New York City’s Best Fall Foliage Rides

New York City’s Best Fall Foliage Rides

It is officially official: leaf peeping season is here.

To help NYC based riders select their ride destinations during these precious few weekends with (hopefully) beautiful weather and even more beautiful color we compiled a few of our favorite leaf peeping rides from New York City, including a recommendation from one of the foremost experts on finding the best fall foliage. 

If you have a tip on additional options that should feature on our list, definitely let us know by dropping us a note at the bottom of this post.

New York City's Best Leaf Peeping Bike Rides

Don Nieva’s Vote: Minnewaska

We asked Donalrey Nieva for his vote for the best fall foliage ride. His answer was unequivocal: "Hands down, the best place I've been to catch the leaves changing is in the Gunks.  You can spend hours exploring those carriage roads and trails but something like this route will give you a best of.  Can't wait to go back for this..."

Photo: @donalrey, who you should probably be following on Instagram.

Photo: @donalrey, who you should probably be following on Instagram.

And for those wondering about the current conditions in the Gunks, here is the view on Monday:

Storm King State Park

The roads surrounding Storm King State Park are always a popular destination for roadies hunting for a mix of fall color and dramatic views over the Hudson River. But a few years back we happened to get lost on some gravel roads on the Western edge of the park and were well rewarded for our misadventure:

The Transfer/Camping Ride: Harriman State Park

Best done as a transfer ride or our favorite - as part of a cycling focused camping trip - Harriman State Park offers a plethora of roads largely devoid of cars. And for the more adventurous there are plenty of abandoned roads, dirt roads and paths to choose from for that extra dose of color. This combination has made the Park one of our most regular leaf peeping destinations. Our wanderings from the past two years throughout the park:

Wandering Until (Mostly) Lost

While our plan may have been straightforward - to hit some of the same roads that feature in the Bear Mountain Classic - this ride helped us fall in love with Bear Mountain all over again as we wandered around backroads and trails until we were essentially lost within the confines of the park.  

Wandering Until (Mostly) Lost

Photo Rhetoric - Bear Mountain Feature-1028.jpg

In Search of Fall Color

After an incredible weekend of riding at Harriman the year prior we decided to make this trip a twofer - exploring new regions of Bear Mountain while also camping out for the night. A decision made more than worthwhile by a spectacular sunset taken in from an abandoned fire tower: 

In Search of Fall Color

Photo+Rhetoric+-+Fall+Foliage-1029.jpg

Closer to Home: River Road

Better known as River Road, Henry Hudson Drive is a centerpiece of many New York City cyclists’ instagram feeds throughout the fall. This year the ride to River Road will be more complicated thanks to construction on the George Washington Bridge but given it’s proximity to NYC River Road remains by far the easiest to access Fall Foliage in the area:

Mornings on River Road

While GWB construction and job schedules have put a damper on the team’s weekday jaunts across the Hudson to take in sunrise on River Road, these have undoubtedly been some of our more memorably mornings as NYC residents: starting before the sun has risen and finishing with coffee back in the city:

Mornings on River Road

Photo+Rhetoric+-+River+Road-1027.jpg

Another Perfect Day on the Bike?

When the leaves are on fire, it’s a no brained to hit River Road on a weekend - and to squeeze in a few off-road adventures along the way. 

Another Perfect Day on the Bike

Photo+Rhetoric+-+Team+Ride-1021.jpg

When You Want to Avoid 9W: Westchester and Thereabouts

Transfer rides in Westchester are our go to when GFNY closes down our normal roads or we just can’t stand another weekend on 9W. During the fall these rides are even more memorable as the combination of dirt roads and fall foliage are hard to beat. There are too many routes to call out in a single post but here are a few to choose from:

Riding the Dirt Roads of Westchester

We have enjoyed too many beautiful weekend days in Westchester County to count. But We still think back to this day spent squeezing in a ride before rushing back to the city for a teammates birthday party:

Riding the Dirt Roads of Westchester

Photo+Rhetoric+-+Cycling+in+Westchester-1002.jpg

Riding from Dam to Dam

There are a surprising number of dams sprinkled throughout Westchester County. So with a weekend off from racing CX we went in search of the best color the area had to offer, mixing in some familiar roads that also featured in Escape from GFNY:

From Dam to Dam on the Dirt Roads of Westchester

Photo Rhetoric - Dam Search -1031.jpg

Have a Ride that should be on our list?

Have another recommendation for a fall ride that should feature on our list? Drop us a note, we’d love to hear any additional tips and welcome guest posts:



Matthew Vandivort is a New York City based cyclist and sometimes photographer who was also a founding member of To Be Determined. You can follow him online at @photorhetoric or http://photo-rhetoric.com/