There are rides in New York gnarlier than the Brooklyn Bridge, if you know where to look
There are rides in New York gnarlier than the Brooklyn Bridge, if you know where to look (Photo: Leonardo Patrizi/iStock)

Is It Possible to Mountain Bike in New York City?

Believe it or not, you can ride fat tires in the Big Apple and beyond.

If you want terrain that's fit for your mountain bike, you'll have to get out of the city first.

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New York City isn’t exactly known as a premier mountain biking destination, but you can still blaze trails in and around the city. For recommendations about where to go, we asked Joe Nocella, owner of 718 Cyclery, a bike shop in Brooklyn, New York. He leads a weekly mountain bike ride and told us about his favorite spots for shredding.

Cunningham Park, Queens, New York

What to expect: Your best option for riding right in the city is Cunningham Park. Great for beginner to intermediate riders, this two-wheel playground features six and a half miles of well-maintained trails, a dirt jump park with a pump track, and rock features in the woods. “It’s pretty flowy—not very technical—but it’s immersive” says Nocella. “You forget you’re in New York City, which is kind of the point.” You won’t get a lot of climbing (the total elevation change of the whole park is 40 feet), but Cunningham is a great option for sharpening your skills.

How to get there: Take the F train to Jamaica/179th street station, pedal about 15 minutes to the trailhead at 210th Street and 67th Avenue. By car, take the Long Island Expressway to the Clearview Expressway South, then take the next exit (73rd Ave). Turn left at the light, the left again at 210th Street. 

Stillwell Woods, Long Island, New York

What to expect: Stillwell offers moderately-challenging trails that are sandy and smooth. Beginners will enjoy sweeping segments with little elevation change—ideal for practicing the basics. More advanced riders can speed along singletrack, blast through berms, and test their skills on technical features. “It’s a good place to get miles in, get a workout, and get that full-suspension bike bouncing around,” says Nocella. The beginner and intermediate trails often intersect so you can easily change your mind if you get in over your head.  

How to get there: You’ll need a once-in-a-lifetime, five dollar bike permit for the Long Island Railroad (see LIRR’s bicycle policy here). Hop on a Port Jefferson branch train at Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and get off at Cold Spring Harbor (around 40 minutes). Pedal for a mile and a half to the trailhead. 

Blue Mountain, Westchester, New York

What to expect: For intermediate to advanced riders, Blue Mountain boasts 15 miles of rocky, technical trails that are fast, flowy, and fun. “North of the city, you’ll find pretty severe geology changes so it’s definitely more challenging,” says Nocella. You’ll get a taste of rock gardens, carriage trails, big rollers, and drops as well as some leg-and-lung burning climbs just an hour train ride away. 

How to get there: Hop on the Metro North Railroad Hudson Line to Peekskill with your bike and a one-time, five-dollar bicycle pass. Then pedal about two and a half miles to the park. 

Six Mile Run, Franklin Township, New Jersey

What to expectSix Mile Run's singletrack trails cut through meadows and dive into woods—“you’ll see red clay, pine forests, and farm fields,” says Nocella. “It’s really pretty cool.” Mostly fast and flat (with the exception of a few climbs), it’s a great place to push your pace.  

How to get there: This one is tough to get to by public transportation, but it’s just over an hour away by car.

Lead Photo: Leonardo Patrizi/iStock