Best Ride NY: Ulster County

Favorite Motorcycle Ride: Greene County to Ulster County, NY

This scenic ride is surprisingly direct: 23A to 214. While 23A is the quickest route to the Catskill Mountains from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, it is not heavily travelled during motorcycle season. This short ride, just under an hour, speeds past a variety of scenery as the landscape changes dramatically. After escaping the urban sprawl of Catskill outskirts, you ride past long, flat vistas of working farms. Fields of corn and cows zoom into steep, swishing mountain passes. Slow down for the pedestrians near Kaaterskill Falls, or even better, park and take a hike.

The next bit of road is a blast if you can catch it early, before the hikers are about and cars are few. The road changes back and again, from narrow to wide, with sweeping turns and tight ones, too. The speed limit here is 55, but be careful.

You are now approaching what was once known as the “Borscht Belt” or “The Jewish Alps.” These were colloquial terms for the Catskill Mountain summer resorts that were a popular vacation spot for NYC Jews for about 50 years, beginning in 1920. 

Route 23A continues to climb and off in the distance you can see the slopes of Hunter Mountain. This is ski country and popular artsy villages have sprouted up to accommodate the tourist trade. A left onto 214 and the scenery changes again. Coming down off the mountain now, compact communities with homes set back from the road are replaced by trees and no shoulder. Slower now, but more windy. Phoenicia, our final destination, approaches. Houses reappear and the road levels out.

There are plenty of places to eat in Phoenica. For breakfast or lunch, we highly recommend the Phoenicia Diner or Brio’s.

*While our route begins at the Rip Van Winkle bridge, you can easily skip the first 7 very urban miles and begin at the intersection of Routes 23A and 32.

Click for Best Ride Ulster County route
Approximately 53 minutes each way


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