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The ferry dock at Ossining's Metro-North train station.  The ferry takes fifteen minutes to cross the Hudson River to Haverstraw, New York, and from there it's an easy five-mile pedal to Harriman State Park, and the roads linking Lakes Tiorati, Welch and Sebago.

Take your bike on the New York Waterways ferry at the Ossining Metro-North train station. It will take fifteen minutes and a $3.75 fare, plus a $1.00 surcharge for your bike, to get to Haverstraw, and then it’s an easy 5-mile pedal to Harriman State Park.  ©www.myharriman.com

Take Your Bike From New York to Harriman Via the Train and Ferry

If you’re TGIFing to the highest power today, and thinking about a road bike ride close to New York that will nonetheless make you feel like you’ve been somewhere this weekend, here’s a suggestion: Take the New York Waterways ferry to Harriman State Park.  Kind of.

It goes like this: take your bike on the Metro-North train, from Grand Central Terminal in New York (or anywhere on the Hudson River Line) up the east side of the Hudson to Ossining (a beautiful ride), whereupon you will disembark from the train, and get on the adjacent New York Waterways connecting ferry that will take you over the river to Haverstraw.

It’s almost over too quickly, that ride across the Hudson.  This time of year, the 4:36 evening ferry catches just enough of the receding twilight outlining the Palisades and High Tor, and the winking lights of Haverstraw, to help you imagine what it must be like in the summertime. You can just imagine what it’s like on a summer morning or late afternoon, the day just beginning to cool off and the sun just beginning to think of going down.

The ferry is a true commuter ferry, and as a word of caution, it only runs in the morning and evening (see schedule, below, and the link to NY Waterways .  But there’s a good chance you’ll have the ferry to yourself on at least one direction of your crossing, especially on a weekend.  Just you, and a chatty conductor or two.

Sign near the dock to New York Waterways' Haverstraw-Ossining ferry, near the Ossining train station on the Hudson River line of the Metro-North.

New York Waterways’ Haverstraw-Ossining ferry is a true commuter ferry, and only runs in the morning and evening.   ©www.myharriman.com

Once in Haverstraw, on the western side of the river, your ride to the border of Harriman State Park is only five miles.  Fear not the glowering face of High Tor as your ferry pulls into dock: you’ll skirt that by bending north, with a gentle up-and-down ride out of Haverstraw, to Willow Grove Road, through Letchworth Village and past the ruined insane asylum at Stony Point.

Once inside the park, you can ride your bike along Harriman State Park’s well-paved “triangle” route that joins three lakes: Welch, Tiorati, Sebago.  I’ve heard this is considered an easy introduction to the terrain in Harriman, and it takes in the scenic heart of the park: the island on Lake Welch, and abandoned Sebago Beach.

Return the same way you came up (through Haverstraw, to the ferry and the Ossining station), or exit the park to the west at Tuxedo, Suffern or Southfields, catching the Port Jervis line down to Penn Station.

The ferry route is a great way to expend your biking energy within the forested surrounds of the park, and not on the heavily-trafficked roads up from the city.

 

Make an epic trip of it.

Make an epic trip of it. A train to the ferry. A ferry to your bike, and the roads to Harriman.  A nice windy pedal through the park and then — depending on which way you’re headed — a return trip on either the ferry (again) or the train, via New Jersey’s Port Jervis line from Tuxedo, Suffern or Southfields. ©www.myharriman.com

 

A few things to know:

  • The ferry costs $3.75 each way; you’ll need to pay an extra dollar surcharge to bring your bike on board.  The ferries are never full; they run at about 20 percent capacity most of the time, and may be empty on the reverse commute.  Very comfortable.
  • The ferry only runs in the morning and the evening.  From Haverstraw, the ferry runs from 5:52 to 8:42 in the morning, and runs again from 4:54 to 9:08 pm.  From Ossining, the morning crossings are from 6:10 to 8:57, and they start again in the evening from 4:39 to 9:29.
  • The ferry dock is located in Ossining’s Secor Road, which cuts through the train station.  in Haverstraw, the dock is in the marina on Girling Drive.
  • Full information about the ferries is here.
Bike route through Harriman State Park, after disembarking from the ferry.

Plot your route using a map app, and you can see the “triangle” taken by many road bikes in Harriman State Park. I like the gas station/Dunkin Donuts on Willow Grove Road, just before or after a hike. They also have some good trail snacks and beverages.

Do you ride in Harriman and have insight into biking in this park, or a particularly interesting experience or area of expertise?  We’re looking for articles about road biking to publish on this site, and will pay $100.00 for your story if accepted.   Send an email to dan@myharriman.com.  Thanks!

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