WALLKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL:
GARDINER-KINGSTON, NEW YORK
RIVER to RIDGE TRAIL:
NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: October 22, 2020
Length: Wallkill Valley Rail Trail; 21.5 miles
River to Ridge Trail: OSI Section; 4.8 mile Loop. Mohonk Preserve Section; 2.9 mile Loop (4.3 miles including Testimonial Gateway). 9.2 miles Total.
Difficulty: Wallkill Valley Rail Trail; Northern section; Easy. Stone-dust rail trail.
River to Ridge Trail; Lower Section; Easy. Mostly flat stone-dust trail. Upper Section; Moderate. Hilly stone-dust trail. Mohonk Preserve Section; Easy to Moderate. Some hills, crushed gravel trail.
To Start from Ulster [Northern End]; From I-87 take exit 19 to I-587 E to its end. Continue straight onto Route 32 (Broadway) and then right (Henry St) continuing along Route 32. Left on Fair St/right on Blvd (still Route 32). After 1.2 miles turn right on Rockwell Lane and you'll come to the trail and parking lot.
To start from the Limewater Kiln parking lot in Rosendale [Central Section]; From I-87 (New York State Thruway) take exit 18 to Route 299 west into New Plats. Cross Readout Creek and take a left onto Main St (Route 213). Travel less then a mile and turn right up Limewater Road. The parking area will be on the left after less then 1/2 mile.
To start from New Paltz [Central Section/River to Ridge]; From I-87 (New York State Thruway) take exit 18 to Route 299 west into New Paltz. Just before crossing over the Wallkill River Bridge, take a left on Water St. Continue straight along Plains Rd. Cross over the trail and the Sojourner Truth Park parking lot is on your right.
To start from the Testimonial Gateway in New Paltz [River to Ridge/Mohonk Preserve]; From I-87 (New York State Thruway) take exit 18 to Route 299 west through New Paltz and across Wallkill River. Travel another 1.4 miles to the Testimonial Gateway entrance on your right. Fee to park here.
To start from Gardiner [Southern End]; From I-87 (New York State Thruway) take exit 18 to Route 299 west into New Paltz. Take Route 32 south and turn right onto Route 44 west into Gardiner center where the trail crosses the road. Parking is available here.
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail runs along the former rail bed of the Wallkill Valley Railroad. In the late 19th century, the Wallkill Valley Railroad ferried fresh produce and vegetables from the farmlands of Ulster County to the streets of New York City. It also served as a commuter railroad for passengers traveling along the Hudson Valley. The trail is divided into Northern and Southern Sections emanating from New Paltz. The northern section heads towards Rosendale & Kingston and travels a more wooded path then the southern section, which travels towards Gardiner & Walden and is more open with scenic vistas. The northern section has two very scenic trestle crossings; the first crosses the Wallkill River and a second "not to be missed" 940 foot trestle crosses 150 feet above Rondout Creek with fantastic vistas. The northern section from New Paltz starts out with some rough gravel sections and then becomes smoother as it travels along compacted dirt and cinder, while the southern section is smoother overall, but with many different trail surfaces ranging from stone dust to hard packed dirt and cinder to single and double track grass lined surfaces. You can also access the Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail from the end of the southern section via an on-road detour and along an undeveloped section of the old rail bed into Wallkill. In the center of New Paltz you can access the River to Ridge Trail (See below), as well as, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail . For more information visit; WALLKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL and RIVER TO RIDGE TRAIL .
The Northern Section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is part of the Empire State Trail , a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany, creating the longest multi-use state trail in the nation. To the east it connects to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and to the north you continue along a 2.5 mile on-road route to the Kingston Greenline .
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (Project Spotlight here)
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail:
Starting from the Limewater Kiln parking lot in Rosendale [Central Section]; Check out the brick & stone cement kilns located at the back of the parking lot.
Cement rock was first discovered in the region in 1825 at High Falls by engineers working on the Delaware and Hudson Canal. Prior to this time hydraulic cement used in the construction of the canal had been imported from Madison County, New York. Found to be a more high quality grade, High Falls cement was quarried and burned for use in the canal. Other quarrying sites, at Lawrenceville, Hickory Bush, Whiteprint, and Rosendale, opened in ensuing years. The Rosendale Cement Works near Limewater employed 5,000 workers and produced 4,000,000 barrels of cement a year at the peak of its activity at the turn of the century. Rosendale cement was used in the Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Treasury Building, as well as in many other structures around the country. The development of Portland cement in 1920 marked the decline of the Rosendale Cement Works. Population of the region dwindled by the 1940's and rail service was reduced. Rosendale quarrying pits and cement kilns were located just north of the Rosendale railroad station and south of the Fifth Limewater Lake. One of the distinctive features of the local landscape is a chain of five small lakes known as Limewater, numbered one through five, north to south.
