Low Impact Bicycle Rides in the New York / Long Island / Hudson Valley Region
One of Long Island's most popular "low-impact" trails, the 12.5 mile Bethpage Bikeway connects the Woodbury/Syosset area with Bethpage State Park and the Massapequa Preserve. The $7 million expansion from Bethpage State Park to Woodbury Road in 2013-2014 brings this bikeway up to par with some of the best New York State has to offer.
Note: BRING WATER! There are not many places for drinks or snacks along the bikeway!
if you are looking for the easiest, most scenic section of this bikeway for a
short, easy-paced ride, consider starting in the parking lot adjacent to the
Massapequa Park LIRR station and heading north instead of south, as the
following guide describes.
The segment of the ride described above is a bit on the dangerous side, so I wouldn't do it with children or inexperienced cyclists. Instead, consider driving to the small parking lot just south of Woodbury Rd and Sunnyside Blvd and starting your ride from there. However, note that the first segment of the bikeway, from Woodbury Rd to Washington Ave, is hilly and disrupted by a few parkway/expressway on and off ramps that can challenge kids and newbie riders. As of June, 2014, there was another parking area under construction at Washington Avenue, so you might even want to begin the ride there, instead. From Washington Avenue south, it's a great ride for all ages.
Backing up, however, to the Woodbury Rd start point, the ride up Sunnyside Blvd is a gradual uphill that could knock the wind out of a first-timer or a kid on 12"-16" wheels. There's also very little scenery here. Shortly after starting the ride, you will have to cross a somewhat tricky entrance/exit to the Northern State Parkway. Then, after you've turned the corner on Sunnyside, you'll have to cross it just short of the very busy entrance to the Long Island Expressway. This will take you to the continuation of the bikeway, which skirts the LIE Service Road all the way to Washington Ave. This section involves a challenging climb against fast-moving traffic, although you are safely separated from the service road itself. I only mention this for the sake of those who might not have the nerves to negotiate such a climb with the sound and stimulation of 60mph traffic roaring by. NOTE for Experienced Riders: If you need water at this point, cross over the LIE on Sunnyside Blvd (before turning onto the bikeway) and you will find a 7-Eleven at the corner.
at Washington Ave, the rest of the ride to Bethpage State Park is a series of
gently rolling hills spread out among long, flat segments that are likely to be
filled with joggers, dog walkers, strollers, and of course, other
cyclists. All major road crossings have traffic lights, and all secondary
street crossings have signage advising motorists to stop for cyclists. As
you ride, keep an eye out for additional parking areas, in case you decide to
use a different starting point the next time around. Also note that there
is a popular eatery (The
Coliseum Kitchen) located a few blocks north of the bikeway at Old Country
of Bethpage State Park, the bikeway parallels the
#1: There will come
a point, when you reach the end of the
#2: Right after the
overpass described above, you'll come to a sign that reads "Welcome to
#3: If and when you
reach Sunrise Highway (27A), the trail will appear to end. If you'd like
to continue to
Here's a connection that
many bikers make all the time using highly-trafficked
At the end of the
concrete spur, turn right onto
· Veer left on Prospect Place and go straight 2/10 mile to Hicksville Road.
· Make a left onto Hicksville Road and a right at the first corner onto Maple Street.
Take Maple Street
3/10 mile to Seaford Avenue.
Make a left onto Seaford Avenue.
Make a left onto Seaford Avenue.
· Continue 1/10 mile and enter the Tackapausha Preserve on your right.
· Use the paved path that skirts the pond, continually bearing right (do not head toward Merrick Road.) Eventually, you’ll see a small opening in a fence and the paved path will end.
Enter a path with
a wood chip surface for about 100 feet. Look
to the left for an opening in the fence and exit the path here.
Now you’ll be on the grounds of the Takapausha Museum.
Get on the paved path and exit the museum parking lot onto Washington
Make a right onto
Washington Avenue and go 1/10 mile to the first left turn, which is Waverly
Avenue (United Methodist Church on corner).
Make a left onto
Waverly, cross under Rt. 135, and continue to the end (at 9/10 mile).
Make a left onto
Willoughby Avenue and go 2/10 mile toward Merrick Road.
· Before reaching Merrick Road, make a right into the shopping strip and ride behind the stores 1/10 mile to Spruce Avenue.
· Make a right onto Spruce and go 1/10 mile to Walters Avenue.
