The Empire State Trail parking area on Rt. 6 is across the street from Bikeways, a bike shop that provided easy google map directions which helped me find my way back to the trail. I’m still not able to use the trail maps as a google map link for navigating back to the spot that my last ride finished, it’s not a problem.
Today’s ride started at 11:30 am it was cold, 26 degrees, and windy. Pulling out of the parking lot I thought it might be an uncomfortable cold ride, after a few miles of roller-coaster hills, it wasn’t.
Halfway between Mahopac and Brewster, there’s a cross trail that features a tuning station with compressed air, for a minute I was confused as to which route to take, no signage for the Empire State Trail. Then a fellow walking his dog came by and assured me that straight on was the way to go.
After a few more mild hills the trail rolls into Brewster, at the first railway crossing there’s a big sign that says “trail closed”. Not much in the way of directions at that point but the choices are either go right, up a steep hill or turn around, I went up the hill. Riding on a side road through a residential zone, as I crested the hill a sign for the Empire State Trail came into view, over a small bridge and a left turn at the light, I was in the middle of Brewster. A few hundred yards up the street I noticed a county kitchen that looked like a coffee shop, which would have been a welcome break but it was closed. Then I saw another EST sign, took a hard right turn up a hill, and was back on the trail.
From this point on the trail is extremely private, with very few homes, hugging a retired rail track for about 10 miles all the way to Holmes where I decided to turn around, my Strava app reported that I’d put in 19 miles up to the intersection at Holmes rd.
Riding back was dreamy, the first 10 miles downhill. I stopped for a peanut butter sandwich which luckily I’d packed at the southeastern end of what a sign indicated to be “the great marsh”.
This is a must-stop location on the trail where in the spring, as things warm up, I’m sure nature erupts into color and song.
Overall, this was my favorite ride to date. It’s where the trail truly enters into wild territory.
I saw very few other people, only 7 bike riders, a few mothers with strollers, and about 10 men walking their dogs.