DUTCHESS RAIL TRAIL:
EAST FISHKILL-POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 20, 2018
Length: Dutchess Rail Trail; 13.1 miles
Poughkeepsie Waterfront Spur; 1.4 miles
Waryas Park Riverfront Trail; 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.
Northern section; From Route 9 take the Routes 55 & 44 exit east. Travel about 1.5 miles and turn left on Worrall Ave (Route 115) Continue along Route 115 for about 1.5 miles and turn left on Salt Point Turnpike. Follow to the intersection of Smith St and Creek Rd. Take a sharp right on Creek Rd and turn left into the Morgan Lake Park parking lot. You can also park at the Walkway Over the Hudson parking lot. There is a parking fee for up to 4 hours, however, next to the pay parking lot is dirt parking lot with free parking.
Central section; From the Taconic State Pkwy take the Route 55 exit west. Travel 4.5 miles and turn left on Old Manchester Rd (Route 49). Old Manchester Road parking lot 1 is on your left. Old Manchester Road parking lot 2 is just up this road on your left.
Southern section; From I-84 take exit 16 to the Taconic State Pkwy north. Take the Route 52 exit west to East Fishkill. Take a right on Route 376 to Hopewell Junction. Turn right on Routes 82 & 376. For the Turner Street parking lot; Continue straight on Route 82 and cross over a bridge. Take an immediate left on Turner St and you'll come to a parking lot and the start of the trail. For the Hopewell Junction Depot parking lot; Turn left on Route 376. You'll take a sharp right and come to Railroad Ave straight ahead before Route 376 turns left. Travel down Railroad Ave to reach the trail and parking lot.
The Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line has a stop in Poughkeepsie. For more information visit; Metro North Railroad . If you click on the individual stations, they have available both directions and maps.
The Dutchess Rail Trail was built on the old rail bed that was once part of the Maybrook Line. The double track line opened for service in 1892 and functioned as a passenger and freight line until well into the 1900ís. The Maybrook Line provided the only train crossing of the Hudson River between New York City and just south of Albany and was an important railroad link for Connecticut and the rest of the Northeast. In 1974, its regular use was terminated after a fire on the Poughkeepsie Railroad-Highland Bridge interrupted the lineís continuity. This bridge, at 6,768 feet long and 212 feet above the river, was hailed as the longest railroad bridge in the world when it was completed in 1888. The Dutchess Rail Trail connects to the WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON, the converted RR trestle over the Hudson River. You may also access the Poughkeepsie Waterfront here. The Walkway Over The Hudson then connects to the HUDSON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL . All are part of the Empire State Trail , which will be 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. For more information visit; DUTCHESS RAIL TRAIL .
Starting from the Turner Street parking lot; Here, two rail lines merged, with the other line still active over to your left. Wooden mile marker 0 is located at the start of the trail and appears on your right every 0.5 miles.
Note; Heading South the trail travels underneath Route 82 and brings you to Martin Rd. Future plans call for extending the trail south as part of the Maybrook Trailway to Brewster.
Heading North, the trail is paved and the widest I've ever encountered. A jogging path also parallels the trail. You quickly come to the Hopewell Junction Depot parking lot along with a map board on your left. The old depot, built in 1873, houses a visitors center & museum. Restrooms available. At one time, three different rail lines were served by Hopewell Junction. Another nice feature along the trail are the placements of sign posts at all junctions and intersections. There are also informational signs posted along the trail as well. After crossing Whortiekill Creek you'll cross over Route 376 at 0.4 miles. Heading north the trail enters the woods and is much more isolated then the northern section. After 1.2 miles you travel past Lake Walton on your left. Next you cross Lake Walton Rd at 2.4 miles and come to another map board. Cross a bridge over Route 376 with access spurs down to the road. Cross Sprout Creek bridge at 2.9 miles, travel through a rock cut and look left where you can still find some of the old telephone poles from the RR days. You'll come to the Diddell Road parking lot at 4 miles. Map board and Porto-potty's located here. After crossing Diddell Rd you travel along a high berm with steep drop offs along both sides of the trail. Cross a bridge over Maloney Rd at 5.4 miles with access spurs to the road. This takes you from the town line of Wappinger into LaGrange. Pass a side trail to Gold's Gym parking lot, which contains a sports cafe, before crossing a bridge over Titusville Rd at 6.5 miles. Just before the 7.5 mile marker you'll spot and old bridge abutment. Pass by a spur trail at 8.1 miles to the Old Manchester Road parking lot 1 followed by a second spur on your right to the Old Manchester Road parking lot 2. Here you'll cross an extended bridge over Old Manchester Rd, Wappinger Creek and Route 55. Travel along a causeway through a marsh at 9 miles and past the Overocker Road parking lot at 9.6 miles. Travel underneath the Dutchess Turnpike (Route 44) and you'll soon be traveling along a high berm. Cross over Van Wagner Rd via an old RR bridge before coming to North Grand Ave at 11.3 miles. Here you'll find an original Maybrook Rail Line signal that works. Another bridge takes you over Route 115 where you pass by St. Peters Cemetery followed by a bridge over Fall Kill. After traveling underneath Creek Rd you come to the spur for the Morgan Lake Park parking lot at 12 miles. Restrooms, a map board, benches and picnic tables are located here. Pass by an old cement RR Whistle marker on your left at 12.3 miles as you travel through a rock cut, followed by a tunnel underneath Route 9G. Crosswalk over Buckingham Ave as you travel a berm along a residential corridor in Poughkeepsie. Cross several old RR bridges before traveling alongside the Walkway Over the Hudson parking lot and coming to the start of the Walkway Over the Hudson at 13.1 miles.
Note; The new Walkway East Visitor Center is currently under construction and expected to open here in June 2019.
Note; A Spur Trail/Route will take you down to the Poughkeepsie Waterfront. Head left through the Lower parking lot out to Parker Ave. Turn right and travel on-road (narrow sidewalk) down to Washington St. There are several street options, but I followed the suggested route (shown on map) by turning left on Washington St to a stoplight over to Verazzano Blvd (Caution; no crosswalk/light. Cross on red light). Travel on-road down Verazzano Blvd alongside Fall Kill to Mt Carmel Pl and turn right (wide sidewalk available). Bear left on Dutchess Ave and travel underneath the Walkway to Albany St. Head right (residential road) to Hoffman St and turn left. Cross over Route 9 and the RR tracks to N Water St. Turn left along a brick lined sidewalk and travel back underneath the Walkway. You'll pass by the entrance to UPPER LANDING PARK (access to the Walkway Over the Hudson elevator) before crossing Fall Kill (look left to spot a small waterfall and informational sign) and coming to the entrance for the MID-HUDSON CHILDREN'S MUSEUM. Beautiful old brick buildings here. Turn right and follow the sidewalk alongside Fall Kill and past a pavilion to the Hudson River after 1.4 miles. Here you can head left along the paved Waryas Park Riverfront Trail. This trail travels alongside the river through Waryas Park, passing by the Children's Museum, a skateboard park, picnic tables, informational signs and a parking lot. Next you'll pass by the ICE HOUSE Restaurant, dock and pavilion before coming to a playground with a neat "whale" sculpture.
Note; Just past the pavilion is a trail leading to Main St. You can head up Main St to access the Metro-North's Poughkeepsie Station.
Just past the play ground the trail ends after 0.3 miles at a dock overlooking Kaal Rock and the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
Note; Future plans call for continuing the trail around Kaal Rock to the Poughkeepsie Landing Promenade.
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