Best Hudson Valley Fall Road Trips — That You Can Make In A Day
By Ryan Deffenbaugh
Seven Lakes Drive is exactly as it sounds: A route that passes by seven lakes. As the main road through Bear Mountain and Harriman state parks, the windy passage offers gorgeous views of foliage and the small lakes that dot Harriman, New York's second largest state park. But don't take my word for it, here's a video of the drive from Sports Car Advisors "Scenic Highways Of America" tour:
This route is light on stops, but includes some great views of the Hudson on the endlessly windy Goat Trail (plus, of course, over Bear Mountain Bridge) and a trek through two state parks. The route pops out on the south end of the park in time to take the Tappan Zee Bridge back into Westchester. Perfect for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Places To Stop:
Rated the best hike in Westchester, the views of the Hudson and Bear Mountain Bridge the summit of this hike provides are worth the effort. So long as you're cool with breaking a sweat before hitting the road (the trail is about 4 miles), this hike is the perfect way to start a fall ride.
Trailhead on Route 9D just after Goat Trail.
Perkins Memorial Observatory (Top Of Bear Mountain)
Photo by Dave Overcash, via Flickr Creative Commons
If you're willing to veer a bit off course, the route up to the top of Bear Mountain is as gorgeous as it is steep and windy. It's about seven minutes to the top by car, and you'll be thankful to have four wheels and a motor as you pass cyclists struggling up the harsh incline. At the top, you can see the New York City skyline on clear days.
Veer onto Perkins Memorial Drive off Seven Lakes Drive.
Lake Tioriati Beach
Photo by ScubaBear68, via Flickr Creative Commons
Though fall isn't swim season, the beach is still a great place to pull over and stretch your legs or set up a picnic. Also a great spot to fish or kayak.
Just after the traffic circle on Seven Lakes Drive.
Photo by The Turducken, via Flickr Creative Commons
This is the final lake you'll pass, so it's a good place to pull off one last time for whatever activities you had planned. Sebago is the largest, and strangest shaped, lake in the park as well.
Gypsy Donut & Espresso Bar
How about some donuts before crossing back over the river? You can't do any better than this Nyack spot. We've already raved about the donut shop's maple bacon and salted caramel varieties. This is a popular stop for cyclists, but we're pretty sure they'll still accept you even though you ventured through the park the easy way.
18 N Franklin St