Bicycle trails on Long Island

The bike path at Bethpage State Park has The bike path at Bethpage State Park has few hills and meanders through the trees. Photo Credit: Bill Davis

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Sometimes, two wheels are all you need. That's when you head to one of the 18 scenic bike trails in Nassau and Suffolk.

TRAILS

1. BETHPAGE MULTIUSE PATH. Park in the picnic area lot in Bethpage State Park. The multiuse path runs the length of Bethpage Parkway, crosses Sunrise Highway and continues through Massapequa Preserve to Merrick Road. Good for beginners. Mileage: 9.5.

2. BETHPAGE MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL. Off-road, marked loop trail through pine forest has mixed terrain for mountain bikers and two challenging hills. Park at the picnic area lot in Bethpage State Park; look for white triangles on trees for starting point south of gatehouse. Mileage: 4.

3. CATHEDRAL PINES COUNTY PARK. Mostly flat, wooded, single-track, off-road; several optional hills. Trail is good for all levels, although hills are designated for more experienced riders. A Suffolk Green Key card is required. Parking fee on summer weekends. Mileage: 6; 7.5 with hills.

4. CENTRAL SUFFOLK BIKEWAY. Marked street route begins at Bethpage State Park and runs along Quaker Meeting House Road, Bethpage Road and Main Street to Farmingdale train station. It then follows the rail line into Riverhead. LIRR bike boarding passes are available for a one-time $5 fee. Mileage: 80.

5. COLD SPRING HARBOR-OYSTER BAY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. Hilly, unmarked street route begins in Cold Spring Harbor. Take Route 25A to Cove Road, then go north past Sagamore Hill to the refuge. Retrace the route. Mileage: 15.8.

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6. EASTPORT TRAIL. At Routes 51 and 111 in Eastport. A flat, single-track, off-road trail loops through wooded areas. Required: Helmets, eye protection and a permit, good for three years (free from State Department of Environmental Conservation, 631-444-0273 or www.dec.ny.gov/ outdoor/7809.html and download region 1 state land access permit). Mileage: 8.5.

7. HECKSCHER STATE PARK-CENTRAL ISLIP. Bikeway starts in Heckscher State Park; route goes north along Connetquot River into Central Islip to Central Suffolk bike path. Mileage: 5.

8. HEMPSTEAD TURNPIKE. A Nassau County-owned trail on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike runs between Hofstra University and Eisenhower Park (Merrick and Stewart avenues, East Meadow). Mileage: 2.

9. HUNTINGTON-LLOYD NECK. Scenic route goes from Cold Spring Harbor north on Woodbury Road to Huntington village. Take West Neck Road to Caumsett State Historic Park and Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge. At Caumsett, a 2-mile, off-road route (helmets required) leads to Long Island Sound. Mileage: 16.

10. JONES BEACH. (Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway) From Cedar Creek Park, south of Merrick Road, a multipurpose path parallels Wantagh Parkway to Jones Beach State Park, near the amphitheater. Mileage: 4.5.

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11. KINGS PARK HIKE AND BIKE TRAIL. Hilly trail connects downtown Kings Park with Nissequogue River State Park. Follows the old railroad spur from Old Dock Road, just east of Church Street, to St. Johnland Road. Trail runs through the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center and into state park. Good for a short, scenic ride or hike. Mileage: 1.4.

12. NASSAU-SUFFOLK GREENBELT MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL. Part of unpaved, off-road national recreation trail is marked for mountain bikes (helmets required). From Bethpage State Park picnic area north to Stillwell Woods in Syosset; challenging hills. Mileage: 8. Stillwell Woods has a 4-mile loop with difficult terrain.

13. NISSEQUOGUE-STONY BROOK-OLD FIELD. Hilly route through Stony Brook begins near the mouth of the Nissequogue River in Smithtown and goes via Moriches Road to Head of the Harbor, where Harbor Road leads into Stony Brook. Route then goes north through Setauket and the Old Field estate area to the lighthouse. Return south via Pond Path to Nissequogue River Road, back to Smithtown. Mileage: 28.

14. NORTH FORK. This is a round-trip on flat terrain through wine country. From Mattituck, take Route 48 east past Southold Beach, where road joins Route 25 in Greenport. Continue on a marked bikeway to Orient Beach State Park. Return via bikeway to Greenport, then follow truck Route 25 to Route 25 west. Mileage: 40.

15. ROCKY POINT MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAIL. Marked trail runs through the Natural Resources Management Area in the pine barrens. Required: Helmets, eye protection and a free DEC permit, good for three years (631-444-0273 or www.dec .ny.gov/outdoor/7809.html). Mileage: 13.

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16. SHELTER ISLAND. Moderately easy street ride along Route 114 across the island from North Ferry dock to South Ferry dock. In North Haven, a marked, on-street route along Route 114 leads to East Hampton. Mileage: 25.

17. SOUTH FORK. Sample all the East End has to offer. From Riverhead, go east on Route 24 through Hubbard County Park, with saltwater marshes and freshwater ponds. Pedal along Montauk Highway across Shinnecock Canal into Southampton. Follow Route 38 along Peconic Bay into Sag Harbor. Swing southeast via Route 114 into East Hampton, then skirt the ocean through Hither Hills Park to Montauk Lighthouse. Mostly flat, some hills. Mileage: 60.

18. WESTBURY-BAYVILLE LOOP. A hilly, unmarked street route. Take Post Avenue in Westbury village north to Wheatley Road, then east on Route 25A to Wolver Hollow, right on Chicken Valley past Planting Fields to Frost Pond and Cleft roads to West Shore Road. Proceed north to Bayville's Oak Neck Beach. Return via Bayville Avenue, Buckram, Piping Rock, Wolver Hollow, 25A, Wheatley and Post roads. Mileage: 30.

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