Storm King Highway and Orange County Motorcycle Route and Map
Motorcycle loop #3: A rock-solid route on the Storm King Highway in Orange County; PLUS: Michael Nelson’s thrilling helmet cam video
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
Photographs 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.
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 (below), one of the mid-Valley’s few river beachfront areas
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 (along with lots of other bikers) at the Hudson Street Café — which the locals refer to as “Donna’s” — for an avocado B.L.T. The best part of the trip is after lunch, when I head back out to ride the Storm King Highway a few more times.
Ride with me
Check out this video of me riding 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!