Storm King Highway and Orange County
A rock-solid route along one of the most dangerous roads in Orange County.
Full of steep twists and turns, Storm King Highway — a three-mile section of Route 218 near Cornwall-on-Hudson — is a cyclist’s delight.
Photos by Michael Nelson
It may be one of the most dangerous roads around, at least measured in terms of the number of motorcycles that have plunged off the side of it, but Storm King Highway can be considered the mecca of motorcyclists in the Hudson Valley. Why? Blasted out of solid rock in the 1920s, the twisty route is built into sheer cliffs high above the river, making it titillating (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) to navigate. The views are simply second to none.
For this trip, I like to start out at the Newburgh waterfront, another motorcycle hot spot. The circular route goes over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge and south on Route 9D, which offers spectacular views of Storm King Mountain before you weave your way through the cutesy towns of Beacon and Cold Spring. Then it’s back over the much-photographed Bear Mountain Bridge and up past West Point to where Storm King Highway starts on Route 218. At the highway’s higher elevation (it climbs to 420 feet), there is an uninterrupted panoramic view. Luckily, there are several overlooks where one can stop to take it all in. To me, the climb is reminiscent of a great roller-coaster ride.
Eventually the road winds its way into Cornwall-on-Hudson, where I always stop at 2 Alices Coffee Lounge for a much-needed cup of coffee and a bagel. The best part of the trip is after lunch, when I head back out to ride the Storm King Highway a few more times.
When it opened in 1924, the Bear Mountain Bridge (above) was the longest suspension bridge in the world. This route travels along Route 9D past Cold Spring's Little Stony Point Park.
Ride With Me
Check out this video of my ride along the Storm King Highway!
Storm King Highway Directions:
- Start at Newburgh Landing.
- Head north on River Rd toward the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
- Cross the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
- Turn right onto Rte 9D.
- Continue for 20 miles on Rte 9D through Beacon to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
- Cross the Bear Mountain Bridge.
- Turn right onto Rte 9W and continue north for 10 miles.
- Turn right onto Storm King Highway/Rte 218.
- Continue on Storm King Highway about seven miles as you climb and descend the mountain.
- Continue on Storm King Highway through Cornwall.
- Turn right onto River Rd to see Storm King Mountain from the Hudson River.
- Continue north on River Rd for two miles until you reach Rte 9W.
- Travel north on Rte 9W for two miles until you reach the fork.
- Turn left at the fork to continue, or turn right to head back to Newburgh Landing.
- Enjoy your ride!