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Bicycling

group mountain biking down a wide trail
biking

New York State offers residents and visitors numerous and varied cycling opportunities. From mountain biking in the Catskills and Adirondacks, to biking along an old forest road in Camp Santanoni Historic Area, to biking the paved bike path along the Erie Canal - New York State has something for every cyclist.

On DEC lands biking is allowed on all multiple use trails, roads open to public motorized vehicles, and other trails designated for bicycling. So whether you are seeking gentle off-road biking or hard core single-track mountain biking New York has it for you.

Information on biking safety and trail etiquette

Off-road Biking (Double track)

Are you looking to get off the road, but not up for a narrow single track bike trail? New York's extensive network of dirt roads, old forest roads and former railroad beds are just what you are looking for. Here is a sample of DEC properties with off-road biking. To explore other DEC lands across the state, visit our places to go page.

Where to Go

Camp Santanoni Historic Area
Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Bloomingdale Bog Trail on Saranac Lakes Wild Forest
Stewart State Forest
Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands

Mountain Biking (Single track)

Man mountain biking in the forest

Are you looking for the single track mountain biking experience? DEC is actively working to increase the mountain biking opportunities on its lands. Through volunteer stewardship agreements with local mountain bike clubs, single track trails are developed and maintained for all abilities and styles of riding. To explore other DEC lands across the state, visit our places to go page.

Long Island (Region 1)

Peconic Headwaters Natural Resource Management Area (formerly Navy Cooperative Area / Otis Pike Preserve)
Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest

Lower Hudson Valley (Region 3)

Stewart State Forest
Bluestone Wild Forest

Capital Region/Northern Catskills (Region 4)

group on mountain bikiers resting by a pond

Elm Ridge Wild Forest
Pittstown State Forest

Eastern Adirondacks/Lake Champlain (Region 5)

Moose River Plains Wild Forest
Wilmington Wild Forest
Whiteface Mountain Ski Area (leaves DEC website)

Western Adirondacks/ Upper Mohawk Valley/ Eastern Lake Ontario (Region 6)

Downerville State Forest
Winona State Forest

Central New York (Region 7)

Bear Swamp State Forest
Oakley Corners State Forest
Hammond Hill State Forest
Shindagin Hollow State Forest

Western New York (Region 9)

Rock City / McCarty Hill State Forests
Golden Hill State Forest

Trail Etiquette

group of kids starting a bike ride on a trail

(Adapted from the International Mountain Bicycling Association's "Rules of the Trail.")

  • Ride Open Trails
    • Respect trail and road closures - ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail.
    • Do not trespass on private land.
    • Obtain permits or other authorization as required.
    • Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as State or Federal Wilderness.
  • Leave No Trace
    • Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options.
    • Stay on existing trails and do not creating new ones.
    • Don't cut switchbacks.
    • Pack out at least as much as you pack in.
  • Control Your Bicycle
    • Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk.
    • Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.
  • Yield Appropriately
    • Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you're coming - a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods.
    • Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners.
    • Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel.
    • Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic.
    • In general, strive to respect everyone you meet on the trail.
  • Never Scare Animals
    • Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise.
    • Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you.
    • When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain).
  • Plan Ahead
    • Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly.
    • Strive to be self-sufficient:
      • Keep your equipment in good repair and
      • Carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions.
      • Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear
  • Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species
  • Additional information on Outdoor Safety

Additional Information

See I Love NY website (leaves DEC website) for information on bicycling in New York.