Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail out of Cold Spring (School Mtn Lollipop) - gravel

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  • Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail out of Cold Spring (School Mtn Lollipop) - gravel
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General Information
Way Points: 

Cold Spring (start)> 301> 9> Campbell Rd> School Mtn Rd> Hubbard Perkins Loop Trail> School Mtn Rd> 9 > 301> Cold Spring(end)

Hank Schiffman
Signature Route : 
A, B
Vertical Gain: 
Difficulty Rating: 
5 out of 5
Attached Files

No, not the Perkins of Bear Mountain, the lake you will ride by.

This has to be the best, legal gravel route closest to NYC. The newly constructed trail/ road is designed to resist erosion. And it is car-free. The entire landscape has been untouched by the hand of man for many years. Ah wilderness! Once you turn off Rt 9, you are off road until you return.

We can all thank Fahnestock State Park for having the forsight, political will, funding, and expertise in trail construction.

The ascent from the train at Cold Spring to the start at School Mtn Rd will take most of us the better part of a half hour. It is one, long climb with a few steeper sections.

For those who have a car and plan to drive, there is parking on Campbell Rd, by the start of SMR.

What is the road/trail surface like? Pretty much like a hard pack road. Good traction with some stones here and there.

All intersections are well marked with trail signs on vertical posts. If you find yourself on singletrack/hiking trail, you have not been paying attention.

School Mountain Road, access to the actual loop, continues on to East Mountain Road, only a bit further than where you intersect it for the return. Consider including this loop, or just School Mountain Road, as part of a longer day. Before its renovation, SMR was a wild and wooly multi-use beast. It still is a vertical affair, but it has been domesticated, toned down for the masses. A tip of the helmet to John Z, who lead the first club ride up it so many years ago when it was feral.

The route is a lollipop, but a better description is a flag on a flagpole, with SMR as the pole. We are riding the loop counterclockwise to break up the ascent, butr either direction will work.

I’ve also bypassed the part of the ascent off SMR for a section onto the Hubbard Trail so as to avoid a set of stairs, a stream crossing walking the bike on rails, and a small bridge that is accessed by stairs on both ends, a bit further up. They are on SMR itself. I have you returning over this section of SMR on the descent. However, if you wish, you can take the right onto the Hubbard Trail on the descent and avoid getting off your bike. But staying on SMR gives you access to riding along a lovely stream.

Other than the aforementioned short section, the only other features that might daunt the rider are rock-lined spillways built to shunt running water to avoid erosion. Most of these are easily mastered; a few can be, well, daunting to the uninitiated. No harm walking. You ride them like going off a curb: out of the saddle and push the bike in front of you, then peddle up the far side. The 2 steepest of these are in and around mile 10, on the descent of SMR.

If you still want more riding after the main event, take a right on Rt 9 going north 0.7 mile to a left on Jaycox Rd. It will soon turn to hardpack. Follow it to the end where it T's with Rt 301 on the descent to Cold Spring. It will cost you an additonal 0.9 mile to the ride. Best to check with train times at Cold Spring to see if it fits into your plan.

Note of 10/12/2022: As the park's department continues to fine tune this trail, they have re-routed a section, which I assume it is to avoid sections of standing water. Thus your GPS device will give you error readings from mile 3.8 to 4.6 or thereabouts; pay it no mind. I've tried to incorporate my GPX route to update the GWGPS route, but the software wants to follow the old route. No doubt the fault lies with me...               

HS 10/12/2022

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