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When Jones Beach State Park opened on Long Island’s South Shore in the late 1920s, a series of scenic parkways was built on infill dredged from nearby towns to connect New Yorkers to the new public recreation spot. These scenic byways allow motorists to experience the park even while zipping along the blacktop. The north–south Wantagh State Parkway, terminating at Jones Beach, was the first parkway to be completed. A parallel path was also designed for nonmotorists to access what would quickly become one of the most beloved recreational areas in New York. The beach features historical bathhouses, a wooden boardwalk, an iconic water tower, and a waterfront amphitheater.
The Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway, sometimes referred to as the Jones Beach Bikeway or Wantagh Parkway Shared-Use Path, is a relatively straight and flat path, curving around trees here and there. The challenge in riding it comes from the mild slopes as one approaches the bridges, as well as from the lack of shade on the path.
In Cedar Creek Park, an unassuming opening in the fence serves as the entrance to the north end of the trail. There, an interpretive display tells the history of the parkway’s development. In no time, you will find yourself on the historical byway and, depending on the time of day, in the path of incessant winds. Depending on which direction it’s blowing, the wind may be a challenge or an ally; check the weather forecast before you set off.
The trail’s three bridges offer the best scenery of the journey. In 1.3 miles, the first crossing traverses Flat Creek. The trail narrows, and signs urge users to walk their bikes up the slope and across the bridge, where you’ll catch sight of Seamans Island to the east. The second crossing, over Goose Creek, comes at the 2.5-mile mark. Here, you’ll get glimpses of marsh and tidal flats. Before you reach the final bridge, a detour takes you down to the Green Island Fishing Pier, popular with anglers of all stripes. A state fishing permit can be purchased at the Jones Beach administrative offices. The final bridge on your way south is the drawbridge over Sloop Channel. It has the longest span and widest sea views of the three. White fishing boats dot the water below.
Near the end of the trail, the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater can be seen towering over the trees. As your journey comes to a close, 5.5 miles from where you began, you emerge into the parking lot for the open-air theater. There is a connection along the edge of the lot to Zachs Bay and, a little farther than that, the entrance to the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway, which runs perpendicular to the Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway. You can extend your ride along that trail or head through the underpass for Ocean Parkway to reach Jones Beach, a popular and lively destination.
To reach Cedar Creek Park in Seaford from Southern State Pkwy., take Exit 27S for Wantagh State Pkwy. toward Jones Beach State Park. Go 2.4 miles, keeping right. Take Exit W6 for Merrick Road. Follow it east 0.2 mile. Turn right onto the Cedar Creek Park access road, and travel 0.3 mile south to the Field 1 parking lot. Note that non–Nassau County residents pay a fee to park there on weekends and holidays in summer. The trail can be accessed across the street.
If you choose to start your trail ride from the southern end, you can park at Jones Beach State Park, but be aware that there is an entrance fee. From I-495, take Exit 40W, and head southwest on Jericho Turnpike. Almost immediately, turn left onto Brush Hollow Road. In 0.8 mile, turn left onto Wantagh State Pkwy. toward Jones Beach. In 13.0 miles, at the traffic circle, take the second exit onto Ocean Pkwy. E. Continue 0.8 mile, then make a slight right to enter parking for Field 6. To reach the starting point of the trail, go 0.2 mile along the Jones Beach Boardwalk to the East Bathhouse building. Take the underpass beside the bathhouse across Ocean Pkwy. and onto the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway. Turn left when you emerge from the underpass. The Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway is perpendicular to the greenway and begins where the latter ends, heading north from the Field 5 parking lot.
We ride this trail in the winter so there are hardly any people around, but I can picture this trail being crowded during the summer months.The trail is pretty flat the whole way so there is hardly any coasting, just a lot of pedaling.
Very well paved roads. But I found with little kids, the wind and narrow road became frustrating and much slower than expected.
We drove to Cedar Creed, parked and took backpacks with swimsuits and flip flops. Rode along the trail to the Nikon Theater and someone guided us to ride to the 2nd underpass to Field 6 where we could easily lock the bikes in the bike park. Then we walked past the concession building (closed) to the far side where there was a shop to get sunscreen and other things. Changed in the restroom and went down to the beach for an amazing swim. Then reversed and at the end in the parking lot we took coolers from the car and had a nice picnic. Perfect day!
