rd -- about 530 vertical ft total in slightly over 0.7 miles.  Includes a 130 vertical ft section at about 20% grade.  Overall average grade is over over 12%.

Total climb:  710 vertical at an average grade over 12% (ignoring the flat section in the middle). 

Directions:  The very bottom of the hill is where Roxburg Hill Rd and Route 622 cross Route 519. (Take Route 519 about 7.9 miles north from Route 22 or 5.7 miles south from Route 46). From the Stage Inn, climb steeply southeast up Roxburg Hill Rd (about 190 vertical feet on its own). After 0.25 mile make a sharp Left onto Ridge Rd, and in 0.25 mile turn Right onto Fiddlers Elbow Rd for the main climb (500 vertical feet, grade at least 12%).  

The top of Fiddlers can also be reached by going over the top of the ridge from Washington:  From Rt 31 go west on Rt 57 for 1.3 miles.  Turn Right on Rt 623 (north toward Brass Castle) and go 1.4 miles.  Turn Left on Rt 647, Harmony - Brass Castle Rd, and go 3.6 miles.  Bear Right (a sort of half right) onto Fiddlers Elbow Rd. 

Montana Road 

In western NJ between Belvidere, Washington, Philipsburg.  On the other side of the ridge from Fiddlers Elbow, but not that outrageously steep.  Still, steep enough.  

600 vertical feet in 1.8 miles, average grade over 6%, including a 160 ft section at 11%. 

Directions: Montana Rd climbs North from "New Village", starting from Route 57 about 6.3 miles west from Route 31 or 4.5 miles east from Route 22.  

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