HARLEM VALLEY RAIL TRAIL:

WASSAIC-HILLSDALE, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:     September 12, 2020

Length:               Wassaic to Copake Falls; 24.7 miles

                              Route 22 to Hillsdale; 1 miles 

Difficulty:           Easy. Paved flat rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Wassaic (Southern End);  From Routes 22, 44 & 343 in Amenia, follow Routes 22 & 343 south 3.7 miles to Furnace Bank Rd and turn left to Wassaic. Cross the RR tracks where you'll find the Main Street parking lot on your right. 

To start from the Wassaic Metro-North Train Station (Southern End);  From Routes 22, 44 & 343 in Amenia, follow Routes 22 & 343 south 2.6 miles to the train station parking lot in Wassaic. Note Parking is free only on weekends and holidays. You can take the Metro-North train from NY to this station, including your bike. For more information visit; METRO-NORTH

To start from Amenia (Southern End); From Routes 22, 44 & 343 in Amenia, follow Route 343 east and take your first right on Mechanic St. The trail parking lot is just down this street on the left. If the trail parking lot is full, you can park in the dirt lot at the Amenia Fire Company at 36 Mechanic St (on the right heading toward Rt. 22).

To start from Coleman Station (Central); From Amenia head north 4.3 miles on Routes 22 & 44. Turn right on Route 58. The parking lot will be to your right after a mile where the trail crosses Route 58. 

To start from Millerton Station (Central); From Amenia head north on Routes 22 & 44 to the town of Millerton. Turn right on Route 44 and you'll quickly come to the trailhead on your right. Parking is located to your left.

To start from Under Mountain Road (Central); From the Taconic State Pkwy take the Route 23 exit and travel east to Hillsdale. Turn right on Route 22 and travel 8.4 miles south. Just past Route 3, look for Under Mountain Rd on your left. The parking lot will be 0.5 miles up along your left.

To start from Copake Falls (Northern End); From the Taconic State Pkwy take the Route 23 exit and travel east to Hillsdale. Turn right on Route 22 and travel 4 miles south. Turn left on Route 344 east and follow to Copake Falls (Taconic State Park is located here as well). The parking lot is located to the left of the Taconic State Park entrance. Additional parking is located at the Copake Iron Works Historic Site, just 0.3 miles further along Route 344/Valley View Rd. Follow signs. Note; It's worth the 1.7 mile side trip to visit BASH BISH FALLS STATE PARK  just up Route 344 and over the state line in MA.

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail follows the rail bed of the former New York & Harlem Railroad, which was built in 1851 and became the Harlem Division of the New York Central Railroad in the 1870's. When complete it will run 46 miles from Wassaic to Chatham, NY. The trail starts from Wassaic and  travels north to Hillsdale (short gap in Hillsdale). The last section up to Chatham is currently undeveloped as of Sept. 2020. For more information visit;  HARLEM VALLEY RAIL TRAIL

Starting from Wassaic; The paved trail starts off Furnace Bank Rd next to the old Maxon Mills. South side of Furnace Rd is a small Pocket Park overlooking Wassaic Creek and the old brick Borden's Condensed Milk Co factory. Informational boards & picnic table. 

Note; Just south of the Main Street parking lot is an old RR freight building that houses the Wassaic Commons Bike Shop.

Note; A crushed gravel trail continues south between the RR tracks and Wassaic Creek leading 0.2 miles to Wassaic Park. Playground. 

