Connecting the Lakes, Tarrytown and the Rest of New York State

The Empire State Trail — the governor’s proposed 750-mile bike path through the heart of New York State — will follow the North and South County Trailways past the Tarrytown Lakes.

Cool, huh?  Already, the lakes provide a great stopping-off venue for riders on the North and South County Trailways.  The new trail, in fact, just rolls over the already-existing trailways in the area.  But being part of the official Empire State Trail should give a big boost to its profile.

When the Empire State Trail officially connects end-to-end in 2020,  cyclists have options.  They can go all the way to Buffalo, New York, on dedicated bike paths.  Or, they can split off at Albany and pursue the trail to Canada.  But most riders will opt for something less breathtaking: a loop or an out-and-back.

The latest map for the Empire State Trail shows the trail leaving from New York City along the Hudson River Greenway.  It will follow the North and South County Trailways past the Tarrytown Lakes.  and continue along the Putnam Trailway to Brewster.  From there, the trail will follow a newly-paved section of old railroad — the former Maybrook Line — to Hopewell Junction.  In Hopewell Junction, a rider will continue on the Dutchess Trailway, over the Walkway Over the Hudson, and along the Hudson Valley Trail.  A short ride along the road in New Palz will finally bring a cyclist to the Wallkill Rail Trail (a favorite!) to Kingston, New York.

If you live near Tarrytown and haven’t tried this route, I suggest starting in Hopewell.  Follow the route through New Paltz to Kingston.  To get home, cross the Hudson by ferry boat to Rhinecliff.  Then, take the Amtrak back to Croton-Harmon station, and the Metro-North to Tarrytown.

Bicycle fixit station along the Putnam County Trailway, part of the Empire State Trailway in New York State. Suzy Allman photo

A “fixit” station along the Putnam County Trailway. The PCT is at the northern end of the North County Trailway.

Not Just For Empire State Trail Riders

Visitors to the Tarrytown Lakes area will find that the Empire State Trail will offer easy loops and variations. If you’re coming by car, train or bike from the city, head north along the trail. In Brewster, you’ll have choices — several.  You can:

  • take the Metro-North Harlem line south, back to the city;
  • ride the Metro-North Harlem line north to Wassaic, and pick up the Harlem Valley Rail trail from the station (return to the city via Metro-North);
  • when it’s open in 2020, use the converted Maybrook line on the new Empire State Trail to ride north to Hopewell Junction, New Paltz and Kingston.  They can then ferry to Rhinebeck and Amtrak to Penn Station (or, take the Amtrak back to Croton-Harmon station, and transfer to the Metro-North back to Tarrytown).

The latest map for the Empire State Trail Map. The trail leaves from New York City and will follow the North and South County Trailways and the Putnam Trailway up to Brewster. From there, the trail will follow a newly-paved section of old railroad.  That’s the former Maybrook Line, and it goes to Hopewell Junction.

Fuel up in Tarrytown

Cyclists stopping in Tarrytown can find plenty of sweet spots for picnicing along the lakes. On the grassy apron in front of the old pumping station, there’s a bench that overlooks the reservoir.  Also, another bench sits by the water on the Tarrytown Lakes Extension trail (paved).

Tarrytown Lakes pumping station building from the Empire State Trailway in Tarrytown New York

Tarrytown Lakes pumping station, from the bike path. Instagram user Idagram13 posted this, using the hashtag #tarrytownlakes (so it shows up on the front page of our website).

And since the heart of the village is less than a mile from the lakes, you have even more options.  Grab a cup of coffee at Coffee Labs or Muddy Water; have a healthy frozen yogurt or delicious crepe at Yogurt la Crepe, or a fantastic taco or salad at Taco Project.  If you’ve only got a fiver stuffed in your spandex pocket, spend it on a hotdog at Lubins and Links — all on Main Street for the perfect light snack.

(Now all bicycling visitors to Tarrytown need is somewhere to spend the night!)