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  1. #1
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    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.
    IMG_0267.jpgIMG_0268.jpgwell Junction.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 10-28-13 at 01:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    The trail is terrific - glad you enjoyed it.

    People are out and about on that trail even in the dead of winter - skiers, walkers, runners, even the occasional fat-tired bike.

    The trail systems across the river are growing quickly as well. Eventually, the Walkway will connect with New Paltz and beyond.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    The trail systems across the river are growing quickly as well. Eventually, the Walkway will connect with New Paltz and beyond.
    Google map shows that the Maybrook line - Hudson Valley Rail Trail, heads south and is just east of the rail trail that in dribs and drabs runs from Walden to New Paltz and eventually to Kingston. Hopefully they can find an easy point to link the two trails, right now it's a 4 mile road connection on Rt 200, not awful and doable.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 10-30-13 at 11:56 AM.

  4. #4
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    The Harlem Rail Trail is on the east side of Dutchess County. It runs from the Wassiac Station at the top of the Harlem Valley MetroNorth line to Millerton Station. (~10.5 miles).

    There's an eight mile section of undeveloped rail bed that runs from Millerton to Mountain Road - at Mountain Road, the trail is paved again for four miles to the state park at Copake Falls. (It's an easy road ride to go from one section of the trail to the other.) There's another 24 miles of undeveloped trail from Copake to Chatham, NY. Ultimately, that could be a 46-mile rail trail!

    Progress on that trail has been slow - the new county exec has made it more of a priority and money has been allocated to design 11 additional miles of trail.

    The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, as of September, now runs 24 miles from Gardiner to Kingston. (Google the Rosendale Trestle - it's spectacular.) Not really a trail for 23mm tires though...lots of crushed rock.

    Eventually, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, (the trail on the west side of the Walkway), will be extended an extra mile to 299. After that, the plan is to find a way to connect the Wallkill trail to the Hudson Valley trail and, by extension, the Dutchess trail.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    The Harlem Rail Trail is on the east side of Dutchess County. It runs from the Wassiac Station at the top of the Harlem Valley MetroNorth line to Millerton Station. (~10.5 miles).

    There's an eight mile section of undeveloped rail bed that runs from Millerton to Mountain Road - at Mountain Road, the trail is paved again for four miles to the state park at Copake Falls. (It's an easy road ride to go from one section of the trail to the other.) There's another 24 miles of undeveloped trail from Copake to Chatham, NY. Ultimately, that could be a 46-mile rail trail!

    Progress on that trail has been slow - the new county exec has made it more of a priority and money has been allocated to design 11 additional miles of trail.

    The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, as of September, now runs 24 miles from Gardiner to Kingston. (Google the Rosendale Trestle - it's spectacular.) Not really a trail for 23mm tires though...lots of crushed rock.

    Eventually, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, (the trail on the west side of the Walkway), will be extended an extra mile to 299. After that, the plan is to find a way to connect the Wallkill trail to the Hudson Valley trail and, by extension, the Dutchess trail.
    Ah, yes my bad, I meant to type Hudson, and my fingers typed Harlem, that other great trail that I rode twice in '12. Can't wait till they extend that one as well. I'll edit my post.

    Thanks for the correction.

    Also glad to hear about the Walkill trail finished north to Kingston, I know it's also a gravel trail from Walkill down to Walden, but I don't think there's plans to head any further south due to Conrail still using the live south of Walden.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 10-30-13 at 12:00 PM.

  6. #6
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My wife and I and some friends took this trail a few weeks ago. It's really nice. There are lots of people using it, all in great moods, happy to have this now. We stopped in the middle of the bridge and went back to Hopewell Junction.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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