New Hiking and Biking Trails to Discover This Summer In the Valley
Plus, a sneak preview of more exciting paths.
With the summer sun shining through the Valley once again, even the most stubborn homebodies will be tempted to break out the boots or bicycles and hit the local trails. You’ll be even more inclined when you see the latest additions to our plethora of outdoor adventure opportunities.
Mohonk Mountain House, a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking everything from beginner walks to intense scrambles, has introduced a brand new “hiking menu” to explore. Guests of the hotel — and day-trippers who have a meal or spa treatment on their agenda — can choose from a “menu” of excursions tailored for specific goals. Among them is the Survivalist Hike, where guests join up with trained naturalist Michael Ridolfo and learn to venture the woods with a more primal attitude, subsisting “off the land,” learning to tell edible plants from the poisonous ones, and how to classify and understand animal tracks. And for those more curious about the edible foliage of the wilderness, the new Foods of the Forest Hike, another expedition led by Ridolfo, is entirely dedicated to this realm. Unique new spiritual attractions, on the other hand, will include Yoga and Mindfulness Hikes. Hikers who want a challenge can choose the Endurance Hike; for a more leisurely romp, there’s a Family Hike as well. Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz; 855.883.3798; www.mohonk.com
Rail Explorers USA, an outdoor entertainment company that debuted in the Adirondacks, will make its way to the Catskill Mountains this month. Guests will pedal a small, go-cart-like mechanism that attaches to (and travels along) out-of-commission railroad tracks, with guides who follow at a distance, allowing participants their privacy. The aptly named Explorers will run six miles through the mountains, along the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia. Explorers come in two-seaters (at $75 per rental) or four-seaters ($125). Rail Explorers USA, Phoenicia; 877.833.8588; www.railexplorers.net
Related: Top 30 Hiking and Biking Adventures
For an adventure farther north, eight miles of the Albany County Rail Trail, which is planned to span nine miles along the abandoned Canadian Pacific Railway, is now open for pedestrian use. And since more than half the trail is paved — the rest will be paved later this year — it is open to heels and wheels alike. The trail also offers occasional glimpses of the adjacent creek. This quiet forest path provides access to Veterans Memorial Park in Delmar and Fireman’s Park in Slingerlands, and has end points on S. Pearl Street, Albany, and Grove Street and Voorheesville Avenue in Voorheesville. 518.447.7000; www.albanycounty.com
Harriman State Park in Rockland and Orange Counties, with 200 miles of trails and access to 31 lakes, is scheduled to see new accommodations for hikers and bikers later this month. The Tuxedo Hudson Company is opening 7 Lakes Inn (above), in Sloatsburg, just steps away from the train station, making it a convenient stop for cyclists coming up from the city or anyone interested in spending a night or weekend near our second-largest State park. The hotel will open 18 of its rooms later this summer, complete with other nearby offerings open to the public, including a restaurant, grill, bike shop, coffee shop/café, market, and art gallery. Harriman State Park; 845.947.2444; www.parks.ny.gov/parks/145; 7 Lakes Inn, Ramapo; www.7lakesinn.com
The Road Ahead
The town of New Paltz started construction late last year on its own six-mile River-to-Ridge Trail. This trail, expected to be completed by the end of this year, will enable pedalers and walkers to bypass Route 299, over the Wallkill River and through the stretches of farmland and hills that eventually connect with the trails of Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve. www.osiny.org
In November, development on the Hudson River SkyWalk, a scenic passage linking the homes of two historic Hudson Valley painters, is set to continue. The path would stretch from the Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, home of artist Frederick Church, across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to the home of artist Thomas Cole at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in the village of Catskill. The project will also see an improved walkway on the bridge. www.greatnortherncatskills.com
Another project under way this fall is the construction of an 11.5-mile trail through Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County. This trail will be more wheelchair-friendly than many of the more winding trails in the region, as it will be flat and straight. Expected to be completed in fall 2018, the trail will be open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day, no permits or fees required.
An Old Favorite
In addition to all these new and upcoming attractions, Bicycle Sundays (above) is back for the 43rd year in Westchester. More than 60,000 people annually bike, walk, and jog a closed 13.1-mile loop of the Bronx River Parkway from White Plains to Yonkers. Bicycle Sunday, which runs from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., will be held on June 4, 11, 18, 25; and Sept. 10, 17, 24. www.parks.westchestergov.com