The Hudson Valley of New York is not your typical broad river valley with gently rolling terrain. The Hudson Valley is an "inverted valley" to be sure, therefore be forewarned, there are some hills from hell in this region. In Rockland county, just north of New York City, there are quite a few hills from hell, most especially as one rides west away from the river up into the Hudson Highlands. Harriman State Park encompasses the western half of this relatively small county. Harriman State Park, while not nearly as high in elevation as Minnewaska State Preserve Park, elevations in Hariman State Park still manage to exceed 1,000 feet. The commercial traffic free Seven Lakes Drive, the main road through the park, is quite nice for cycling in the fall.
To the north, here in the Poughkeepsie area, there are some "pro class" hills in Ulster county, on the west bank side of the river, 15% or more grades are not un-common. Don't let those hills dissuade you from cycling here in the Hudson Valley. With a comfortable touring bicycle, equipped with triple gearing ridden at a leisurely pace, with numerous stops at one of many panoramic viewpoints, or a stop at one of the many points of interest, cycling here can be quite enjoyable.
There are actually several valleys within the Hudson River system in this part of the Hudson Valley. On the west side of the Hudson, is the Wallkill River valley flanked on the west by the spectacular 2,000+ foot high Shawangunk Ridge (the 'Gunks' as the locals call this ridge) and to the east, the Hudson Highlands. The Wallkill Valley provides gently rolling to level terrain,with an occasional grade of 10% or less. The un-paved Wallkill Rail-Trail provides 13 miles of level riding between Gardiner at the southern end, to Rosendale at the northern end.
The far north-western part of Ulster county is actually in the Catskill State Park. This part of New York's Catskill mountains has some of the highest peaks in this region. These are not the “Jewish hills” of Sulivan county, these are more like the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia with several mountain top elevations up to 4,000 feet. The highest, Slide Mountain at 4,180 feet in elevation, is in Ulster County.
To the east, here in Dutchess county, is the Harlem Valley. A region unto it self, flanked on the west by the Taconic Mountains and to the
east, the lower Berkshire “hills”.The Harlem Valley borders nearby Connecticut to the east, and the villages within this sub-region
would make for a good start location for rides into (upper) Fairfield and Litchfield counties of Connecticut. Litchfield county, as Ulster county NY,
has some pro class hills as well. Of particular note for cycling in the Harlem Valley, is the
Harlem Valley Rail-Trail This rail trail is paved, and the 11 mile section open in Dutchess county, goes from Wasaaic
(the northern most terminus on the MTA MNCRR Harlem line) to Millerton.
Atlantic Coast Route enters New York here, and then south on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail for 8 miles to village of Amenia.
The route then follows a county road past a winery.The route goes through the hamlet of Salt Point and along another county road to the town
and village of Hyde Park.The route then goes south along NY BR9 (US route 9) to here in Poughkeepsie.
small tour group from New Zealand at the WOTH east end
The route then crosses the Hudson River via the Walkway Over the Hudson, a state, park. After crossing the Hudson river into Ulster county, the route continues onto the Hudson Valley Rail Trail for 3.6 miles and onto a county road to New Paltz.After New Paltz,the route then follows a roughly south westerly direction through Ulster county and into the farmlands of NW Orange county to the small city of Port Jervis NY in the spectacular upper Delaware River region.
see ROUTES for more
Mid to late October in the Hudson Valley NY is the time of the year for cycling in this area. In addition to "leaf peeping", the south-east part of Ulster County produces half of the apples, and other fruit, in New York, and NY is the no. 2 Apple state . When cycling this area during the fall, one should include a visit to one of several pick-your-own orchards as the destination for your ride. The “leaf peeping” can be done along the way to the orchard.
To get here in an environmentally friendly,non-use of a personal motor vehicle way for a day ride, or the start of a longer tour, one should use mass transit. MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) , Metro North RR, with a $5.00 bike permit, allows bicycles on-board the trains. Ulster County Area Transit - UCAT has the Ulster - Poughkeepsie LINK bus for service to – from the transportation center at the Poughkeepsie RR station. Most, if not all, of the UCAT buses have bicycle racks. The LINK bus north-west terminus is the route 32 park-n-ride in the charming village of Rosendale.
the park-n-ride in Rosendale - bathrooms and open on Sundays