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To fully enjoy the sights and smells that autumn in New York has to offer, try walking or biking along a multi-use trail. Take your time as you stroll or pedal your way through a canopy of bright fall foliage, breathing in the fresh air, and drawing in the scenery around you.

Multi-use trails such as rail and canal trails, greenways and bikeways are family friendly places to walk, run, or bike. Many are along historic railways or canal corridors and are mostly flat. Many of the trails are also located near scenic rivers and streams. One thing they have in common, however, is that they all offer a view of the beautiful foliage during the fall months.

Parks & Trails New York has put together a list of Ten Terrific Trails we recommend for fall.

To find a trail near you, use TrailFinder, Parks & Trails New York’s online guide to multi-use trails across New York State at www.ptny.org/trailfinder. TrailFinder can be used to search for trails in several ways—by trail name, by trail attributes such as length, surface, allowable uses, distance from a particular location, or by browsing the interactive map.

Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. Find out more about Parks & Trails New York by visiting www.ptny.org and our Facebook and Twitter sites.

Take Your Bike - Rochester available at www.footprintpress.com

Take Your Bike – Rochester available at http://www.footprintpress.com

Erie Canalway Trail – Between Albany and Buffalo more than 270 miles of Erie Canalway Trail provide the opportunity to experience quaint towns and a bounty of fall color along the state’s historic New York State Canal System.  The longest continuous stretch of trail begins in Lockport, about 10 miles east of Buffalo, and continues 100 miles to Lyons along the Erie Canal in western New York.  Other long stretches can be found in the 36-mile Old Erie Canal State Park between Dewitt and Rome in central New York and the more than 40 miles of trail between Little Falls and Amsterdam in eastern New York. When completed, the Erie Canalway Trail will provide 365 miles of multi-use trails along the canal, making it the longest intra-state trail in the country.

Genesee Valley Greenway
– In western New York, the Genesee Valley Greenway’s well-known “tunnel of green” turns to red and yellow as more than 60 miles of trail follows the Genesee River and the abandoned Genesee Valley Canal through woodlands, farmlands, and historic villages from Rochester to near the Pennsylvania border.  Within Letchworth State Park, the Genesee Valley Greenway affords sweeping views of the famous gorge and waterfalls of the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

Take Your Bike - Finger Lakes available at www.footprintpress.com

Take Your Bike – Finger Lakes available at http://www.footprintpress.com

Catharine Valley Trail – The hillsides resplendent with autumn color above Seneca Lake are a perfect backdrop to begin a visit to the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen.   The 10-mile trail follows abandoned railroad and canal towpath corridors through the 900-acre Queen Catharine Marsh, historic villages, and a heavily wooded, glacially carved valley Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Pat McGee Trail – In the western Southern Tier, the relatively rural 12-mile Pat McGee Trail offers the opportunity to experience the colors of fall while passing through woods, wetlands, and open fields filled with rich a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife.

Cato-Fairhaven Trail – Ponds, wetlands, and old farm buildings add to the rural and agricultural charm of the 14-mile Cato-Fairhaven Trail.  Dense stands of sumac, beech, maple, and aspen trees provide plenty of fall color along this corridor near the shores of Lake Ontario in Central New York.

TOBIE Trail
 
– What better place to experience autumn color than in the Adirondacks.  There are plenty of opportunities to be surrounded by the best of fall foliage from this 12-mile trail that connects the five mountain communities that give the trail its name – Thendara, Old Forge, Big Moose, Inlet, and Eagle Bay.

Catskill Scenic Trail
– The Catskill Scenic Trail follows the route of the former Ulster and Delaware railroad. Young and old will find this an easy and enjoyable route through the foothills of the Catskills.  The trail parallels the West Branch of the Delaware River for the entire route and offers many delightful fishing spots.

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park:  Drink in breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley fully decked out in autumn color from more than 200 feet above the middle of the river on the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  The Walkway is the center piece of a 3.6-mile loop that links riverside parks, cultural attractions and historic points of interest on both the Poughkeepsie and Highland waterfronts.

North County Trailway  Following the bed of the former Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad, this paved trail winds more than 22 miles through the woodlands, parks, and suburbs of Westchester County.  Historic rail stations and a beautiful bridge across the New Croton Reservoir add to the appeal of the route.

Bethpage Bikeway – The 6.5–mile Bethpage Bikeway links Long Island’s Bethpage State Park with the South Shore at Massapequa.  From the Park, the trail passes through a mature forest cover along the Bethpage State Parkway before entering the mixed evergreens and deciduous forests of the Massapequa County Park and Preserve.  The park’s ponds, wetlands, and Massapequa Lake and Creek can all be experienced from the trail.

