By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Grab your helmet and a water bottle and head out to any of these bike parks and trails in the region.
Plattekill Bike Park
It has been rated as one of the “Top Five Bike Parks in the Northeast Region” by www.mtbparks.com. It’s easy to see why. “Platty” offers miles of mountain biking trails and is near the Catskill Scenic Trail, 26 miles of gentler, groomed biking paths. Bike rentals are available.
Garnet Hill Lodge
• North River
It provides numerous outdoor activities, including an extensive mountain biking trails. Ideal for a family with diverse interests, Garnet Hill Lodge also has hiking, paddling and fishing. It’s also near venues for whitewater rafting, rail biking and guided hunting and fishing.
Windham Mountain Bike Park
It offers downhill biking in the rugged terrain of the Catskills. Trails of various levels of difficulty include a UCI World Cup course, plus jumps. Bikers never have to pedal uphill, since the trails are serviced by a high-speed quad lift. The park also offers features like berms, mesas, rock garden and more. Guests can rent bikes if they don’t bring their own. Lessons are also available.
Glens Falls Feeder Canal Trail
• Glens Falls
www.traillink.com (type Glen Falls)
It is a nine-mile trail next to part of the original circa-1820s canal system. The trail is part of the Champlain Canalway Trail, which upon its completion will span 77 miles from Waterford to Whitehall. Glens Falls also offers the trailhead to the Warren County Bikeway that goes to Lake George.
Catskill Scenic Trail
It features nine miles of gradual grades along the West Branch Delaware River.
Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway
• High Falls
It is an 88-mile roadway trail that connects small towns and offers numerous scenic vistas, plus historic sites and fine architecture.
Erie Canal Trail
• Albany through Buffalo
It will one day span the 365-mile long off-road trail between Albany and Buffalo, but only three-quarters of it is complete at present. Numerous communities dot the trail, each with its own attractions and charm. On the website, you can find suggestions for different “legs” of the trail between canal towns and descriptions of the types of terrain encountered. For example, Erie Canal Heritage Trail ranging from Buffalo to Lyons is 120 miles of “level cycling along the canal with optional stops to explore canal villages along the way.”
Where to Find the Perfect Trail
For more information on bike trails across New York State, visit www.dot.ny.gov/display/programs/bicycle/maps.
The trail database is searchable by county, region, trail name, trail use type and type of surface. Each trail has a short description as well.