Rode this trail on 7/27/2016 in the late afternoon, leaving from Parking field 5 at Jones Beach. Parking is Free after 4:00 PM on weekdays. The trail entrance is on the NW corner of the Nikon Theater. Overall it is a real nice surface, and it is mostly flat and wide. There are a few narrow passages when going over bridges. It is a great ride to test your speed and stamina since you can focus on your riding as much of the trail is straight, open and not busy. I did not stop at the north end of the trail, but the park looked very nice and there was plenty of free parking if you want to start the ride at this end.
Wind is the #1 factor on this trail. Predominantly southern winds off the ocean makes for a demanding start and should be expected. Heading south from the trails terminus at Cedar Creek Park you will be crossing three bridges. The third being a draw bridge. Caution at the bridge crossing as the trail narrows. Can be dangerous as everyone rides over the bridges.(There are signs asking riders to walk over). Once over the bridges you continue south passing the Nike Stadium. A little further on the trail turns east with 2 access trails to Jones Beach and boardwalk. The boardwalk is bicycle friendly. You can continue eastward on the paved bicycle trail to the trails eastern terminus at Tobay Beach. Both beaches have bike racks. Just continue westward back to Jones Beach for the return trip were the trail turns north and back to Cedar Creek Park.
This trail makes for a good workout with the distance and wind factored in.(18 miles est). Many beautiful views of the intercoastal waterway and ocean along the way. Riding on the boardwalk is a nice side trip. Apply sunscreen and bug repellant before your journey. Heading northward and the wind is generally at your back making for a speedy return. Have fun and be considerous of other riders and people.
just got back homewith my daughter for a bike ride to the beech. we never got off the bike trail and sat for 10 minutes at the theater, my daughter had 2 ticks in her hair and 2 on her clothes...I had 1 on my clothes
Sunday, May 10th
We found a place to park on Byron Street near the beginning of the path. I asked some people who were leaving if this is a good place to park. They said yes and gave us directions to where the path began. Parking in the nearby park would require an $8 fee for non-county residents.
We found the beginning of the trail and headed south. The trail consisted of asphalt and it meandered a little as it ran parallel to the Wantagh Parkway. The riding was tough as we rode into the wind. The trail narrowed in two locations as we crossed bridges.
Unfortunately the roar of traffic was never far away. When we got to the shore, the trail continued to the left and followed Ocean Parkway to Tobay Beach. At the end of the trail was a turnstile gate that prevented you from bringing your bike onto the beach. It was easy though to circumvent the gate by going around the fence that blocked off the area.
We locked up our bikes and continued onto the beach. The weather was warm and sunny inland but foggy and cool near the ocean. The fog made for a nice scene. I photographed the kids running ahead. At times they appeared to disappear. We walked for maybe a quarter mile and then returned.
There was a path that continued on from Tobay Beach, but there were also signs saying no bike riding here. It looks like we could ride back from here and return to where we started along Ocean Parkway. It would have been a nice ride. With the wind to our backs the ride was easier. We counted about 20 rabbits along the trail as we rode back.
I'll tell you what, I'll actually apologize for the "overweight" comment as I should have known, (although on an anonymous faceless message board) that it could offend some people. Totally not looking to offend anyone! However once again, you're still agreeing with me and you don't even know it! Lets reverse the roles and use the Hudson Valley trail suggestion at least two of you have brought up. Say people from the Hudson Valley wanted to come down to one of the greatest stretches of beach arguably on the planet to take a ride and go for a swim afterwards? Can you ride/bring your bike down to the beach? Key word here is BEACH, not bike rack on the side of a highway. The answer is no. I can't believe you actually condone walking around the fence. What do think you're saying by doing that? What do think the maintenance staff and powers that be with Jones Beach who put the fence up think of that? You have to understand that you negate your whole argument and agree with me by walking around the fence. And for the record I never do it! Last time I did this trail on an early Saturday morning I was resting at that wooden kiosk structure and a bunch of cyclists came down. One of them says to his buddies, "How do you get to the beach?" A woman not with them over hears him and says, "There's a tunnel on the other side of the fence you walk under." Cyclist replies, "Well what am I going to do with my bike?" Not making this up. Believe me, there's other people that agree with my point, which is why there's already a "way" to walk around the fence. If you're facing east it's to the right, but you obviously already know that. Walking around the fence is an immature juvenile thing to do. And adults who ride bikes aren't doing so with bike chains and locks in tow. I'm not calling anyone names from here on out and really hope someone from the Town is actually reading these exchanges we're having. I'm done.
Humor does not need to come by insulting others.
Im sure you are quite witty and could come up with better.
As for Cedar TOBAY... It IS a MULTI USE PATH. Be warned.
