Best Mountain Bike Trails in the Hudson Valley | Outside | Hudson Valley
Gone are the days when you had to build dirt ramps in your garden. Thanks to an ever-increasing number of collaborations between New York State and regional nonprofits, the Hudson Valley has seen tremendous investment in the creation and redesign of mountain bike trails over the past few years. last years. That means there’s probably a killer trail system near you right now, although tracking them all can get overwhelming. “We don’t have a mega mountain bike zone here with thousands of miles of trails,” said New Paltz’s Mike Newman. Bicycle depot. “We have 100 zones with 10 miles of trails.”
To help you out, we asked a handful of bike shop owners and trail builders where they like to mountain bike in the Hudson Valley when not working. (And if you still want to build sick ramps in your garden, don’t worry, we won’t tell your mom.)
Sterling State Forest | Newburgh / New Windsor
Nicknamed the “buffer zone” because it separates Stewart International Airport from the village of Maybrook, Sterling State Forest sports over 40 miles of mountain bike trails in its 6,700 acres of wetlands, fields and forests, plus trails for hiking, horseback riding and, heads up, access to deer hunting in mid-September. The massive size of the park is its biggest draw. “You could go on there forever,” says Dave Roberts of Cycle paths Location of the Wappingers. But he adds that the forest is also a great place for those new to mountain biking. “It’s great for people who want to get into the sport and want to try some very flowy trails and then maybe an intermediate trail,” he said.
Fahnestock State Park | cold spring
Beginners should also check out the new 9.5-mile Hubbard-Perkins Loop Trail in the northwest corner of Fahnestock State Park. The trail overlaps several existing trails, but has recently been upgraded and rerouted to make it more accessible to less experienced horseback riders, cross-country skiers, and mountain bikers. “I can’t necessarily ride a single track,” says nonprofit Vice President of Parks and Stewardship Peter Karis Open Space Institute, which worked with the state to redevelop the trail. “But it’s smooth and wide and safe, and it still gives you a backcountry mountain bike experience. There are beautiful places to visit that the trail did not pass before.”
Elm Ridge Trail System | Windham
A good mix of trails for cyclists of all abilities can be found on the 25+ miles of Elm Ridge, which was the favorite haunt of Mike Newman and his team at Bicycle depot even though it’s an hour from the New Paltz store. “It’s an interesting combination of things for experienced people and it’s still incredibly fun for less experienced people,” says Newman. There are lots of jumps, but you can get around them, and the descents are steep enough to pick up a good speed without feeling like you’re going thousands of miles per hour. “That ability to appeal to multiple types or abilities of riders is a big feature of the place,” says Newman.
Blue Mountain Reservation | a look
One minute you’re on your bike in downtown Peekskill and minutes later you’re gliding on rollers nine miles of trails through Blue Mountain Reservation. The total elevation gain may not look like much on a map because the “mountain” in the title is just under 600 feet. But the rocky climbs and descents can create impactful and challenging courses for those looking to push their limits. Robert of bike path describes the reserve as having a sort of “North Shore” feel, referring to the narrow, elevated, set-back style of mountain biking popularized in Vancouver (as opposed to “North Shore” in surfing, which means something very different .) If the rocks aren’t dangerous enough for you, try the “Sitting Duck” trail, which borders an active shooting range.
Jockeys Hill | kingston
Jockey Hill has been a favorite of many runners for decades; Christian Favata of Rosendale’s TRT bikes—and former professional pilot—has been coming here since he was a kid. But a 2019 collaboration between the state and OSI gave the entire system a boost with new jumps and berms and a connection to the Lake Onteora trail system. Now, says Favata, you can ride for hours without having to backtrack on the trails and almost never see another person, despite the trail’s popularity. And while the state and OSI redesigned some sections to make them more fluid, Faveta appreciates that there were some parts they deliberately left alone. “There are still parts that have that old-school feel: a twisty, winding, technical, rocky single track, which I like,” he says.
Taconic Hereford Multi-Use Area | Pleasant Valley
Trail runners and mountain bikers flock to the Taconic Hereford Multi-Use Area though, with a bite of a name like that, none of them call it that. Instead, it is called “the 909” in reference to the number of acres in the MUA. (It’s actually now 917 acres, but the moniker has stuck.) The 22-plus miles of trails have a good mix of styles, says Bikeway’s Roberts: Some flowing trails, some technical trails, and the fan-favorite Bikehead trail which offers a short and brutal climb followed by a descent of six to seven minutes. Just be sure to grab a map because the 909 packs plenty of trails, including spurs and offshoots, into a relatively small space, which means plenty of twists, turns, and room for error. “My buddy and I were lost for almost three hours and it was starting to get dark and raining,” one cyclist comments on a local mountain bike message board. “Which made it even more fun.”