Duchess Rail Trail ride today
Ah !, finally made the trip up from LI. Joined by a Westchester buddy, rode from the southern terminus in Hopewell Junction to a bit past the Walkway over the Hudson Bridge and into Orange County.
Great trail. About as flat a RT as you can find, certainly less elevation gained/loss then the North County or Harlem Valley RT up in Amenia
Total distance from HJ to the bridge is 13.5 miles one-way. The bridge adds about another 1.3 miles, then of course you can continue into Orange County another 4. We started as BTW, at the parking lot and depot off Railroad Ave., itself off Rt 376, just north of Rt 82. Easy to find, it's on Google Maps. There are also quite a few parking area's between HJ and the bridge, just look on Google maps - Satellite view for a shorter route.
Three things struck me:
1) There were a huge number of users out on a chilly Sunday. There was a stiff north wind and 55 deg. temps, and as it clouded over seemed colder, yet there were ton's of families, walkers, dogs, and a lot of cyclists. The trail is obviously getting used and that's just wonderful. There are many road crossings and at EVERY one, the motorists stopped to let us go. Just wonderful courtesy.
2) The county put a huge amount of money into this path. The signage is first class, with mileage markers every 1/2 mile starting in HJ. Benches and informative signs everywhere, almost too many to stop and read them all !. The highway crossings, especially over Rt 55 is just well done and obviously they put a lot of time and effort in getting this all correct. As well as money.
3) The Walkway over the Hudson is very much that - a walkway. As such and as a cyclist you need to be prepared for hordes of pedestrians. And children unattended. And dogs on the extreme end of their retractable leashes. And of course the errant 16 year old female texting on her phone and paying absolutely no attention to the surroundings. You can ride it but be prepared to stop often and to move slowly and to be patient. This is emphatically not the route for a roadie trying to get in their fast 50 miler. OTOH, the views are amazing, even if it's a huge and sudden change from the calm and relatively empty miles on the bike path. But it's worth every inch, somewhat like riding over the Golden Gate it's ultimately worth the trip up from Hope
Will try to add more photo's later, the site is limiting me to 2.
Last edited by Steve B.; 10-28-13 at 01:48 PM.