With stunning scenery, historic communities, scores of attractions, and well-maintained roads, New York offers motorcycle riders a ton of great routes to explore. Whether you want to escape the crowds and get into the wilderness or discover some of the state's small communities and towns, you'll have no problem finding something that suits the brief. If you need a starting point, here are ten of the best motorcycle routes in New York to check out.
1. Fort Lee Loop
Covering a distance of around 100 miles, the Fort Lee Loop offers an easy three-hour ride on well-maintained roads. You'll start in New Jersey and pass through various parts of New York and Connecticut before heading back. Expect peaceful country roads, bucolic scenery, and a great range of places to stop for food along the way. Be sure to give yourself a little while to pull over and enjoy the views over Greenwood Lake, too.
2. St. Lawrence Seaway
As newyorkupstate.com says, St. Lawrence Seaway is one of New York’s most popular motorcycling routes, and for very good reasons. A good place to start is Massena, where you can then make the easy journey to Cape Vincent. The scenery over the water along the way is breathtaking, especially at the point at the end of the route where you can stop and admire the Cape Vincent lighthouse. Factor in some time to explore the quaint little towns along the way - the Antique Boat Museum at Clayton is worth an hour or so alone.
3. Green Rural Loop
If you've got 5 hours or so to spare, the Green Rural Loop From Manhattan makes an amazing choice. Spread over 131 miles, the loop will take you from Manhattan to Saugatuck Reservoir in southeastern Connecticut and back again, passing through some jaw-dropping scenery as it does. It's backroads all the way, so expect peaceful riding and plenty of places to pull over to enjoy the view or grab some lunch. If you want to shoot the breeze with some other bikers, take the advice of 2wheels.haymondlaw.com and stop by Squire’s Redding Roadhouse in CT.
4. The Catskill Preserve
As motorcyclenerd.com says, nobody ever regrets a day spent in the Catskills, and if you can experience it from a motorcycle, so much the better. After starting in Catskill town, ride the twists and turns of Route 23 West onto Route 29, before looping back onto Route 23. It's around 200 miles in total, and covers enough charming little towns and world-class scenery to justify a full 5 hours or more.
5. The Hudson River Bridge Tour
If you're a big fan of scenic rides, the Hudson River Bridge Tour is a must. Spanning 70 miles along the Hudson, the tour will take you over several stunning bridges (including New York City's George Washington Bridge and the incredibly scenic Newburgh-Beacon toll bridge), miles of impressive scenery, and enough stops along the way to keep you in food and fuel. The ride takes 2 hours at a trot, but if you've got the time, factor in a few more hours so you can pull over a few times and enjoy the sights (Harriman State Park being one of the most unmissable).
6. Goshen to New Paltz
This next route starts in the town of Goshen, passes along Albany Post Road, and ends in New Paltz. All in all, it covers just 30 miles, but considering the scenery along the way, it's worth dedicating a full afternoon to it. Before you hit the road in Goshen, take some time to explore some of the quaint local sights like the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Once you set off, keep your eyes peeled for the nature reserves and scenic farmsteads you'll pass through on the way to New Paltz before enjoying some lunch and a stroll around the town's historic downtown.
7. Storm King Highway Loop
The rollercoaster ride along the twisting, winding Storm King Highway makes for an incredibly exciting ride, especially when you factor in the stunning views over the surrounding landscape. There are a few pull-offs along the way to stop to enjoy the scenery. If you've got time to spare, park up for an hour or so and take a hike around the mountain. The loop covers around 45 miles, with an expected traveling time of around 2-3 hours.
8. Mohawk Valley/Capital District
This easy, pretty 30-mile route takes around an hour if you ride flat out, but can easily eat up the best part of an afternoon if you make the most of the stops. Along the way, you'll pass through some of the prettiest and quaintest historic towns in Upstate New York, including Schenectady, Cohoes, Rexford and Waterford, along with the gorgeous scenery of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal. The chief attraction not to miss is the Cohoes Falls, which ranks as one of the largest falls east of the Rocky Mountains. They're spectacular enough in summer, but if you visit after a heavy rainfall, prepare to be awestruck.
9. Harriman Loop
Covering a distance of 32 miles, the Harriman Loop passes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Harriman State Park. Expect snowcapped mountains, glistening lakes, and acres of verdant woodland. Stops to fuel up on gas or food are few and far between, but providing you come prepared, it's a route you won't forget in a hurry.
If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy some of Upstate New York's most glorious wildernesses, the remote ride through the Adirondacks should be at the top of your to-do list. The best place to join the route is at Boonville, where you can then start winding your way along the 125 miles to the Olympic Village of Lake Placid. As you progress along the route, you'll pass through historic communities like Old Forge, Inlet, and Long Lake, scenic lakes, densely wooded landscapes, and soaring mountains. Wherever else you stop, be sure to visit the legendary Hoss’s Country Store in Long Lake.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith