North County Trailway
“Gentle and spectacularly beautiful in spots. Tucked in among farms, suburbs and forest it is a nature lovers paradise. The very northern part does have some big hills but mostly semi-flat, so even little kids and roller bladers can do it with ease.”M. Hess
Wildflowers, cafes, villages. Deer, birds, foxes, chipmunks. Places to stop and picnic, lock up your bike and hike. 22.1 miles of bike path leave from Tarrytown on the North County Trailway, and wind through villages, the reservoir system, fields and nature preserves.
The North County Trailway is a paved, 22.1-mile bike and pedestrian pathway through Westchester County, joining Tarrytown to Yorktown Heights. At its northern end, you can continue a seamless roll onto the Putnam County Trailway to Brewster for another 11.9 miles. And at its southern end, you can join the South County Trailway and just keep going to the Bronx, and Van Cortlandt Park.
THIS TRAIL IS PERFECT FOR: Road and Hybrid Bikes; leisurely rides; autumn foliage; teaching a kid how to ride a bike.
Why does Tarrytown love the North County Trailway? While the trailway skirts the outer edge of Tarrytown, a paved “spur” trail provides easy access from the North County Trailway to Tarrytown’s lakes, the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail (perfect for hybrid bikes), and Tarrytown’s busy downtown shops and restaurants.
You have two on-road sections on the Saw Mill River Road, but these sections are brief and there’s ample signage and a wide shoulder to get you back to the path in Millwood.
Highlights of the Trailway:
- The lakeside spur bike path in Tarrytown, connecting the North County Trailway to the twin lakes, with connection downhill to Tarrytown Village and the Metro-North train station;
- The old railway bridge across the Croton Reservoir;
- Stopping for lunch in Briarcliff Village;
- Trailside Cafe in Yorktown Heights;
- Ponds and lakes along the way.
No Car? No Problem: Getting to the Trailway from New York City:
Exploring the North County Trailway is easy from New York City, even if you’re car-less. Just get a bike permit from Metro-North (good for a lifetime and available at Window 27 at Grand Central, or any of the staffed train stations for just $5.00), take the Hudson line north towards Croton-Harmon and Peekskill stations, get off at Tarrytown in under 45 minutes and start your ride! (It’s an uphill climb from the station to the “spur” start of the path at the Tarrytown Lakes, but once you’re there, it’s “pancake” flat.)
Or, take the Harlem line north to Brewster, where you’ll start the (mostly downhill) north-south route on the Putnam County Trailway. After 11 miles, you seamlessly connect to the North County Trailway for another two hours of biking. At Tarrytown, roll downhill into town for a brew and supper, or an ice cream and a coffee, and head home again. Perfect.
The longest bike path from Tarrytown, the North County Trailway can join with other contiguous trails (the Putnam County Trailway, the South County Trailway to the Moshulu Greenway in New York City, for example) to make for a whole day’s adventure. Accommodation along the route means you could extend your stay even further by staying overnight (and check out these Airbnb options in Tarrytown). Or, if you’re a real fan of the multi-day adventure, try this: ride the bike path to Brewster, board the train up to the end of the line in Wassaic, then ride the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.
If you’re riding a hybrid bike, you can hook up with the pretty Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which takes you through the woodsy fields and backyards of the Rivertowns and down into Yonkers and Van Cortland Park. I’ve shown a small section of this trail on the map below (marked in pink) but the trail extends all the way to the Croton Dam, and down to NYC, with easy access to the train stations in the Rivertowns.
How to Get There
Easy! If you start from Tarrytown’s train station or Main Street, head north up Neperan Road until you reach the Tarrytown Lakes parking area. Leaving your car there:
- Start at Tarrytown Lakes parking area on Neperan Road;
- Follow the Tarrytown Lakes Extension path north: cross the street from the parking area to pick up the bike path and travel one mile along the lake’s edge.
- Cross Neperan Road again at the old abandoned stone pump house at the north end of the lakes. Turn right along the sidewalk, and in a few yards, you’ll see a paved spur path going up a short hill to the trailways.
- At the intersection of the Trailways, left is the North County Trailway. Right (over the footbridge) is the South County Trailway.
YOU CAN ALSO ACCESS THE TRAILS BY LEAVING YOUR CAR AT THE PARK AND RIDE, ACROSS FROM THE PUMPHOUSE ON NEPERAN ROAD.
See and download the Trailway map for other access points.
Stop for a Bite or a Beer...
Outside of Tarrytown, there are some good places to stop on the trail for a snack or supper. My favorites are:
- In Briarcliff Manor (watch for the tudor-style library building to the left of the trail, and the exit. Then, ride through town by turning north on Pleasantville Road):
- Good Food serves outstanding local food prepared by an improvising, creative chef in a little storefront with tables. It’s at the end of the main drag, on the right.
- The Patio serves diner-esque choices, with a few tables outside in summer.
- The Moonbeam Cafe is the first cafe you come to, in a white house on the right, with a wide porch. Good coffee, sandwiches and pastries.
- In Millwood, I love Tazza Cafe. It’s in a little shopping center just off the trailway and, boy, I wish they’d put up a directional sign to get there, because you can’t really see it from the trail! It’s just before you get to the Millwood trailway parking area, along Route 133. Great coffee and sandwiches, speedy service, good folk.
- In Yorktown Heights:
- Trailside Cafe has organic salads, creative fruit and veg. smoothies, and fresh-as-can-be sandwiches (“Green Machine” juice, felafel wrap). They also have energy bars, cookies, etc.
- JJ’s Scoop House is a bike-friendly ice cream shop with window and outside tables, if you’re craving a hard scoop or soft serve, milkshake or shaved ice. Cross the street at Trailside Cafe and continue briefly down Kear Street.
- Kirby’s Grill and Bar is just down Kear Street from Trailside Cafe, if you’re in the mood for something more substantial or a brew. Hamburgers, fries, etc.