Engaging Getaways and Venues for:
Time: 1 to 4 hours, depending on your itinerary and desire
Distance: 1 to 30 miles (16 miles roundtrip on the rail trail; about 14 miles roundtrip for the aqueduct ride, including the ride through the village to get there.)
Parking: There is ample parking at the lot at the exit for Farragut Rd. on the Saw Mill Parkway.
Viewpoints: The rail trail provides a pleasant, level wooded ride disturbed only by the traffic of the Saw Mill Parkway and the New York Thruway. The aqueduct has views of the river, but you’ll want some kind of crossover bike if you intend to ride both trails.
Precautions: Watch for road traffic when crossing roads on the rail trail, or when riding to pick up the aqueduct trail.
Maps: None are needed. You will, however, need the map for Escape 2: A Walk Along the Aqueduct, Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., for the aqueduct portion of this ride.
For those who would like to take the rail trail, proceed north on the paved bike path. The Saw Mill Parkway is to your left. Proceed north toward Elmsford, about 8 miles, through forests and past a lake and a waterfall. There are signposts with historical notes about the Putnam railroad. You can turn around at any time or proceed to Elmsford.
At Main St. in Elmsford, turn around and retrace your path. The trail continues further north, but you must follow a series of busy roads to find the path. If you want some cheap but good Mexican food, turn right on Main St. and walk a short distance to the corner of Saw Mill River Rd., where you’ll find Comidas de Mexico.
Proceed back to the parking lot. For the aqueduct ride, proceed south on the trail, with the parkway to your right.
After you pass a small office building on your right, there is a road to your right that crosses the Saw Mill Parkway at a stoplight. This is Hearst St. Go right and proceed to the parkway. There is a button to control the stoplight for pedestrians. This is a very dangerous crossing, so take special care. Ride a short distance on Hearst St.
Make a right on Clunie Ave. and follow it to its end. A dike to your right protects the local neighborhood from the Saw Mill Parkway when it floods.
Make a left onto Tompkins Ave. The road crosses another and then proceeds uphill for much of the way to Broadway. Take your time. This is the steepest stretch of the ride.
Make a right on Broadway. This is the same Broadway that begins in Manhattan and continues north to Albany, the state capitol, and beyond. Take special care as you ride along Broadway. It has two lanes heading north and is not particularly busy, but cars travel fast.
Cross Farragut Parkway (it’s a four-lane road but not a highway.). There’s a brick church above to your right. Proceed straight to the Old Croton Aqueduct, which is marked by a green post with the letters OCA. This is Waypoint 3 of the Short Escapes Near New York City Aqueduct Walk in Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry. The trail is packed dirt, best suited for, at least, a crossover bike.
Proceed on to the Old Croton Aqueduct. This is Waypoint 3 of Escape 2: A Walk Along the Aqueduct, Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. The trail is packed dirt, best suited for mountain or crossover bikes. You can follow this trail beyond Irvington to the border of Tarrytown on Broadway, about eight miles north, visiting Dobbs Ferry and Irvington along the way. If you seek refreshments or want to visit the village of Hastings-on-Hudson, proceed downhill on Main St., past the A&P supermarket.
When you return to Waypoint 5, you can go back the way you came on Broadway. Or you can continue to follow the aqueduct by crossing Broadway and resuming your ride along the aqueduct as it heads to the right of an apartment building back into the woods. From here, proceed less than a mile, crossing one paved road and then riding through a residential parking lot and a small road known as aqueduct lane to rejoin the dirt path of the aqueduct as it re-enters the forest.
Make a left onto Pinecrest Drive. It's a paved road that veers left up a hill away from the aqueduct but in the same direction, before turning more sharply to the left up to Broadway. This is the second steepest part of the ride.
When you reach Broadway, turn right and proceed a short distance to the first left. You are back at Waypoint 4. Proceed down Tompkins Ave., retracing your path to your car.