The Ulster County Nature Bus Is a Free Tourism Program

In honor of Earth Month, Ulster County launches its Nature Bus program to provide free transportation to local destinations.

In one of the Hudson Valley’s largest counties, the Ulster County Nature Bus is a new free program that encourages community members to visit and explore the area’s top attractions and destinations. The program – which launched on April 27 as an Earth Week initiative – is a collaborative effort organized by County Executive Jen Metzger and Ulster County Area Transit. Not only does the Nature Bus provide free transportation to local sites, but also free admission for Ulster County residents.


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From tourist favorites like the Walkway Over the Hudson and Minnewaska State Park Preserve to hidden gems like the Ashokan Rail Trail, the Nature Bus seeks to expand opportunities for Ulster County natives who may not be able to drive to local destinations. While statistics show that an estimated 7.2% of Ulster County households lack a vehicle, Metzger, UCAT, and the Office of Tourism all believe this program to be a necessary filling in the gap to provide residents with the equal opportunity to explore the area and connect with nature. Moreover, all Nature Bus routes include sites that are suitable for people of all ages and abilities.

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The Ulster County Nature Bus will span three different routes which are separated by terrain. The River Route begins in Kingston at the Kingston Plaza before traveling to Kingston Point Beach, Sojourner Truth State Park, Shaupeneak Ridge, Walkway Over the Hudson State Park, Black Creek Preserve, and Esopus Meadows Preserve. The Ridge Route begins in Ellenville at Liberty Square and travels to Sam’s Point Preserve, Lippman Park, and Minnewaska State Park Preserve. As for the Mountain Route, this course also starts in Kingston at Kingston Plaza, but travels up to various points on the Ashokan Trail and to the Catskills Visitor Center in Mount Tremper.

Ulster County has partnered with Scenic Hudson, the Catskill Center, City of Kingston, Town of Wawarsing, and New York State Parks to make its Nature Bus program possible. The bus’s schedule seeks to offer something for everyone to enjoy within the county as it highlights the natural wonders of Ulster.

Since the April 27 launch of the new program, the Ulster County Nature Bus is up and running on Saturdays through mid-October. The bus operates on a rotating basis, alternating between the varying terrain routes every week. The River Route can be explored on May 4 and 25, June 15, July 6 and 27, August 17, September 7 and 28, and October 5; the Ridge Route on May 11, June 1 and 22, July 13, August 3 and 24, and September 14; and the Mountain Route on May 18, June 8 and 29, July 20, August 10 and 31, September 21, and October 12.

Related: Hike These Dog-Friendly Trails in the Hudson Valley

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