From the parking lot cross Limewater Rd to a gravel trail. This will bring you up to the rail bed and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Heading North (left) the stone-dust Wallkill Valley Rail Trail travels just above Limewater Rd to your left and a high ridge along your right. After crossing a bridge look right towards the base of this ridge where you can still spot the mines used to extract the cement. Cross Breezy Hill Rd where the trail continues between Limewater Rd and the Limewater Lane parking lot. Signboard located here. You'll pass by the remnants of a cement works (informational sign) before coming to a large signboard in the middle of the trail 0.8 miles. This is the start of the Williams Lake Project section. The trail heads right off the rail bed following the power lines. At 1.1 miles you'll return to the rail bed. Informational signs are located along the trail. To your left is Williams Lake (Fifth Lake) [Private Property]. Head back into the woods passing through the Williams Lake property. More Cement Works remnants scatted along the trail as the woods get thicker. You'll pass by several old quarrying pits. You'll travel above Forth Lake before passing by another old quarrying pit. On a hot day these old mines allow cool air to flow up onto the trail. It will feel like you are passing by an A/C. After crossing a small berm between a marsh you'll leave the Williams Lake Project section. Here you'll find a Map Board. Cross Hickory Bush Rd. At 3 miles you cross back over Hickory Bush Rd (Use Caution; Blind Curve) to a separated trail that takes you underneath I-87. Just out of the tunnel the trail picks back up on your left. Cross Dewitt Mills Rd at 3.7 miles and travel underneath a transmission line at 4.6 miles. Cross Rockwell Lane at 5.8 miles where you can still spot some of the old RR tracks embedded in the road. Here the rail trail ends after 6 miles at Route 32 (Boulevard) in Kingston.
Note; A stone-dust path on your right leads to the Rockwell Lane Parking Lot.
The rail bed disappears at Route 32. Kingston has plans to develop their section of the trail which will connect into the Kingston Greenline .
Heading South (right) stone-dust Wallkill Valley Rail Trail travels along the ridge. After only a ¼ mile you'll come to the Rosendale RR Trestle. This restored 940 foot trestle bridge crosses 150 feet above Readout Creek with wide open vistas of the surrounding hills. Cross Mountain Rd where you'll find a Map Board before passing through a small rock cut and re-entering the woods. Mile Markers are placed every 0.5 miles. There is a brief split in the trail which then merges back together. At 1.9 miles you'll pass by the RAIL TRAIL CAFE before crossing a bridge over River Rd. At 3.4 miles you come to a road crossing and the New Paltz section of the trail. Signboards are located at all road crossings with the name of the road and a map on the back. After crossing over Cragswood Rd at 4.1 miles, there are more open fields and a nice view of the ridgeline on your right. Not sure if this next section has been upgraded to stone-dust, was cinder? Cross over Springtown Rd at 5 miles and you'll come to the Wallkill River Bridge. There are built in benches and a great view. The trail then heads back into the woods along a berm. After crossing another road you'll see an old remnant of the railroad on the left. It's a pole that says "measured mile" on one side and 1 mile on the opposite. You'll pass two more of these poles for a ½ mile and a ¼ mile. After crossing over Huguenot St at 6.1 miles there will be a platform on the right overlooking a marsh. Another old railroad remnant will come at 6.4 miles, an old Whistle Stop marker on the left. The trail is now residential as it crosses Mulberry St at 6.8 miles where it becomes paved. I believe the surface is now stone-dust? You then cross Broadhead Ave at 7 miles.
Note; You can connect to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail from here via an on-road detour of 1.6 miles (Hilly). Head left up Broadhead Ave to a crosswalk over Route 32 and head left on-road to your first right up Henry Dubois Rd. This narrow hilly road takes you up to Putt Corners Rd. BIKE LANES & BIKE SHARROWS are located along this road. Head right along Putt Corners Rd following another BIKE LANE which will bring you to Route 299 and the paved Hudson Valley Rail Trail .
The trail then passes by the old New Paltz Train Station as it enters downtown and crosses over Main St (Route 299) at 7.3 miles.
Note; Heading right down Route 299 leads to the River to Ridge Trail. SEE BELOW.
Note; Funding has been approved to restore a 5.45-mile corridor of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail between the Village of New Paltz and the Town of Gardiner. Expected completion date: June 2023.
The Wallkill River is down to the right, although the trail soon pulls away from it. After crossing Plains Rd at 7.6 miles, the trail surface reverts to stone-dust.
Note; Right a pedestrian bridge leads to the Sojourner Truth Park parking lot. Picnic tables & boat launch for Wallkill River. Kayak rentals.
