The Hudson Valley offers spellbinding bridges, small towns steeped in history, beautiful small country roads, and the biggest motorcycle museum in the country–if you know where to look. These top 10 best motorcycle rides in Westchester County and the Hudson River Valley are the perfect way to spend an afternoon: hugging the curves of winding New York roads.
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1. Green Rural Loop from Manhattan
Length: 131 Miles
Time to Ride: 5 hours or more
For the ultimate escape from NYC to bucolic backroads, take the Green Rural Loop from Manhattan to southeastern Connecticut and back. You’ll start in Manhattan, then wind your way north to the Saugatuck Reservoir. The peaceful, pastoral scenery and winding roads are a biker’s dream, with perfectly maintained roads, lots of ponds and reservoirs along the route, farmsteads and affluent homes. You’ll find plenty of excellent lunch stops along the way. A favorite is the biker-friendly Squire’s Redding Roadhouse in CT.
2. Fort Lee Loop
Distance: 100 miles
Time to Ride: 3 hours or more
This route begins in New Jersey and covers sections of New York and Connecticut in the Hudson River Valley before looping back down. You’ll cruise the beautiful and smooth Palisades Insterstate Parkway, a tree-lined scenic parkway that offers longer stretches of open road. Then you’ll veer onto Seven Lakes Drive and Rt. 106, both lovely country roads that curve around lakes and farms. On Rt. 210, you’ll ride alongside the sparkling Greenwood Lake. Make sure to pull off here to enjoy the stunning lake views backed by tree-covered mountains. You’ll also find a whole host of options for food and fuel along the way.
3. The Hudson River Bridge Tour
Distance: 70 miles
Time to Ride: 2-5 hours
Take in some of the most stunning bridges in the Northeast on the Hudson River Bridge Tour, which starts out by crossing the George Washington Bridge in NYC and winds its way along the Hudson, across a few bridges and by beautiful river vistas, up to Newburgh. In Newburgh you’ll cross the Newburgh-Beacon toll bridge, a stunning cantilever bridge offering views of the surrounding area (and the Manhattan skyline, if you squint). While in Newburgh, the Motorcyclepedia museum is a must-see!
4. Seven Lakes Drive
Distance: 17 miles
Time to Ride: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Though Seven Lakes Drive is part of our Fort Lee Loop, it’s worth mentioning on its own and taking a cruise through whenever you’re in the area. This route has everything: lakes, mountains, and forests, along with recently resurfaced roads that offer an easy, smooth ride. Because this drive passes through Harriman State Park, you won’t find places to eat or fuel up in this stretch, but there are restrooms about 7 miles in.
5. Nyack to Bear Mountain State Park
Distance: 23 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours
This must-see stretch of road starts in Nyack, on the banks of the Hudson just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, and winds north through Bear Mountain State Park to the peak of Bear Mountain. The ride to the top of the 1,284′ summit includes plenty of twisty turns and curves, and once you reach the top, you’ll want to stop, stretch, and spend a while taking in the scenery–the hills and mountains, as well as the sparkling Hudson down below.
6. Goshen to New Paltz
Distance: 30 miles
Time to Ride: 1-3 hours
This route can barely be considered part of the Hudson River Valley, but it’s stunning enough–and offers enough great stops along the way–that we can’t skip over it. Start in the town of Goshen, home of the Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame–along with lots of great restaurants. Then hop on Albany Post Road for a serene stretch of well-maintained two-lane road that curves between farms, wooded areas, and nature preserves before stopping in New Paltz to grab lunch, explore the historic downtown, and visit “the Gunks,” 300-foot-high cliffs that offer some of the most popular rock climbing (and some of the most beautiful scenery) in the area.
7. Storm King Highway
Distance: 45 miles
Time to Ride: 2-3 hours
Another route with a stop in Newburgh, the Storm King Highway loop takes you alongside Storm King Mountain on scenic Route 9D, then climbs 420 feet to a curving, winding road that provides panoramic views of the river and hills below. This is one of the most popular routes for motorcyclists in the state, thanks to the smooth ups, downs, and curves that many riders compare to a laid-back roller coaster ride. A pull-off makes it easy to enjoy the view at one of the highest points along the route, and the view back up to Newburgh on the other end of the look is the perfect smooth, relaxing counterpart to the Storm King section.
8. Tour of Dutchess and Columbia County
Distance: 70 miles
Time to ride: half a day
This ride also begins beside the Hudson in Newburgh. But unlike the other routes originating here, this one heads north. This is the land of open farmland and rolling hills speckled with old barns and farmsteads. You’ll cross the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and pass by Poet’s Walk Park, where it’s said that Washington Irving was inspired to pen Rip Van Winkle. On Route 9G, you’ll enjoy views of both the Hudson and the Catskills, and on Route 103 (AKA River Road) you’ll relax for an easy stretch that rambles through affluent, historic neighborhoods. This is a smooth, relaxing road that doesn’t demand too much concentration and offers plenty of stops, side roads to explore, and restaurants along the way.
9. Harriman Loop
Distance: 32 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour
There’s a reason so many favorite routes in the Hudson River Valley pass through a section of Harriman State Park. This route showcases the best that the park has to offer, looping through many of the park’s most scenic roads for a 32-mile cruise that takes you by sparkling lakes, atop mountain peaks, and through dense woods and forests. For a ride that gives you a taste of the New York wilds, this is the ideal choice. There aren’t a lot of stops along the way, so bring a picnic lunch!
10. Saugerties Loop
Distance: 34 miles
Time to Ride: 1-3 hours
In the northern reaches of the Hudson Valley, the Saugerties Loop will take you up the impossibly steep, adrenaline-spiking County Road 16, which climbs 1,200 feet to the peak of Platte Cove Mountain over the course of 1.4 miles. Stunning scenery, no guard rails, and sharp twists and turns keep every mile of the route interesting, and you’ll skirt near a dozen waterfalls along the way up (take your hiking shoes if you’re up for an adventure!). You’ll then loop back down the mountain and return to Saugerties, where the 1869 Saugerties Lighthouse offers a beautiful spot to stretch and relax before grabbing lunch at a fantastic local joint.