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Judah Schiller introduces ‘water biking’ to New York with ride across the Hudson River

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Kayak across the Hudson to the country’s largest Japanese supermarket

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Hiking: East Hudson Highlands

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The 10 Best Fall Biking Adventures Near NYC (& beyond)

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9 Things Travelers Should Know About New York City’s Bike Share

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by Leslie Lippai, Scarsdale10583.com, link to original post

If you forgot to buy a summer house in Westhampton Beach this year or aren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation, you might think your only option is to drive out east to Long Island for some beach and paddling fun before the season’s over. Well, although no one will ever confuse Easthampton’s Main Beach with Rye Playland — and kayaking on Georgica Pond is not exactly the same as paddling on the Hudson, it is possible to have a really good time in and on the water around Westchester.

The basics: Westchester County offers a variety of park passes for access to all county-owned parks, pools and beaches where one is required. Visit www.westchestergov.org to learn about your options. Always call ahead before leaving home to make sure a beach has not been closed temporarily after a storm and heavy rain fall. Also, make sure you read the parking signs about where and when you can park. And while it’s not advisable to fall into the Hudson, the river is getting cleaner each year and you should be fine if you overturn, just try not to swallow the water. Visit riverkeeper.org to get up-to-date information on all things Hudson River. Keep in mind that once late September rolls around, parking fees are slashed dramatically, the water is still warm and the crowds for the most part are gone, so it is a great time to jump in or paddle on. And what’s better after a nice day at the beach than ice cream or paletas. We’ve included some of the best shops in the area. Need a kayak or canoe? If you don’t want to buy a new one, check out craigslist for used kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards of all price levels. Don’t want to go it alone? kayakhudson.com offers tours all over our area and provides the equipment without the hassle of loading it in your car. For the truly brave, check out www.manhattankayak.com or www.nykayak.com, which will have you kayaking or doing standup paddle boarding on the water in lovely New York City in no time. How cool.

Armonk

Wampus Pond, Route 128. The pond is named after the Indian tribe who sold the land to New York in 1696. There are rowboat rentals on the weekend and holidays, a kayak launch and fishing for all to enjoy in addition to picnic facilities. Call (914) 273-3230 for more information or visit www.westchestergov.com/wampus-pond

Croton-on-Hudson BluePig

The beach at Croton Point Park is part of a 508-acre park located on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River. The park has camping spots, walking paths, playgrounds, a kayak launch and spectacular views of the Hudson River: (914) 862-5290. Here are some reviews on the park from contributors at Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/croton-point-park-croton-on-hudson-2. For ice cream afterward, locals rave about The Blue Pig (121 Maple St, Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-3850; thebluepigicecream.com). Popular this season are Pig M&M (vanilla ice cream with M&Ms), honey vanilla with lavender, garden mint chip, and olive oil. New this summer is an outdoor brick courtyard complete with twinkly lights.

Hastings-on-Hudson

Kinnally Cove is directly across the river from the Palisades Cliffs with ample parking. It is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe. There is permit parking (Monday-Friday) across from the lot but you can park after 6pm and on weekends without a permit. For more information, call Hasting’s rec department at (914) 478-2380. While there is no great local ice cream shop to be had in Hastings, the town has a hopping restaurant scene, including Juniper (juniperhastings.com)

Irvington

Scenic Hudson Park is on the Hudson River. The park is accessed via Bridge Street parallel to the Hudson River and the Metro-North tracks. This 4.5-acre park includes a kayak launch. For more information contact Irvington Recreation & Parks (914) 591-7736.

Larchmont

The most popular put-in site for kayakers is at the end of Beach Ave, often called “Dog Beach,” where a public road leads along the Long Island Sound. There is no parking near the launch and you have to leave your car several hundred yards away. If you have the strength to lift your craft over a five-foot retaining wall, try launching from where Ocean Ave curves to meet Magnolia. There is a turn-around loop and parking is allowed nearby. Also, off Lindsley Drive, at the edge of Flint Park, there are rocks that lead down to the water. Some people put in kayaks in here, although we are told it is muddy at low tide.

Mamaroneck

At nearby Harbor Island Park, at the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue South and East Boston Post Road, you can launch a kayak or canoe year-round. At times the park is overrun by Canadian geese and their droppings, so watch where you step. Call (914) 777-7784 or visit www.village.mamaroneck.ny.us. Skip the ice cream and try a paleta. Paletas are Mexican frozen pops that are either water-based (made with fresh fruit and/or fruit juices) or milk/cream-based, and offered in a rainbow of colors and flavors. We like Paleteria Fernandez, 350 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck 914-315-1598. Hibiscus flower, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango are just some of the fun and funky flavors to sample.

