Rail trail above Piermont

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10 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

3 of us did it today from its terminus at Nyack, off Franklin, to Ash. We were on road bikes with tires from 23m to 25m. We had no trouble although we didn't do the southern section from Valentine, in Sparkill, to Ash, which I thought was a bit sketchy a few weeks ago. Also, there is a few patches of loose, deep sand just at the start in Nyack.

I would like to hear from someone who has done the sections from Oak Tree to Valentine and from Valentine to Ash on a road bike to find out if the trail is serviceable. Granted, the conditions were dry and warm, but this is a wonderful way to Nyack which avoids all the brewhaha of Piermont Avenue.

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Think Jobst Brandt

I rode the trail yesterday from Oak Tree to Nyack. I wasn't on a mountain bike, but I was running pretty fat tires: 50 mm Schwalbe Big Apples. Small wheels though: 20-inch.

The section from Oak Tree to Valentine is paved and could easily be ridden on a road bike.

The section from Valentine to Ash is not paved. It's mostly hard packed dirt and gravel. However, there are a few stretches of very loose gravel, rough dirt and loose rocks, and mud. You could do these stretches on a road racing bike, but it would require some care. The narrower your tires, the more care you'd need. It would be slow going at times, and might include a tiny bit of walking!

If you were heading south, which is downhill on the trail, you'd want to be even more careful on narrow tires so you'd stay in control when you hit a rough patch.

Also, some sections would be pretty bumpy were you riding a full-on road racing bike.

As I said though, most of the trail is hardpack and could be ridden on a road bike.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

"Thanks, although I don't understand what you mean by ""Think Jobst Brandt.""

I want to add: Today most of the trail north of Ash is clean of leaves. The section immediately north of Ash does have leaf cover but it is short. The remainder of the hardpack appears to have been either scraped with a grader or racked clear with few stones.

Views through leafless trees alone are worth the journey."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Rail Trail - D&R Canal

"I'm not sure what he means by ""Think Jobst Brandt"", either. Also, curiously enough your two descriptions sound much like the D&R canal path which runs along the NJ/PA border. Depending on how adventurous you are, you can ride close to a 60 mile loop; I can vouch for most of the D&R canal path being accessible for a 20"" wheeled bike."

Anonymous's picture
Michael Steiner (not verified)
Jobst Brandt

"I guess Tony is referring to Jobst's Trips to the european Alps, e.g., the Tende Pass where ``Pavement ends at the border as the road reverts to its 19th century surface, a kilometer before the top, giving us practice climbing on baseball sized gravel.....'' (see his interesting accounts of these trips)

Anonymous's picture
Jersey Guy (not verified)
Some of the D&R canal path in NJ/PA may be washed out

I haven't been there in a few months, but I know there were large section of the paths along the Delaware, especially on the PA side north of New Hope, that were completely washed out in the floods in the last several years and looked impassable.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
D&R Canal

I rode it extensively this past summer. Most of my travels were on the NJ side of the river. I'm not aware of any immediate off-road/bike path on the PA side. There is good road riding to be found though in PA. Some of the washed out roads were thankfully re-paved.

Just past Lambertville, heading south towards Trenton, the path becomes a rock pile, for some distance (too long to impatiently walk and measure) and one needs a Mountain Bike to ride on without taking a detour onto Rte 29. At one point, the path returns to its normal groomed path which oddly enough is smoother riding than the pot-holed southern section of Rte 29.

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Road bikes, off road

"Though Jobst certainly rode on some rough roads during his early Alps trips, I was actually refering to his rides in California, in which he and his friends regularly took their road bikes into the ""woods:""


Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
"NYCC on ""Jobst ride"""

Look at the first photo on this page, and you'll see a rider wearing an NYCC Statue of Liberty jersey (fifth from the right):


There's another shot at the bottom of the page!

Anonymous's picture
Dennis Wiener (not verified)

Nice to know they got around to paving the section from Oak Tree Road to Sparkill. It had been very course gravel, more like trap rock. When I lived in Tappan I liked to ride it regualary on my MTB. When I switched to a hybrid I found negotiating the barricades on the loose gravel above Piermont a lot trickier. From Grandview to Nyack it is pretty much hard packed dirt and fine gravel. FWIW it nice to continue north to Nyack Beach Park and ride the Greenway all the way up to Havestraw.

Anonymous's picture
Jay (not verified)
the paved section goes a bit beyond Sparkill

it continues towards Orangeburg, crossing 303 using a new bike/walk bridge. the bridge ends near Lowe's home center and near Western Hwy--By going north on Western one can easily access West Nyack or Greenbush to Clausland Mtn or Bradley. Jay's LoHud Series has recently utilized this.

In 2008 the paved section will go all the way to the biking mecca of Blauvelt.

The recent improvements to the surface and bridge cost a reported $3,000,000--much coming from state and/or federal govt.

cycling trips