Hudson River Ramble: Manhattan to Bear Mountain
Need a weekend away? Cruise your way out of the hustle and bustle of New York City to some of its nearest green spaces: Bear Mountain State Park, Croton Point Park, and Harriman State Park. Starting in NYC’s iconic Battery Park, enjoy all Manhattan has to offer while watching it slowly fade to green as you pedal car-free on the city’s longest pedestrian trail system. Follow two trails — the Hudson River Greenway and the North and South County Trailway — to Croton Point Park on the banks of the Hudson. Cross the river on the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge and enter Bear Mountain State Park, where a winding ride up to Perkins Memorial Tower will offer up some of the best views of the Hudson River valley.
After a rejuvenating two days in two of New York’s prized state parks, make your way back to the city (on the Jersey side, this time!) to cap off a perfect weekend full of urban monuments, bike-friendly trails, and peaceful New York state parks.
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Day 1. Battery Park to Croton Point Park, New York, 45 miles
After a brief orientation, we’ll exit Battery Park and its many monuments to begin our first few miles on the Hudson River Greenway, heading north out of the bustle of the city’s busiest districts. On your way out of town, you’ll pedal past the Korean War Memorial, the Institute of Culinary Education, the 9/11 Memorial and World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, the Irish Hunger Memorial, Rockefeller Park, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and many more. We’ll pass the George Washington Bridge and continue north on the County Trailway system up to Croton State Park for our first night’s stay.
Day 2. Croton Point Park to Harriman State Park, 32 miles
For our second day of riding, we’ll explore nearby Bear Mountain State Park, which lies just across the river. We’ll head north to visit scenic Croton Gorge Park. Walk across the New Croton Dam to get an aerial view of the Croton Gorge Waterfalls below. On our way to Harriman State Park, we’ll cross the Purple Heart Memorial suspension bridge and enter Bear Mountain State Park, where you can wind your way up to Perkins Memorial Tower, which sits at the summit of Bear Mountain and offers beautiful views of the Hudson River valley below. There are lots of trail systems within Bear Mountain, so the choice is yours: ride or hike! You can even get in a short section of the Appalachian Trail, which passes directly through Bear Mountain. Tonight we’ll stay at Harriman’s Beaver Pond Campground, on the shores of Welch Lake.
Day 3. Seven Lakes Loop, 38 miles (optional)
There’s so much green space to explore north of the city, and we’ll use Harriman State Park as home base! Today you have the option of taking on a 38-mile loop through more of Harriman, as well as Sterling Forest State Park and Blue Lake Park. Spin past a wealth of water features including (but not limited to) Little Sterling Lake, Eagle Lake, Lake Sebago, Lake Kanawauke, Lake Welch, and Lake Tiorati. We’ll spend another night at Harriman State Park before pointing our wheels south to head back toward NYC.
Day 4. Harriman State Park to Liberty State Park, 51 miles
Today we’ll return to New York City via the opposite bank of the Hudson River. After saying goodbye to Harriman State Park, we’ll ride south through quaint Jersey suburbs until we meet up with the George Washington Bridge and a brief return to the Hudson River Greenway. We’ll end the day back in Battery Park, and, if there’s time, you may consider taking a short ferry ride to explore Liberty State Park, home to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, and the Statue of Liberty National Monument.