Mount Vernon

Not a beach or a place to launch a kayak, but definitely worthy of a mention is Willson’s Woods, on East Lincoln Avenue. The facility is one of the oldest in the Westchester county parks system and was acquired in 1924. The park is well-known for its waterpark, Willson’s Waves, complete with a wave pool where you can body surf on three-foot wave, splash downward on an 18-foot high water slide, wander through cascades and fountains in the water playground, or just cool off on the spray deck. The park also has areas for picnicking and fishing. Call (914) 813-6990 for more information.

New Rochelle

Glen Island Beach on Pelham Road offers picnic tables, miniature golf, playgrounds, fishing and more. There is also a kayak launch. Call (914) 813-6720 for information or visit http://parks.westchestergov.com/glen-island-park.

Rye

Rye Playland offers up sand, surf and walks along the boardwalk. There is also self-launch access to Long Island Sound for kayakers and canoers. Call (914) 813-7010 or visit www.ryeplayland.org. Ice cream for everyone at the charming Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream (4 Elm Pl, Rye 914-967-3797; longfordsicecream.com). The “own-made” ice cream, crafted in Port Chester, boasts 36 flavors and 20 flavors of sorbet, gelato and LoYo.

lighthouse Sleepy Hollow

In this historic town, Horan’s Landing Park, at 9 River Street, offers direct and perfectly legal public access to the Hudson River. The park has a riverside path, sandy beach at mid-to-low tide (no swimming), and picnic tables. The kayak/canoe/boat launch is restricted to car-top vessels (sorry, no trailers). Launch your canoe or kayak here to explore the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow waterfronts and the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (sleepyhollowlighthouse.com). More experienced kayakers can cross the Hudson to wander through the meandering channels of Piermont Marsh or paddle upriver to Croton Point Park. Pick up a copy of the Hudson River Water Trail Guide to help you plan your river adventure. Parking: limited parking on site, additional metered parking on Beekman Avenue. Call (914) 366-5109 for more information. Afterward, try the Lighthouse Ice Cream and Coffee Kompanies (27 W Main St, at the Tarrytown Harbor, Tarrytown 914-502-0339; lighthouseicecreamkompany.com) for high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, such as milk and cream from Salem, New York-based Battenkill Valley Creamery.

Yonkers

While not exactly a beach, The Brook at Tibbetts Brook Park offers lots of water fun for the kids. The park’s former 81-year-old pool has been replaced with a new aquatic complex complete with a spray playground for kids of all ages, in-pool basketball and volleyball, lap lanes for getting in a daily swim workout, and the signature lazy river that inspired the renaming of this water wonderland “The Brook.” (914) 231-2865

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by Max Cea, Nyak News & Notes, link to original post

Area outdoor enthusiasts will soon be able to boldly jog, walk and cycle into the woods on a paved path where no man has gone before, following the path of a train that once did. The Joseph B. Clarke Rail Trail, which runs from Oak Tree Road in Tappan to Orangeburg, will be extended 1.6 miles from Lowes on Route 303 to Blauvelt. “With funding from NYS Department of Transportation, we’ll break ground in August of 2014 and finish the project within a year,” said Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart.  “Right now we are focused on the design of the street crossings and connections at the beginning and end of this section of the trail.”

Although New York State will fund construction of the trail, Orangetown’s Highway and Parks and Recreation Departments will be in charge of the trail’s maintenance. The new segment of the trail will conform in appearance to most of the existing trail.  The trail will be ten feet wide, mostly level, and paved with gravel and macadam pavement.

As the region recovers from recession, the extended rail trail — along with a new “Shared Use Path” on the north span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge — will bring thousands of new visitors on foot and two wheels to Orangetown, Piermont, Nyack and Tarrytown. According to Parks and Trails New York (PTNY), bicycle tourism is a low-impact way to give local economies a much needed shot in the arm. “Bicycle Tourists… are well-educated older adults from upper-income households that typically travel in groups of friends or family members. They spend money and are interested in learning about your community. [This group] provides an incentive for preserving a community’s unique character, historic heritage and natural features.” In other words, the cyclists we will soon see will be very different from the uber-riders with whom Rockland residents have become familiar. They are likely to take shorter rides than the serious road warriors who ride up 9W from NYC. They will have their cars and their wallets with them when they ride about a dozen miles across the new bridge and through the adjacent downtowns. Additionally, PTNY says they are likely to be shoppers, spenders and site-seers.

The business community in the river villages is eager to greet these new customers. “Nyack already knows what a boon for business having hundreds of bicycle riders from the larger metropolitan area can be,” says Nyack Chamber of Commerce President Scott Baird. “Every Saturday and Sunday- local coffee shops, breakfast restaurants, see a great influx of business as bicyclists from all over come to enjoy Nyack’s unique shops, eateries, and natural beauty.”