Make a left onto
Walters Avenue and proceed 1/10 mile to Fir Street.
Make a left onto Fir Street and continue 1/10 mile to
Merrick Road. Cedar Creek Park will
be directly across the street. This
is the exit, but it is safer to cross here (at the light) than to cross into the
entrance, which is one block further.
2. Cedar Creek Park To Jones Beach
off on a hot summer day with this popular bike and roller blade route to some of
Food and refreshments are available when the beaches are open, as are picnic facilities at Zack's bay. If you don't mind walking (or walking your bike) about a 1/2 mile from the East Bath House along the boardwalk, you can make your way to the main promenade of Jones Beach, where you’ll find a snack bar with outdoor eating, a gift shop, an ice cream stand, and more. Bicycling is permitted on the boardwalk between October 1 and March 1 only. Bicycles are not allowed in the parking lot of TOBAY Beach at any time, so if you plan to hit the water or stop for a meal at any of TOBAY's waterside restaurants, bring a good lock.
The ride from
To get to
NOTES: 1) This path is maintained by the Massapequa Park Bicycle Club. Visit their website at www.massparkbikeclub.org to say thanks! 2) Just north of the last bridge before the beach, a gravel walkway leads to the water, where a wooden boardwalk carries walkers under the bridge and to the opposite side of the parkway, where some type of surprise (a park?) seems to be under construction. This side-route is intended for pedestrians only, and a sign warns "No Bicycles." 3) If you plan to ride the entire route from Cedar Creek to TOBAY, be sure to bring a good supply of water, unless you want to pay top dollar at one of the snack bars. There are no stops and no call boxes between Cedar Creek and Zack's Bay or between Jones Beach and TOBAY Beach.
extended version of the above trail for anyone ambitious enough to ride all the
way from Westbury to Jones
Please note that the trail north of Cedar Creek is in pretty poor condition, although some repairs were made in 2007. Many of the sections come dangerously close to the parkway itself, and there are also several exit ramp crossings along the way. There's also some on-road riding which varies from quiet neighborhood streets to some major roads. This ride (north of Cedar Creek) is not recommended for inexperienced riders or for road bikes. It is, however, a satisfying 35 + mile round trip with a refreshing pay-off (swimming or foot-soaking at Zack's Bay) in the middle.
actually begins at
After you exit at Old Country Road East, make your first possible right turn onto Apex Lane. Next, take an immediate right onto Acre Lane. A2/10 of a mile, directly across from house # 167, there's an opening in the fence on your right that leads onto the path. Make a left and head south.
Take the path approximately 4.5 miles until the pavement ends and bear left to Park Drive. To get around the Southern State Parkway and continue on the path, you'll have to ride some neighborhood streets for a bit. Here's how to do it:
Make a right onto
Park Drive and ride 3/10 mile to Weaving Lane. Make a right on Weaving Lane.
Ride 6/10 mile to
At first, the trail will be dirt and will twist and wind through trees and grass. In fact, for a few minutes, it might appear there is no trail at all. Don't worry. After a short while, it will connect with a paved path that leads out of Wantagh High School. If you'd like to skip the Westbury to Wantagh portion of this trail and use Wantagh High School as your starting point, use the following directions:
Anyway, back to the trail itself. Although I haven't yet clocked the mileage on this central portion of the trail, I'd estimate it's about two miles from the entrance on Duck Pond (a little shorter from Wantagh High School) until the end at Park Avenue in Wantagh. At Park Avenue, make a right, pass the Mill Pond Preserve on your right, and make a left onto Old Mill Road. Follow Old Mill Road along the southern portion of the Nature Preserve about 1/2 mile to Sunrise Highway (Note: If you're in the mood for a short nature walk, you can actually enter this nature preserve off of Park Avenue, dismount your bike and walk through it until you get to an opening in the fence further south. Bike riding is not permitted here, though.)
When you reach
Find a safe place
To use Cedar Creek park as a starting point, see the directions above.
NOTES ON YOUR RETURN TRIP:
1. When you reach Park Drive (not Park Avenue), your landmark for the path entrance is Lawn Circle on your right. The entrance is shortly before Lawn Circle on the left side of the road.
2. Remember how the portion of the trail between Duckpond Drive and the Wantagh High School alternated between dirt and pavement? On the way up north, be sure that, when the pavement veers right toward Wantagh High School, you bear left onto the dirt path and continue all the way back to Duck Pond Drive.
3.The exit trail