A meandering stream follows below along your right and power lines are up to your left. The trail surface did alternate between crushed stone, stone-dust and single and double track grass lined? The trail is more open and thus less shaded. You cross over a creek at 9.1 miles with good views of the ridgeline and pass through an apple orchard at 9.6 miles. Cross a bridge over Forest Glen Rd at 11.1 miles. At 12.7 miles the trail is nice stone-dust as it takes you into Gardiner at 13 miles where the trail crosses Main St (Route 44). Parking and food is available here. After crossing Sand hill Rd at 14.1 miles, the trail narrows and turns into a single or double track grass lined surface. The trail then ends after 15.5 miles at Dennison Road.
Note; An on-road Detour is necessary to connect to an undeveloped section of the rail bed further south because a correctional facility has been erected on a portion of the old rail bed. From there, you can then connect to the paved Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail. Turn right along Dennison Rd and then a left when you reach Sand Hill Rd. At the end of this road turn left along Galesville Rd and merge straight onto River Rd. When the road turns to gravel by McKendrick Rd to your left head right to rejoin the old rail trail after 2.3 miles. See: Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail .
River to Ridge Trail:
Shawangunk Ridge Carriage Roads & River-to-Ridge Trail (Project Spotlight here).
The Open Space Institute and others created the River to Ridge Trail which meanders through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, connecting New Paltz directly to the SHAWANGUNK RIDGE and 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the MOHONK PRESERVE and MINNEWASKA STATE PARK PRESERVE . The Lower Section is mostly flat, while the Upper Section contains hills. The Mohonk Preserve Section loops around the preserve and contains some hills. A Day Use Pass is required for the Carriage Road Trails in the preserve, but I don't believe you need one on the R2R Trail, as the map says "Day Pass beyond this point" which does not include the R2R Trail.
Starting from the intersection of Main Street and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in New Paltz; Travel south down Main St (Route 299) to the Wallkill River Bridge. A promenade with informational boards and map overlooks the river here at the start of the River to Ridge Trail. Cross the bridge over the river and head right along the crushed gravel Lower Section at 0.1 miles. Pass another map board as the trail travel around open fields and alongside the river. Cross a small stream before coming to a shaded tree grove at 0.7 miles with some picnic tables overlooking the river. The trail then pulls away from the river back through open fields. Come to an intersection and head left.
Note; Right brings you to the Springtown Road parking lot. You can also rent bikes here. See; NEW PALTZ BIKING .
Come to another map board and Bike Station. Crosswalk over Springtown Rd. The trail continues around an open field with little shade. Cross Lewis Lane at 1.6 miles. Here you'll start the Upper Section which heads uphill. Travel up and over the hill before passing by an intersection at 1.8 miles and continuing straight. You'll loop back to here. Cross a bridge and continue uphill. Come to the Mohonk Preserve intersection at 2.4 miles. Great views of the Shawangunk Ridge. Granite seating.
Note; Heading left the trail travels downhill, looping back to the intersection at 3 miles. Return the way you came for a 4.8 mile Loop.
Re-zeroing Mileage: Right, the trail continues downhill to Butterville Rd after 0.3 miles. Cross the road and enter the Mohonk Preserve.
Note; The trails in the Mohonk Preserve require a Day Use Pass, however, this section is still along the River to Ridge Trail and the map says "Day Pass beyond this point" which does not include the R2R Trail.
The wide crushed gravel trail crosses over Kleine Kill before coming to Pine Rd. Start of another Loop. Travel right along Pine Road (low traffic) to the base of the Shawangunk Ridge. A short steep climb is required. Come to a Map board and green gate on your left at 1 mile.
Note; Straight leads to the Pine Road parking area (Fee) and access to the Mohonk Preserve Carriage Road Trails (Fee).
Head left past the gate along the crushed gravel White Oak Path. Come to another intersection and Map board, turn left along Lenape Lane (low traffic). Travel through open fields. Come to the Loop intersection on your left at 2 miles. This is where you loop back.
Note; Before looping back continue straight. A bridge will take you over Butterville Rd, but as of Oct 2020, was still under construction. Detour. Bear right to Butterville Rd and head left. Take your first right along Gatehouse Rd. Just past the red barn turn right which will bring you up to Lenape Lane (closed to traffic). Head left along the wide crushed gravel trail through a canopy of trees surrounded by open fields. Benches, informational boards. Pass by a gazebo on your right before passing through the arch of the stone 1907 Testimonial Gateway. The trail dead ends ahead so turn right to reach the Testimonial Gateway parking lot after 0.7 miles. Restrooms, Map board, Bike Station.
After checking out the Testimonial Gateway (1.4 mile round trip) head right at the Loop intersection along the trail as it winds through the fields & woods along a hilly route. Cross Pine Rd and Butterville Rd returning to the Mohonk Preserve intersection after a 2.9 mile Loop (4.3 miles including Testimonial Gateway).
CLICK HERE FOR WALLKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR HUDSON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR RIVER to RIDGE TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR KINGSTON GREENWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR HUDSON VALLEY GREENWAY MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EMPIRE STATE TRAIL MAP
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