Pedal mettle: Mountain biking and road cycling in the Catskills

Above: A mountain biker races in Hurley in 2013. Photo by Tim Kleeger of Fats in the Cats.

The Catskill Mountains were made for road cycling and mountain biking, with miles of paved, lightly trafficked roads and rugged mountain trails. For those who love to shred shale, the region is a mountain biker’s paradise.

The FATS IN THE CATS BICYCLE CLUB ( has over 150 members and has been around since 1994, with rides for bikers of all abilities, including a weekly “newbie” rider group.

In the summer, Catskills ski mountains turn into mountain bike parks. PLATTEKILL MOUNTAIN ( in Roxbury, BELLEAYRE MOUNTAIN ( in Highmount and WINDHAM MOUNTAIN ( in Windham all have bike trails. (Belleayre's biking trails are free.) 

The ski mountains host big biking events. From August 6 through August 9, Windham hosts the UCI MOUNTAIN BIKE WORLD CUP FESTIVAL (, which features four days of pro racing and community fun. On August 23, Belleayre is hosting the 5th annual BELLEAYRE ALL TERRAIN CHALLENGE, a five-mile cross-country course. 

And just this month, Windham opened the WINDHAM MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK (, which features four professionally-designed mountain bike trails, one of which follows a portion of the World Cup route, according to the Mountain Eagle

In an article about the new bike park, the Times Union interviewed Windham's highway superintendent, who says more mountain biking tourists are coming to town: 

Native and lifelong resident Thomas Hoyt, 48, who is also the town highway superintendent, said he is noticing the tourist influx. "We usually start seeing extra people coming into town on Thursday evening. You see people riding along the local roads, stretching their legs before they go up on the mountain."

Above: Riders take on the brand-new Windham Mountain Bike Park in a promo video

Many of the 300 miles of public trails that criss-cross the Catskill Park are multi-use, which means you can break out your (non-motorized) wheels on them. Try the new red-blazed loop trails off the Escarpment Trail in the 1,355-acre ELM RIDGE WILD FOREST in Windham.

For bikers with a yen for competition, the NEW YORK STATE MOUNTAIN BIKE SERIES ( hosts mountain biking races across the Catskills all summer.

Road cyclists love the Catskills as much as their dirt-riding brethren. Every summer, pro and amateur cyclists swarm to Greene County for the TOUR OF THE CATSKILLS, a three-day series of cycling road races and time trials ( The bravest cyclists tackle the infamous Devil’s Kitchen, a two-mile ride up 1,200 feet on the steep, seasonal Platte Clove Road. This year's tour begins on July 31. 

The WOMEN’S WOODSTOCK CYCLING GRAND PRIX (, held in May, is one of the few women-only cycling road races in America, covering 50 miles of hilly terrain in Ulster County.

Just beginning to cycle the roads? The cycling website RIDING THE CATSKILLS ( offers advice, turn-by-turn cue sheets and maps.

This article originally appeared in the print version of the 2015 Catskills Outdoor Guide, our annual publication the Catskills outdoors. The Catskills Outdoor Guide is distributed across the Catskills region and at select locations in the NYC metropolitan area. Find a copy near you here.