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Upper Delaware Scenic Byway - Port Jervis to Hancock, NY

Scenic Drive
A 2015 Reader's Choice contest by USA TODAY voted the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway as the #2 "Best Autumn Scenic Drive" in the entire country and #1 in the northeast. – David B. Soete

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway consists of a beautiful 70-mile stretch of New York State Route 97 traversing three counties and largely paralleling the nationally-renowned Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

The route is characterized by stunning scenery, a rich history, communities both lively and quaint, and an abundance of recreational opportunities.

The majority of Route 97 was legislatively added to the New York State Scenic Byways System in 2002 based on a grassroots nomination process. A non-profit organization comprised of volunteer representatives from its participating municipalities meets monthly to oversee implementation of an Enhancement Concept Plan.

The goal of Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. is to protect the region's outstanding character, heritage, and beauty, while encouraging economic development through tourism and recreation. The Enhancement Plan envisions heightening the visitor experience through convenient and attractive facilities, advocating for highway safety improvements, and offering lodging, dining and recreational choices for visitors to enjoy the hospitality of the area's residents and vibrant business community.

Driving Directions

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway provides a leisurely link between State Route 17 (future I-86) in the Village of Hancock and Interstate 84 in the City of Port Jervis, traveling along State Route 97 and a section of U.S. Route 6. It is located between the Catskills and the Poconos region, with easy access to Northeastern Pennsylvania across a series of interstate bridges and the National Park Service's Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct historic Delaware & Hudson Canal crossing in Minisink Ford.

Highlights and Key Points Along the Route

When construction of NYS Route 97 was completed in 1939, the road was extolled as "The Most Scenic Highway in the East" based on its proximity to the Delaware River, long valley vistas, rock cut landscapes, and the serpentine Hawk's Nest Drive that offers spectacular views from motorist pull-offs hanging hillside from walled foundations hundreds of feet above the river. Formerly a precarious, single lane dirt road, the Hawk's Nest in the Town of Deerpark is the most photographed section of the byway and has been featured in national television commercials.

Motorcycle magazines cite Route 97 as being one of the best riding roads in the Northeast Region and portions of Route 97 are designated as Bike Route 17 for bicycling enthusiasts. Route 97 is the major transportation artery through the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Valley, where boating, fishing, eagle watching, and local festivals are popular activities.

Communities through which the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway passes are the Village of Hancock in Delaware County; the Towns of Delaware, Cochecton, Tusten, Highland and Lumberland in Sullivan County, and the Town of Deerpark and City of Port Jervis in Orange County.

Each offers a unique history, charm, and features that are highlighted in the free Upper Delaware Scenic Byway travelogue brochure and on the website.

Length of Scenic Drive

Phase 1 of the state designation includes approximately 50 miles of the 71.35-mile NYS Route 97

Nearby Places