Thru-hike/ fastpack 22 miles
Your adventure starts at the famous Olympic village at Lake Placid, home of the US bobsleigh team and other sporting heroes. Starting out winding your way on lovely forest trails will then bring you to the trailhead for Mount Marcy – the highest point of New York State and the jewel in the crown of the Adirondack High Peak Wilderness Area. Making your way up and over the summit is the only way to access the source of the Hudson – the tiny Lake Tear of the Clouds, nestled in the shadow of Mighty Marcy. The hiking is great – a steady uphill on a well-marked trail through forest, until at last you exit the treeline into the Alpine zone for wonderful views across the entire Adirondack Range. Descending to Lake Tear is tricky – it is steep and rocky and concentration is key. From there, you will continue your thru-hike to the southern trailhead at Upper Works, all the time following the headwaters of the Hudson as they crash and tumble down the mountain, with names like Calamity Brook accompanying a soundtrack of waterfalls, rapids and forest wildlife.
Road bike 30 miles
As you exit the hike at Upper Works, you will make your first transition to bikes. Prepare for a smooth and serene ride down Tahawus Road until you hit the 28N, which will take you all the way to the village of North Creek. It’s little lumpy in places (up and down) but these are all ‘rollers’ and fairly short climbs; nothing Tour-de-France King of the Mountains-style. It is will of course be tough on the legs after the hours spent on the hike. Take it easy, sit back into it and hoover up these initial miles before a well earned plate of something hot and a sip of something cold at day 1 journey’s end.
Road bike 120 miles
A comfy night’s sleep and an early start brings you face to face now with the biggest mileage day. The day starts out very much like it finished on day 1 – some short hills to go up and down which eventually bring you out of the ADK mountains as you head downhill towards Lake George. A stop for ice cream or even second breakfast perhaps awaits in this charming lakeside town, before heading onwards towards Glens Falls, South Glens Falls and a lovely chunk of old Americana that lines the Highway here.
The scenery changes now and you leave behind the forested hills to give rise to more open farmland. it’s all pretty flat now (or gently sloping downhill) and it makes for fast, fun riding through diverse and engaging country. You will cross the Hudson itself many times, or have it adjacent to you, really connecting you to this journey along its course. As you continue south you will pass through the city of Troy and then make your way back to the banks of the river itself – now riding right next to it for miles, until finally you make your way into the quirky little upmarket town of Hudson, where today’s route ends.
Road bike 45 miles
You might be ready to give the bike a rest today after the miles you have covered and after a lovely morning’s ride, including highlights such as riding through the charming town of Rhinebeck and then past the Vanderbilt Mansion and Roosevelt’s house, you will arrive in Poughkeepsie, ready for a totally different challenge.
Kayak 21 miles
Now it’s time to take to the might river itself. At this point the Hudson has blossomed from a tiny brook gurgling in the mountains to a rather large river, which is also tidal. From our put-in under the shadow of the huge Poughkeepsie bridges (including the awesome Bridge over the Hudson footbridge), we will make our way downriver into the heart of the Hudson Highlands, arguably the most scenic part of the entire river. Our first stop is Beacon, where you will be able to put in for a quick rest stop and some food and drink. From there you continue to head south, until the surreal sight of Bannerman’s Island comes into view in the middle of the river. The island contains old abandoned structures, built in the style of a Scottish castle. Very eerie and really cool. Past the island and the famous military academy of West Point can now be seen on the western bank of the river. We pass a couple more bluffs and finally we arrive at the pretty little outpost of Cold Springs, where we will put ashore for one final night on the trail before our triumphant arrival in New York City the following day.
Road bike 45 miles
The day begins with the hilliest part of the entrie route, believe it or not. State road 9W is well known to cyclists in the NYC area and we will cross the stunning Bear Gates Bridge into Bear Mountain State Park, before riding 9W down the west hand bank of the Hudson all the way into Jersey. Our final cycle will feel like we are sneaking up on the city as we enjoy almost traffic-free riding all the way to the George Washington Bridge. That is quite a feat given how built up the landscape is at this point! Then, as if by magic, we pop out at our final transition in the shadow of the bridge and there is the Big Apple, laid out before us in all her glory.
Road run 13 miles
A quick change back into running gear and we find ourselves preparing to finish this challenge the way we started – on foot. We will run across the bridge and make our way onto the fantastic Hudson River Greenway that runs all the way down the west side of Manhattan, routing through parks, over boardwalks and all on traffic-free sidewalks or trails. The Hudson itself, now a mile wide is right there the whole way – we are right next to it for the best part of 13 miles – until we arrive at our final destination. Mile marker zero of the Hudson River is where we complete our journey, amid the skyscrapers of the Financial District and with lady Liberty shining bright in the distance. Wow. That was some adventure!