November/December 1995, p.17

Joyride #8: Highlands Tour

This ride is a 70-mile, seven-county trek with an initial leg in the suburbs, one punishing climb and great country riding through the Newark watershed, a corner of Sterling Forest and the length of Harriman/Bear Mountain Park, with a return to Manhattan via Metro-North train (bike pass required).

START: George Washington Bridge to New Jersey (Fort Lee)
Left on Rte 505
First Right: diagonal connector street to Main St.
Right on Main St.
Continue (Main St. becomes Fort Lee Rd., cross creek and highway, becomes DeGraw Ave.)
Left on Teaneck Rd.
Right on Fort Lee Rd.
To bottom of hill, proceed through RR track pedestrian crossing. Continue on Ft. Lee Rd., cross Hackensack River
Bear Right, Bridge St. Bergen St., Myer St.
Left on Union St.
Right on Essex St. several miles (note: Triboro Diner on left)
Right on Saddle River Rd. (note: bike path to right of road parallels this segment)
Right on Red Mill Rd.
Immediate Left on Paramus Rd.
(This is a problem intersection; you have to cross the median here.)
Left, Century Rd.
Right, Saddle River Rd. becomes Prospect St.
Bear left, Ackerman Ave.
Left, Godwin Ave.
Left, Franklin Ave. to end (historical site on right)
Left on Ramapo Valley Rd. (under highway bridge)
Right on W. Oakland Ave.
Right on Skyline Dr. (to end over Ramapo Mountain this is the punishing climb)
Right on Greenwood Lake Tpke. (Wanaque Reservoir on left)
Right on Sloatsburg Rd. (This is Sterling Forest: see advocacy note below)
Bear Right at fork (Orange Cty Rte 72, not Rte 84) to end follow signs for ramp that loops around to Rte. 17 North
Right on Rte 17 north (highwayish, but only on it for a mile)
Right on Seven Lakes Drive (about 16-17 miles at Palisades Parkway interchange, follow 7 Lakes Drive/Bear Mtn/Perkins Dr. signs)
Down switchback into Hudson R. valley (views!)
Left on Access Rd. to Rte 9W north (look for signs)
Left on Rte. 9W North
Right at traffic circle, to Bear Mtn Bridge
Cross bridge
Left on Rte. 9D North (alternate route: Right, Rtes 6/202 to Peekskill 5 miles with climb over arm of mountain)
Rte 9D to Garrison Station (4.5 miles left at "Garrison's Crossing" signs) or Cold Spring (9 miles left into village at traffic signal by church) Station at foot of village near river.

  • Advocacy note: Sterling Forest hangs in the balance between preservation and being developed, paved over, and flooded with traffic. New York and New Jersey Governors Pataki and Whitman have crafted a deal to buy the Forest, creating an unbroken chain of protected public lands from the NJ Highlands through Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks to the Hudson River. The purchase deal will require federal participation, and western Republicans in the House are holding the process up in Congress.
    To find out how to help, call Sterling Forest Resources: 914-294-3098.