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  1. #1
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Taconic State Park good for kids?

    Any suggestions for a place where kids can bicycle and see the fall foliage? My 4-year-olds are capable of doing 5 miles comfortably on flat terrain, but I don't want them on streets yet, and they can't handle steep grades.

    I see that Taconic State Park has bike paths, but I'm not seeing anything that gives me enough confidence to rent a car and haul the whole family out with our bikes.

    Any info is appreciated...
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  2. #2
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Whar kind of bikes? If they are mountain bikes you might want to consider Minnewaska State Park. If you drive to parking area at the top you can ride the old carriage roads near the top. If you just go to Lake Awosting and back there are some climbs but I don't recall anything terribly steep, but then I'm not a 4 year old anymore. Another possibility might be Nyack Beach State Park and Rockland Lake State Park, just above it. There is a flat crushed stone bike path along the Hudson River at Nyack Beach State Park. It is completely flat as is the 3 mile paved loop around Rockland Lake.

  3. #3
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by dendawg View Post
    Whar kind of bikes?
    Specialized Hot Rocks with training wheels. OK for the occasional foray across a lawn, but I wouldn't do any real offroading with them. Are the carriage roads tightly packed dirt?

    We've done Rockland Lake--that's where I learned they could do 3-1/2 miles. It's great for kids, but my wife wants to drive farther north and see the leaves, and I don't know any of the bike stuff up thataways.
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    There are rail trails starting in Bronxville that run about 13 miles up to Kensico dam - those are close and very flat. Plenty of street parking on weekends.

    If you want to travel a little further, you can run up to Amenia in eastern Dutchess - the rail trail there is 10 miles. Perfectly flat. The trail actually starts at the Wassaic stop on the Metro North Harlem Valley line - you would have to check and see schedules, etc., but perhaps you can take the train up in the morning, ride for a bit and then return in the afternoon. (Wassaic is the last stop in the Harlem Valley Line.)

    On the Minnewaska suggestion - if you want to head in that direction, there is a very flat hard-pack trail that runs through the village of New Paltz. Not paved, but hard and flat. Lunch and a ride in New Paltz - very nice.

    Plus, a two-minute side trip on the way up or way back to see the new Walkway Over the Hudson would be a standout for the kids.

    (Edit - just noticed your comment about training wheels....avoid Minnewaska and the New Paltz trail. Not training wheel friendly. There is a paved trail very near New Paltz that I can look up if you're interested - it's about four miles long, if memory serves.)

  5. #5
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    Thanks!



    Specialized Hot Rocks with training wheels. OK for the occasional foray across a lawn, but I wouldn't do any real offroading with them. Are the carriage roads tightly packed dirt?

    We've done Rockland Lake--that's where I learned they could do 3-1/2 miles. It's great for kids, but my wife wants to drive farther north and see the leaves, and I don't know any of the bike stuff up thataways.
    Skip Minnewaska. Those roads are old slate, rutted and definitely not training wheel friendly. Nyack Beach Park is hard pack. Another close by rail trail is the Heritage trail that runs from Monroe to Goshen - 8 miles one way but more through farmlands than woods. Also the North County Rail Trail in Westchester. There is a parking area near the Croton reservoir. You could ride the bridge across the reservoir and on to Yorktown where you could stop for lunch and ride back. That section is pretty flat and wooded. You'll just need to be careful with the kids at the road crossings.

  6. #6
    Daily Rider finnyct90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    Any suggestions for a place where kids can bicycle and see the fall foliage? My 4-year-olds are capable of doing 5 miles comfortably on flat terrain, but I don't want them on streets yet, and they can't handle steep grades.

    I see that Taconic State Park has bike paths, but I'm not seeing anything that gives me enough confidence to rent a car and haul the whole family out with our bikes.

    Any info is appreciated...
    Go up to the northern portion of the Harlem Vally Rail Trail, (part of the taconic state parks), up to the Bash Bish Falls end. There is a wonderful rail trail that is perfect for young kids. Then sugar them up with a candy bar from the little store and Hike the short trail up to the falls..you will not be sorry.
    Drive north up 684 to route 22 to Copake Falls. Or, north on Taconic Parkway to route 23 to Hillsdale, then south on route 22 to Copake falls.

  7. #7
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    Pretty close by rt 22 in between 684 and Copake Falls is the (longer) southern portion of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. (asphalt, perhaps not as pretty as the northern section)

    Last time I checked, there was also a bike shop with rentals at Copake Falls next to the bike trail. In summertime the state park also sort of like an old-fashioned swimming hole -- where I made my first attempts at swimming when I was like 5 years old. Not far south of there is Rudd Pond, which has larger swimming.

    The low trail from the west side into Bash Bish Falls seemed pretty fun when my parents took me there several times starting when I was around 5 years old. But it's been a long time since I've done it -- now I usually go there in the middle of long bike rides, so I save time by riding farther east higher up the road to where there's a shorter steeper trail to the falls.

    There's also lots of quiet roads to explore around Copake + Ancramdale. It's an amazing area. Leave the kids home. Go there for yourself. Sharon and I would be riding there tomorrow if it weren't for the rain and wind.

    Ken

  8. #8
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Thanks for all this, guys. Much appreciated. I'll run it all past my wife and see what she wants to do. (It's a little birthday jaunt for her.)
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Bear Mountain State Park has a paved loop around the lake as well. I took my 5 year old there (two years back) and she could make it most of the way around. The NW side (IIRC) has a steep hill that we walked the bikes up, but the rest was ride-able.

    +1 on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. The main Dutchess Rail Trail is still under construction, but there is a 1.8 mile and 2.5 mile section done with nice foliage right now. Highland also has a short paved trail. Both the Highland section and the western Dutchess section get you close to the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge that just opened. That is a 'must see'.

  10. #10
    Senior Member dmac49's Avatar
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    Harlem Valley Rail Trail. Not too far from Taconic.
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  11. #11
    Ride 365 Lucky07's Avatar
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    The Rail Trail is definitely kid friendly. I've taking my 8 & 10 yr olds on it & they loved it. Lots of farms & barnyard animals to see from the trail.

    The southern end of Taconic State Park near Rudd Pond closes down in the Fall. Not sure about the northern end of the park.
    "...devil take the hindmost..."

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