It’s another super-active autumn for hikers and bikers throughout the region. Since the start of the pandemic, trail usage across the country has increased tenfold according to the American Hiking Society, and the Hudson Valley is no exception. Luckily for us, Gotham Bike Tours launched creative and fun biking excursions for exploring the newly opened 750-mile-long Empire State Trail (EST).
Since 2014, Lukas Herbert and Laura Willis (a top sightseeing guide and Appalachian Mountain Club trip leader, respectively) have treated cyclists to out-of-the-ordinary rides. Although the EST connects Manhattan, Albany, and Buffalo, Gotham focuses on Hudson Valley-area trails. Bikers can start off with the Maybrook Branch, a base tour on the EST; it begins at Brewster’s train station parking lot and stretches 35 miles north to Poughkeepsie. Like all Gotham tours, unlimited refreshments are provided to fuel up before, during, and after the trip. (Lunch, rail and shuttle fare, plus rental bikes are available, too.)
Looking for a more challenging outing? Gotham offers add-ons to the Maybrook Branch: The Sunset Limited option extends the ride through Poughkeepsie and over the river to New Paltz, where you’ll arrive just in time to catch the beautiful sunset over the Shawangunk Ridge before being shuttled back to Brewster.
And then there’s the Craft Brewery tour. This 35-mile ride begins at the “Old Put” rail trail in Brewster — a defunct railroad that was once bustling with commuters in the early 1900s — and includes a mid-day pit stop for a picnic lunch before arriving at Captain Lawrence Brewery in Elmsford, where you can relax and sample up to 10 of their award-winning beers.
For more info, including descriptions of their 3-day vacation tours from NYC to Saratoga Springs, go to gothambiketours.com.