But local residents have a mixed response to the serious cyclists who flock to Nyack from the five boroughs and North Jersey. Motorists don’t like it when bikers run stop signs — although only about three out of ten drivers come to a complete legal stop themselves. Cyclists are miffed when cars play chicken with bikers and violate New York State’s Safe Distance (“3 foot”) law when passing. Motorists regularly break the exceeding posted speed limits; cyclists break the law when riding two abreast in the river villages. Forget what they say about each other, what it really is about is speed: cars don’t like anything that interferes with their ability to go as fast as they want; cyclists don’t see why they need to slow down for stop signs if no one is in the intersection. Bottom line? It’s a mess and both the motorists and the motorless are to blame.

And it’s going to get a lot more crowded out there when the new Shared Use Path opens on the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Today, as many as 5000 cyclists travel to Nyack on a busy summer weekend — that’s almost as many people as live in the village. The Walkway Over The Hudson — a tourist attraction between Ulster and Dutchess Counties, near Poughkeepsie — projects about 500,000 visitors each year. If the river villages got 1/10 of that traffic it would be overwhelming. But the likelihood is that the region would see at least as many as 500,000, given Rockland and Westchester’s vicinity to Bergen County and New York City.

Planners have floated the idea of getting the Tappan Zee Bridge project to pave the rest of the rail trail from Sparkill to Nyack, giving future tourists easy access to the business districts and available parking in Piermont, Nyack, Orangeburg and Blauvelt. If the state paved the remainder of the rail trail through these villages and addressed the security concerns of property owners, South Nyack, Grandview and Piermont could be relieved of the maintenance costs and liability they currently assume. In addition to it being good for local businesses, Baird says it would make things safer for cyclists and motorists. “Having a paved separate trail would improve the safety for drivers and bicyclists alike,” he says.

But local officials aren’t biting.  “What is there to gain?” says Larry Lynn, Mayor of Grandview.   “It’s not like we’re going to open up a Starbucks down there.  We have no commercial property.  Whereas Piermont and Nyack profit from the traffic and bicyclists who come up here, we don’t.  They just come buzzing through our village, yelling.  There’s no commercial value.  We don’t want tourism in Grandview because there’s no place for there to be tourism.  We have no water front park.  We have nothing to sell people.  We’re just a quiet residential village who wants to maintain its character.”

Grandview, which sits between South Nyack and Piermont, has a population of only 285 homes. About a dozen homes in Grandview are adjacent to the unimproved rail trail. In addition to addressing the current safety concerns and future parking issues, a paved rail trail of about a dozen miles from Nyack to Blauvelt would add a popular new public park for the 47,000 people who live in Orangetown.

Grandview’s opposition to paving the rail trail isn’t new, according to David Schloss, a biking enthusiast and co-owner of Gypsy Donut in Nyack. “From what I’ve heard the only village that opposes it is Grandview, and that hell would have to freeze over before they take steps to increase the use of the trail.”  When asked if Grandview would consider supporting the project if the state paid to pave it and assumed maintenance and liability, Lynn left open the possibility of working with the state. “I’d want to see that it’s safe and I’d want to see that someone else is incurring the costs,” he said. “We’re open to any discussions that are to be had, but the issue hasn’t been raised in years.”

The Orangeburg part of the rail trail is named after Joseph B. Clarke, Orangetown’s Superintendent of Parks and Recreation, from 1969 to 1996, who championed the idea of re-purposing the abandoned Erie train line as a rail trail.  In South Nyack the trail is called the Raymond G. Esposito Memorial Trail in honor of the former mayor who promoted the trail’s expansion. Starting at the tennis courts on South Franklin in South Nyack, they trail passes four downtown shopping districts, three libraries, a college campus, several churches, three shopping centers, secluded woodlands and wildlife and plant sanctuaries, hamlet center parks and several streams, ponds and a reservoir. In Grandview, the rail trail is known as Hader Park.

There Was A Train To Nyack? (history)

The Erie Railroad route from Nyack to Jersey City became known as the Northern Branch. It extended through the towns of Nyack, Grandview, Piermont and Tappan, New York. In New Jersey, it went through the towns of Northvale, Norwood, Closter, Demarest, Creskill, Tenafly, Englewood and Ridgefield Park. In the late 1800s, this line carried over 60 trains a day! After the Erie-Lackawana merger, trains terminated in Hoboken.

Commuter service was discontinued in the 1960s. The tracks remained intact to Piermont until the Continental Can factory was closed. It was replaced by luxury condominiums with spectacular Hudson River views. In the 1980s, the tracks were removed from all portions of the Northern Branch in New York State. Local freight service is still run on the line as far north as Northvale on the NY/NJ border.
Source: PierceHaviland.com

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Click here to read: NYC Parks: 10 Hidden Gems

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Citi Bike Share Program Launches With 6,000 Bikes Across New York City

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