Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Mountain Biking destinations in the Jewish Catskills

Posted by heshman on July 7, 2006

I only make fun frummies because I love them. So to show my love I have decided to make up a guide for frummies, vacationing, fressing, learning, shidduching, and bumming around the lower catskills region.

I know most of the fine frum folk who come to the Catskills want to eat dougies, bowl at Kiamesha lanes, and try and pick up girls on Saturday nights in Woodbourne. A small miniscule number of you may be interested in hiking, kayaking and mountain biking, for you gracious souls I dedicate this post.

 Within a a 30 mile radius from the center of frum Catskill life otherwise known as woodbourne lies a few oppurtunities to ride your mountain bike.

Stewart State Forest– Located off Route 17k in Maybrook NY, this 4000 acre playland is the largest trail system in NY state. It features hundreds of miles of smooth, flowy pristine single track. This is my favorite place to ride in the state, and can be ridden for 8 hours without riding the same trail twice.

Directions to Stewart, known by the locals as the old airforce base. Follow 17 East to the Montgomery Exit Route 17k, take a left at the end of the ramp. Continue on this road for approx. 10 miles until route 208- about 1/2 mile past this intersection is a road called Barron rd, take a right and follow to the end, where there is a parking lot and a map. Many trails are accessible from this entrance. The far entrance is as follows, when reaching route 208 take a right turn, go south through Maybrook and stay on road. About 2 miles past Maybrook after crossing 2 bridges you will come to a very sharp right turn in the road, go straight onto Forester road rather then follwong this sharp turn. At the end of that road take a left, you should now be on route 207, On your left about 4 miles down is a State of NY sign- those brown ones seen throughout NY state. This area of the forest is where most of the races take place- many of these trails are unmarked, but are very easy to connect and create a very smooth fast ride.

Walnut Mountain, Liberty – Just off route 55 east coming out of Liberty towards route 17b is Walnut Mountain, not really a mountain, but it does contain some of the only mountain biking in close proximity to frummy camps, bungalows, and kosher eateries. Look for Walnut mountain road, at the endof this rd is the park. The main fire road is a grueling climb on red earth and a few rock gardens. Aftet reaching the top there are some singletrack options though since not many people ride this, they may be cluttered with dead fall, and overgrown bushes. This is a good quick ride for 45 minutes or so.

Woodridge- Mountaindale Rail to Trail- Yes boys it’s a rail to trail, for those of you who get desperate and need to see some mud or trees while riding on a very easy car free path, this is you. Also good for walking, or maybe even a shidduch date for the “open minded” girl. At the end of main street in Woodridge is where one would pick this trail up.

Minnewaska State Park – famous for its rock climbing in the world class gunks, Minnewaska contains some of the best scenery in NY state, and some great swimming for those of you who will not swim with women like myself. Located 10 miles from Ellenville it is about 30 minutes drive from Woodbourne. From Woodbourne take 52 east to Ellenville make a left on route 209 going north, About 6 miles up is the junction of routes 44/55 going east, take a left go about 5 miles. Check out the views as you go up. Park entrance is on right hand side. If you arrive after 6pm the attendant does not charge the normal $7 parking fee.

The riding here is not hard or technical. It is paths covered with ground gravel that wind around the park. The main loop requires about a 4 mile gradual uphill followed by the same downhill. At the top are some of the best views around, and during riding you will see numerous waterfalls, wildflowers, and jagged granite cliffs. Take the optional Lake Awosting loop which adds about 5 miles, well worth the trip, take a dip if you want. I always just leap off some rocks in my undies while riding around the lake. You can find your own little secluded spot to escape the half naked women if thats your thing.

Jockey Hill, Kingston- For those brave souls who travel a little farther I would recomend Jockey Hill. It is about 30 miles north of Ellenville. Take Route 209 north 30 miles to route 28 west. About 3 miles on route 28 you will see a quarry on your right the next street after this is Morray Hill road, take a right, there should be a live bait store on the corner. At the end of this street, take a right, follow to Jockey hill rd, it is your 3rd or 4th street on your right. Fllow to end of road. At the end there is a dirt road that leads to a parking lot. This area is very rocky and contains alot of pointy slate, be sure to bring spare tubes. It also is pretty damp in there so bugs are quite non-stop. The solitude is great and the riding super technical with short steep climbs and long gradual downhills.

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