20 mile advanced route
Starts at Harriman Train Station, ends at Sloatsburg Train Station.
To start this route from the city, choose the PATH station closest to you!
A- Harriman Train Station
B- Elk Pen (Direction marker)
C- Tiorati Lake Recreation Area
D- Valley Rock Mountain Market
E- Seven Lakes Staion
F- Sloatsburg Train Station
Downloadable turn-by-turn route through Bikemap.
Oftentimes when I think about upstate riding, I envision packs of fit cyclists wearing matching Lycra outfits on their fancy carbon fiber frame bikes crushing mileage on some hilly terrain. This image has been held in my mind for the many years I have been a casual city cyclist, and it created a belief in me that I would not be able to hack it upstate on my somewhat heavy steel frame. As hanging out in NYC and venturing not too far out of the city have become the only viable options for entertainment this year, I figured this was also the year that I should start crushing some upstate mileage of my own and that I can indeed hack it if I hacked the ride to be a little less "Lycra person" and a little more "casual city rider also likes crushing it". This route is just that, a nice hack for someone who wants to do a ride a reasonable amount of miles while enjoying some nature and scenic views, all while going downhill (well, maybe except for the first part). So pump up those tires and load up your metro card (and maybe download the NJ Transit Ticket app), because it's time to take your bike to Harriman State Park! This route was inspired by this post on the My Harriman blog, a great resource for all things Harriman.
This ride starts at Harriman Station off the NJ Transit Port Jervis Line. Since I was coming from Ridgewood, the best way to get to NJ Transit was to take the PATH from 14th Street and switch to the Port Jervis Line at Hoboken. I biked to the PATH station, and managed to have just enough time to swing by Tompkins Square Bagel on 2nd Avenue and E 12th Street to grab a delectable pumpernickel bagel with some of the best tofu cream cheese I have ever tasted! I don't know about anyone else, but a bagel before a long ride always seems to hit the spot, and I'd definitely recommend this bagel if you take the 14th Street PATH. Once we made it to the PATH, we loaded up our Metro cards and hauled our bikes over the turnstiles, and waited for the train to arrive. Since it was early in the morning on a weekend we had no trouble loading our bikes on the PATH and there were no issues on our 3 stops to Hoboken. Once at the Hoboken station, we lugged our bikes back over the turnstiles and ran over to the area where the NJ Transit train was waiting. We didn't allow ourselves enough time to figure out the ticket terminal, so we got on the train hoping we could buy tickets on-board, and thankfully the conductor took kindly to our plight. After stashing our bikes we attempted to figure out the NJ Transit app, but in the end, my friend was able to hand over some old NJ Transit tickets he had and the conductor took them, either in frustration or in pity at our inability to deal with technology. I recommend downloading the app and buying the tickets ahead of time since it wasn't super intuitive.
The whole train ride including the PATH is only about an hour, so settle back and enjoy the scenery while you can! Once we got off at Harriman Station, we took the time to devour our bagels and review our route map, and hit the road. On this route, I tested out the app Bikemap to be able to share downloadable turn-by-turn route directions, and it worked pretty well. However, there was a definite snafu in the route plan that I tried (that has since been adjusted) in that it routes you through some private roads to get to the park. Since looking at Google, it seems like it's a mapping error, but the route has been adjusted so that you don't end up going that way. My friend and I were almost three-quarters of the way to the park on this private road when the owners came up and wanted us to turn around, but thankfully we were able to convince them to let us through!
Once you arrive at the Tioroti Lake Recreation area, take some time to soak in the views but don't fret, there will be a lot more where those come from when you turn onto Seven Lakes Drive. Seven Lakes Drive is just that, a paved road that cuts through the park that winds around seven lakes. If you are feeling adventurous and want to add a bit more mileage to this route, you could even climb up Seven Lakes Drive before starting the coast downhill. From here, the route is pretty straight forward, just keep biking down Seven Lakes Drive and appreciate the scenery. When I was there the leaves were a little post-peak, but it was still great to see the changing leaves and the colors did not disappoint.
Before you reach the end of Seven Lakes Drive, turn off onto Academy Avenue to travel a short bit through a neighborhood to get to the area around Sloatsburg Station. I would want to avoid going on Orange Turnpike if possible, there wasn't too much of a shoulder and cars are driving quickly over here. If you pass the train station, you'll come upon some nicely situated cafes, restaurants, and a craft beer place. We stopped at this small but busy area and checked out the Mountain Market for some snacks, and grabbed a beer to go at Seven Lakes Drive Station. Seven Lakes Drive Station looked like it had a cute backyard eating area but it was at about an hour wait, so we found the sitting area at Valley Rock Mountain Market to be great for our needs, with plenty of room to stash our bikes. At Valley Rock Mountain Market, they had a nice selection of some hot foods, including pizza and brussel sprouts, some baked goods, and a variety of snack items. I had the brussel sprouts and my friend had a slice of pizza, and neither of us was disappointed.
Once you are relaxing, I would check the train times back into the city. The train station isn't too far, and I found it enjoyable to take my beer to the area behind the train station to soak up some more nature before heading back to the concrete jungle. Head back to the train when it's time and enjoy your hour-long nap time back into the city!
Hi! I'm Rachel.
I'm creating curated bike routes in all 5 boroughs of NYC. Routes include downloadable route map, descriptions of the bicycle infrastructure, and suggestions on places to eat and things to see. Enjoy!