This route was created by John Z.
Studying and printing all maps presented will save you a lot of confusion on the road.
Metro North bike permit required as an out and back on different train lines: Harlem out, Hudson back, thus it is not car friendly.
Road riding kept to a minimun. These roads either have shoulders or are less traveled.
This route falls outside the purview of all but a handfull of cyclists.
Cycling in Ninham State Park is optional. This route offers suggestions. As this mtn bike friendly park is a work in progress, up to date maps can be a challenge to obtain.
Ninham offers scenic views from atop its fire tower. On a clear day you can just make out the Manhattan skyline, the Catskills and the southern Berkshires. It is open to the public but requiring ascent up numerous flights of stairs. A downhill course from the summit, is located by a small structure, virtually adjacent to the tower. Do not be lulled into complacency over a seemingly easy trail as gravity, drop offs, rocks, roots, turns and downed limbs can conspire to put you out of control in a moment.
This route has no obvious facilities for food or water. Although Fahnestock SP might have some water in season, do not count on anyone other than yourself for support.
Unimproved roads and trails on this route offer challenges and dangers. You must be skilled at mtn biking to consider this route. You will need to have at least front suspension on a well-maintained mtn bike. Full suspension with lots of travel can make this route a better ride but there is no substitute for common sense, skills and preparation. Under the best circumstances, no one will be able to ride all trails on this route without getting off the bike and walking it over obstacles and challenges. Knowing your limits is one of the things which make mtn biking a fulfilling pursuit.
Wise mtn bikers off road will carry all those things a road biker caries plus a spare derailleur hanger, a master chain link and a chain tool, allen wrenches, a first aid kit, body armor, working headlamps, space blankets, matches, a compass and a personal communication device. None of these will cover all possible contingencies.
Be mindfull that this ride traverses sections of the Hudson Highlands. Loose rocks, erosions, downed tree limbs, streams, drop offs both on the proscribed trails and off the edges of trail, and low branches present challenges that make this sport interesting and dangerous.
Disease carrying ticks and poison ivy present real dangers, particularly in the temperate months of the year. Unstable trail surfaces arise around the next turn. Landing squarely on a rock is not conducive to your health. Traveling alone is not advised.
The author and 4 other experienced riders spent just under 6 hours riding this route under optimal weather on dry off trail conditions from station to station with short breaks along the way.
Mind your time on this route as misdirection, exploration, mechanicals and misadventures can eat up time. Bear in mind that Rt 301 is your ticket back to Carmel, or on to Cold Spring, although it might not be within easy reach.
Use this link for a description of Ninham east of Gipsy Trail you will enter from Nichols St: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/put1.pdf
From the P, parking area, follow the trail either directly to the P, parking east of Gipsy Trail, or take a right on the blue trail (called Blue Loop, off of the Rinaldi Trail) before a pine grove on a straight, relatively flat section. The blue trail (red on this map) will wind and ascend. You will need to take a right to get you to the exit parking area. Another map of Ninham trails, more complete east of Gipsy Trail: http://www.bikerag.com/images/MAPS/ny/ny_ninham_map.JPG
The map is of trails at Ninham SP west of Gipsy Trail. Take the yellow trail on the left before the steep ascent of Gipsey Trail before the access road to the summit. It is advanced single track. Follow the yellow marked trail into the blue marked trail. At about 1.4 miles from your start on this trail off Gipsy Trail you take a right on the blue marked trail (the yellow trail will go to the left) will emerge onto a crude woodland road. This is Coles Mills Road. The blue trail will go left on this road; you will go to the right, ascending this first section. In 0.3 miles Coles Mills Rd will have climbed and ascended a few times, ending in the mid mountain parking lot of the access road from Gipsy Trail to the fire tower. Go around the 2 gates and ascend the steep, unpaved road to the summit. The fire tower will be on the right. You may ascend the steps of the fire tower for the views, buildings in Manhattan and the Catskills can be seen depending on conditions. Descend the red trail from the summit. To find it, with your back to the base of the fire tower while facing the road you came up on, the trail is to your left. It is on the access road side of the small building before you. It is easier to find than describe. The trail might best described as a dedicated mtn biking downhill course, although not obvious at the start. Be apprised of boulders, log drops and stone piles as openings in stone walls. Exiting the trail, a left onto the road you ascended to the fire tower, and you are back at the mid mountain parking area with the public information sign and trail map. Here make a right on the carriage road you entered this area on the way up, unmarked but called Coles Mills Rd on the the larger Ninham map, which is not updated. You will soon find yourself retracing your route of the ascent on the blue trail. Continue straight on Coles Mills Rd pasting where you entered it on your ascent. Follow it to the end (the blue trail will go off to the right at one point) and be aware of the steep descent ahead. You will walk your bike extended sections on the descent to 301, as of 3/12/16 most of the descent is dangerous/unrideable. The trail ends in the driveway of a house on Rt 301 between Gipsey Trail and Dixon Rd. Take a right on 301 heading west.
The Fahnestock section of this ride can be found by going to this site and clicking on Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park Trails Plan Map: http://www.fofhh.org/master-plan