You agree with me as far as a pass lane, wonderful. And road courtesy, by all means. But for the sake of creative writing you did not need to throw a dig at the "pot bellies" on the bike path. So YES, you sound like an elitist ass.
Some people are just starting and some are just getting back on the road so if these levels of cyclists don't fit into your ride plan, clearly that MULTI USE path is not for you. The Hudson offers some pristine and empty path options. Rails to Trails is fantastic. Or on the Island if you up your life insurance you can ride the streets and /or Bethpage Bikeway up to Stillwell. The path is MULIT-USE but the road has a clear bike lane marked.
TOBAY itself is not there for cyclist use. It was not the plan. They don't care about your food or drink requirements but thank you for using the bathrooms. Its a BEACH MAN... so yeah french fries and ice cream really do rule...lighten up.
TOBAY has always had a no bike /skate policy for the lots and don't want a flood of cyclist from the state/ county park.
I'm sorry but having done enough organized events and I have seen just how horrible cyclists can be between gel energy packs and water bottles strewn all over the streets. Look on the path shoulders and you'll see them on the northside.
TOBAY doesn't want that mess. As a resident, I don't want to pay for that clean up.
I have been riding the "Morning Wood" route 2x a week and ONLY starting at TOBAY. Except for the boardwalk slowdown it is a fast 20 RT. Walk around the fence at TOBAY. Walk up the exit ramp and ride the nearly empty parkway road for 100 feet or so. ITS DOABLE. And... no pass needed season over.
I will be headed there Friday if you want to race.
I'll bet you a corn dog.
Thought I'd get a little creative with my post. Its the interweb man. However, for what it's worth you're still kind of agreeing with me in a sense. I live on Long Island, why should I have to go to the Hudson Valley to ride? Calling me Lance because I mentioned I have an "expensive" road bike is ridiculous too. People playing the sob story about have's and have not's while living on Long Island is a joke. If the town has no problem with us "freeloaders" locking bikes up and walking to the beach(Ocean side, could care less about Tobay/the restaurant) then why not put racks on the ocean side? By your logic everyone using the trail to get to the beach is a freeloader. Even if I did pay to park in Tobay and ride the trail the opposite way I can't because there's a !@#$% turnstile in the way! Its stupid and aesthetically out of place. I think the town is over estimating the amount of traffic and I guess the potential lost revenue from people using the trail to get to the beach. "Stuck up" attitude or not I still think I'm making a good point.
On a side note I'm not as "Lance" as I might sound. I'm not one of the dudes using the trail for my personal time trial track coming within inches of slower riders and little kids. And there are definitely a few people doing just that. I'm easily one of the more courteous people on this trail.
Cannondale, WOW! Who pissed in your camelbak? You are pretty opinionated and stuck up. It's bike riding, chill out Lance!
Perhaps you should take your expensive bike and go for a real ride like the Hudson Valley rails to trails so us loathly riders on cheaper wheels can dirty up the Ocean Parkway path?
If you are a resident of TOBAY, reach in your deep pockets, get yourself a pass and start your ride from the TOBAY side then go for a swim when you're done.
If you're NOT a TOBAY resident feel free to purchase a lock for your ride and come freeload on our beach.
It is a TOWN beach for residents, just like Gilgo and Cedar.
But we can play nice and share if you check your oversized ego at the turnstyle. We wouldn't want you to get stuck.
My criticism: The lanes could have been wider or with a pass lane to accommodate all levels of riders. It is annoying to get stuck behind a family out on a "learning" day when you just want to get your ride on and get home. There is nothing that can be done about the overpasses. It is also a multi use path so come the weekends all bets are off unless you are there at the crack of dawn.
Road courtesy is NOT common but walkers 3 even 4 abreast certainly are so, EYES OPEN!
The parking lot at the Nikon theatre section of the path is like a pinball machine of cyclists, runners, skaters, walkers, state park vehicles and beach goers. I suggest you have a bell, a loud "On your left" or a compressed air horn... any will usually do the trick.
Otherwise this is nice smooth piece of trail, nicely marked and there are benches and even postings that provide interesting info on local wildlife.
Hopefully the state can find the funds to extend this ribbon of asphalt all the way to Captree. It would make for a great fitness trail from end to end.
I have been riding sections of the Bay to Beach trail. Bayville to Stillwell to Bethpage to Massapequa Preserve to Merrick Rd to Cedar Creek Wantagh Pky to TOBAY.
I hope to string them together for a full day round trip ride by Spring 2015.