The paved Harlem Valley Rail Trail heads north past the old Maxon Mills, RR siding tracks still in place and alongside the active RR tracks. Travel past meadows with horses and hills before coming to a boardwalk over wetlands. This brings you up to the Wassaic Train Station parking lot after 0.6 miles. Pass by the station and follow a wooded corridor that parallels Routes 22 & 343. Cross Dunn Rd and the trail veers away from the road. Cross Mechanic Street and pass the parking lot after 3.2 miles in Amenia. You'll find a signboard here, as well as a Porto-potty. The trail continues north through woodland and farm fields. Cross over Route 343 at 4.3 miles. After crossing Sharon Station Road (small parking area) you'll pass by a marsh before reaching the old Sharon Rail Station.  The old station is now a private residence. Then cross Sharon Station Rd at 6.4 miles. Pass by the Coleman Station Road parking lot and road at 7.7 miles. There is a signboard here, as well as a Porto-potty. Just across the road is an historic signboard that explains the local history, including that this area was once a part of Connecticut. You'll cross an old railroad bridge over Indian Lake Rd at 8.4 miles and another RR bridge over Mill Rd. You pass through a steep rock cut and cross a bridge over Downy Rd at 9.4 miles. Mill Rd parallels the trail to your left. You come alongside Webatuck Creek at 10.5 miles and cross the creek a couple more times before coming to Route 44 in Millerton after 11.3 miles. There are shops and places to eat here, as well as a parking lot. Pass by the old Millerton Freight Station. The original NY & Harlem Rail Station, built in 1851, is located on the west side of the trail and contains a florist shop, while the old NY Central Rail Station, built in 1910 is located on the east side of the trail. The trail continues north into the woods crossing over Webatuck Creek. Cross Beilke-State Line Rd, then cross the Creek again and come alongside Route 22 briefly at 12.5 miles.

Note; When I rode this trail the next 1 mile section was not yet open in Sept 2020.

The trail follows Webatuck Creek and it's scenic wetlands north. Boardwalks are used where the RR tracks used to follow the causeway. Cross Rudd Pond Rd at 14.3 miles. More boardwalks all along this section. Pass by the large pond created by Webatuck Creek on your left. Both an open and wooded corridor. Cross White House Crossing Rd at 16.6 miles. Pass by another large pond fed by Noster Kill. Another boardwalk causeway before heading into the woods and more boardwalks. Cross Boston Corners Rd at 18.4 miles. Slight downhill section here. Cross a brook followed by a short berm before coming to the Under Mountain Road parking lot at 19.5 miles. Map board located here. The trail heads into the woods. Travel along a berm and through a rock cut and after 21.6  miles, you'll spot an old stone railroad mile marker on your right with the markings NY 103, thus New York 103 miles. These RR mile markers were spaced 1 mile apart along the rail bed. After 22.5 miles you'll encounter a  short on-road detour along a quiet dirt road (Valley View Rd). 

Note; If you head left along Valley View Rd you'll be rewarded with a nice view of the valley.

Heading right along Valley View Rd you'll pick up the rail trail again on your left after 0.4 miles where the road takes a sharp right. You cross a large bridge that spans Bash Bish Brook before passing by the old Copake Falls Station at 23.5 miles in Copake Falls. The old station is now a camp store. Map board located here.

Note; A quick on-road side trip will bring you to the remains of the old Copake Iron Works Historic Site. Head right along Valley View Rd bearing right at the intersection where you'll cross an iron bridge over Bash Bish Brook. Keep straight and you'll enter the Copake Iron Works Historic Site after only 0.3 miles. Informational signs along the route.

Note; It's worth the 1.7 mile side trip to visit BASH BISH FALLS STATE PARK  just right up Route 344 and over the state line in MA. (Steep climb if biking)

Cross Route 344 and pass by the Copake Falls parking lot on your left and the entrance to TACONIC STATE PARK on your right. 

The trail continues through a wooded corridor along a berm before emerging along open fields at 24.2 miles. The trail then winds through the fields, passing by RR mile marker NY 106, before ending at the Orphan Farm Road parking lot after 24.7 miles. Map board located here.

As of Sept 2020, a 1 mile gap exists between the next section. A bridge is planned to be built over Route 22 in 2021 to connect to the 1.5 mile trail between Anthony St in Hillsdale and Black Grocery Rd in Copake. I haven't checked out this next section yet.

HH

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