ORANGE HERITAGE TRAIL:

GOSHEN-MONROE, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Planted:               August 4, 2009

Length:                Monroe to Goshen; 9 miles

                              Goshen Extension; 3 1/4 miles

                              Crane Park Loop; 1 miles

Difficulty:            Monroe to Goshen; Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

                              Goshen Extension; Easy. Flat, stone-dust rail trail.                            

Directions:

To start from Monroe; From I-87 (NY State Thruway) take exit 16 to Route 17 west. Take exit 130 to Route 208 south. To start from the Orange & Rockland Road parking lot; Take a right when you see a sign that reads "Village of Monroe" (This is Orange-Rockland Rd). There are two parking areas on this road. The first will be a Park & Ride Lot B on your left 0.3 miles along this road, followed by a small trail parking lot on your left just past Lot A. To start from Airplane Park; Continue along Route 208 south and turn left onto Route 17M. Take your first left and you'll see the park on the left. 

To start from Goshen; From I-87 (NY State Thruway) take exit 16 to Route 17 west or from I-84 take exit 4E to Route 17 east. Take exit 124 to Route 207 north (Greenwich Ave). Next take a right down Green St and a left on St. James Place. The parking lot is on the left across from the trail.

The Orange Heritage Trail runs along the former rail bed of the Erie Railroad. This railroad originated at Piermont, NY in 1832 and ended at Dunkirk on the Lake Erie. The line was completed to Goshen in 1841 and extended to Middletown in 1843. In 1962, the Erie Railroad becomes the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad and the Goshen-Monroe line is downgraded to local freight service. The last train-run ended in 1983. The Orange Heritage Trail is a planned 19 mile trail from Middletown down to Harriman along this former rail bed. Currently, 9 miles are paved from Goshen to Monroe, with a couple more miles of unpaved trail that continue up through Goshen. For more information visit;   HERITAGE TRAIL .

Starting from Airplane Park in Monroe; From the park (which has an old jet plane in it, hence the name), the Orange Heritage Trail starts up along the berm. There is no dedicated path up to it, however, so you must go up the small grassy knoll.

Note; Before setting out, you may elect to cross the road at the cross-walk and ride a 1 mile Loop Trail around Crane Park. I started by heading right around the first pond on the paved trail. You pass a small gazebo and butterfly garden at 0.6 miles. You then come to a small stone dam at miles, where you take a left over the bridge and another left at Mill Rd which will bring you alongside the second pond as you start heading back. Lake St passes between both ponds and soon you are back to Airplane Park.

Starting along the Orange Heritage Trail; The first thing I noticed was the presence of Police Bike Patrols, as well as a Police golf cart that travels the trail. There are mileage markers every mile (they start in Goshen) along the trail. After miles you pass by the Park & Ride Lot B parking area and just beyond the 1 mile mark you'll spot an old railroad mileage marker JC50, meaning 50 miles to Jersey City. You then come to a small parking lot designated for the trail. Here the trail heads into the woods and travels along a berm at 1 miles. The trail crosses underneath a bridge at 1.8 miles and then affords you some great views of the rolling hills to your left. Two miles takes you across an old trestle bridge with a parallel bridge next to it that still has tracks laid out. This must have been a double wide railroad bed. Just before another trestle bridge at 2 miles, on your right, will be an old cemetery perched on a small knoll. The gravestones go back as far as the 1800's. Continuing along the trail, after crossing over two more bridges, you travel along a steeper berm as the trail becomes more remote. A Police sub-station sits alongside the trail at 3 miles. The building behind it houses a homeless camp, which explains the CCTV cameras dispersed along the next section of the trail. After crossing over another trestle bridge, some old tracks are still laid out along the left side of the trail, along with an old rail car and two flatcars. Next you pass below a railroad trestle at 4 miles. It doesn't look active. The trail then passes through open fields and begins a slight upgrade at 5 miles. You pass by the old Chester Railroad Depot at 5 miles (parking available here) and travel through a rock cut with thick stone block walls. Cross a stream at 6.8 miles and come to another parking area at 7.3 miles. Located here is a Porto-potty as well as refreshment stand that sells Italian Ice during the summer. You cross what I believe is Knoell Rd, which leads left to Route 17M. In the distance is Route 17. As the trail tops out at 8 miles, keep an eye out to your right to spot an old Whistle stop marker. You come to a map board at 9 miles and cross a road with no cross-light, so use caution. Next you pass by the 0 mile marker at 9.2 miles and finally come to the end of the paved trail in Goshen at 9 miles. The Goshen parking lot is located directly in front of you.

Note; To continue north along the Goshen Extension; Continue straight through two parking lots and you'll come to Route 207 (Greenwich Ave). Cross over to Railroad Ave (Use Caution; no crosswalk) and follow it down to W Main St. Use the cross-walk over to Grand St. Pass by the gazebo type structure on your left and travel in front of the old Goshen Train Station, now the Police Station. Just past the station bear left along the sidewalk away from Grand St and back along Railroad Ave. At the end of the sidewalk continue straight on Railroad Ave to a cul-de-sac. Continue straight along a sidewalk an through a gate. Travel left along a gravel road and right past a large yellow building. This will bring you to a paved road. Continue straight and you'll see the trailhead on your right past a gate and bench at 3/4 miles. The trail is wide and gravel based (probably doubles as a service road). It's a pretty open trail until you travel underneath Route 17 at 1.2 miles and head into the woods with a stream along your right. The trail becomes more isolated as you follow a causeway between a pond and large marsh. Couple of benches located along here. You cross 6 1/2 Station Rd at 2 1/4 miles and continue past the yellow gate. Here, the trail is narrow with a stone-dust base, but travels along a wide grassy strip. You'll spot an old railroad box on your right just before you cross over an old double-tracked railroad bridge. This brings you to Hartley Road after 3 1/4 miles where the trail currently ends.    

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