Safe rides everyone.
So when you get to Tobay they've erected a cage like turnstile so you can't bring your bike into the park. It looks great, has a nice correctional facility by the shore look to it. There are bike racks but for those of us that ride expensive road bike's we're not going to lock up and leave our bikes there while we go for a swim. What's the point? I can ride to the beach but I can't go to the beach. If you're one of the many middle aged overweight persons that frequent the trail there's a concession stand at the end where you can fill up on soda and deep fried processed food. You have to fit through the turnstile though. Well, done Long Island!
Flat clean surface with views of water. Not a lot of shade though. Good job Long Island !
I started at Cedar Creek and ended in Tobay Beach around 9 miles. Its a great ride and have no complaints whatever except maybe the wind heading there! I didnt see where u can park 100 bikes at Tobay...looks like can be a problem on the weekend.
I've done a few rides on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and would absolutely love it if Long Island became more bike friendly like them. More famers markets, microbreweries and bike trails. Tanning salons, 7-11's, malls, and the bridge and tunnel ilk that frequent them should be in the minority for a place with such natural beauty as Long Island. What would be really great is if they further extended this trail all the way to Captree. I've ridden many trails in my day and it's the same thing anywhere you go. The Lance Armstrong wannabe's, headphone wearing rollerbladers, and aloof parents with kids in tow all have to do a better job at sharing, simple as that. The extension to Tobay is a step in the right direction for Long Island and kudos to all involved in making it happen. It's a good trail. Stay to the right!
Bike path now extends to TOBAY Beach. There is a rest stop, but no place to chain up your bike....Not 100% complete but looks like it's on it's way. Would be nice if there was a few more places to pull over and better signage leading to the entrance. A trash can or two along the way would have been nice. Overall, it was a nice ride.
I have rode the bike path in the pass many times over the years and stopped riding it for several years due to a lack of feeling safe.
I am African American, and on three occasion, cars passing heading in the west direction, someone has thrown something out the window at me and three times yelled out the "N" word" at me. They were in the car I was on my bike. Just like cowards.
I stopped riding the path, feeling someone may shoot at me next. The path needs emergency phone along the path to call the police if something happens and more areas to seat and look at the views.
I was surprised to see a safety fence (not too good) installed to separate the bikes from the speeding cars. It should have been a solid rail, not a cable fence.
I am happy to hear about the extension, and hope they add emergency phones along the way and seating.
Bottom line....be caution if you are African American riding this path, someone will yell out of their car window and call you the "N word" or something else. It's Long Island after all.
EASY AND SHORT FOR A BIKE RIDE
The main problem on this multi use path are the overly aggressive lance armstrong wannabes, who act like this is their private speedway, and on a regular basis ride with total disregard for everybody elses safety. I see it all the time.They refuse to slow down in situations that clearly warrant it...selfish jerks with a sense of entitlement to do whatever they want..everybody else is just an annoyance to them..last week i saw a father screaming at one of them as he sped away, after almost hitting the guys young son..they dont slow down for nobody...par for the course for these morons...WATCH OUT FOR THEM...THEY ARE THIS PATHS MAIN PROBLEM....
I just got back from the 10 mile path! It's awesome and opened and better then ever! Thank you parks department! It was extended from 4.5 to 5 miles to Jones Beach boardwalk!
Rode the trail today and you can bike the full route. Heading south you get a nice headwind.
The perfect little trail for a quick ride down to the Beach. Although the beach access is closed as of now due to sandy, it's still a great run. You should not have problems with the rollerbladers if you obey the speed limit set on the path. This is a leisurely run. The bikers who think they are in the tour de france and exceed the posted speed limits are more of a nuisance than any rollerblader. Generally, they stay to the right.
Nice trail but nothing exciting. It is straight and surrounded by Jones Beach causeway from one side and high grass from another. There are 2-3 very narrow bridges which give you a chance to enjoy the bay view. Distance is enough to stretch your legs if you are not PRO. Easy access from both ends.
I love this ride. I've done it on bike several times, as well once on roller blades. I found both enjoyable, although roller-blading was tough because a) I'm inexperienced and b) the wind can be a bit strong.
The whole ride is very pretty, especially later in the evening because the sun sets over the water.
You can park in Cedar creek for free. During summer months you have to pay to park at Jones Beach.
Definitely recommended! Enjoy :)
"Unfortunately the rollerbladers ruin this trail. They sway back and forth along the entire width of the trail and they all wear headphones so even when you scream ""On Your Left"" they don't really hear. "
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