OLD PUTNAM RAIL TRAIL:
BRONX, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: Dec 08, 2021
Length: Old Putnam Rail Trail; 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.
You can access the Old Putnam Rail Trail from the Southern End of the South County Trailway or the Western End of the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway.
You can also start from Van Cortlandt Park.
The Old Putnam Rail Trail follows the abandoned rail line of the old Putnam Branch, a commuter line on the NY Central Railroad that ran from Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx north through Van Cortlandt Park to Brewster, NY. For more information visit; OLD PUTNAM RAIL TRAIL .
The Old Putnam Rail Trail is one of four interconnected rail-trails on the former New York Central Railroad's Putnam Division line. This former railroad provided freight and passenger service from 1881 to 1958 between the Bronx and Putnam County. Starting from Van Cortlandt Park in the northwest Bronx, the Old Putnam Rail Trail travels north to the South County Trailway in Westchester County. When you cross Old Saw Mill River Rd the trail turns into the North County Trailway and continues north to Putnam County where it becomes the Putnam County Trailway. The Putnam County Trailway will soon connect (Bridge still under construction as of 2023) to the Maybrook Trailway in Brewster. The Tarrytown Lakes Spur Trail travels west from the junction of the North & South County Trailways.
The Old Putnam Rail Trail is part of the Empire State Trail , which is 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 south a 3 mile on-road route connects to the Manhattan Waterfront Trail and to the north you continue along the South County Trailway .
The Old Putnam Rail Trail is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.
Starting from the Southern End of the South County Trailway in Yonkers; The paved Old Putnam Rail Trail enters Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. (I haven't checked this trail since it was paved in 2020) After 0.3 miles you'll come alongside the Van Cortlandt Golf Course (the nations first Public Golf Course). You'll spot some old railroad ties along your left, along with an old railroad Mileage Marker reading NY6 (6 miles to NY). 0.6 miles takes you underneath the Mosholu Pkwy. You come to Van Cortlandt Lake at 1.1 miles. Just a bit further keep a sharp eye to your right. Here you'll spot 13 stone pillars all lined up in a row. In the 1910's, before the Grand Central Station was constructed, these pillars were used to decide which style to use in the new terminal. A path to the right of the pillars heads up to ball fields and a park. Next you travel across an old double span iron rail bridge.
Note; The Empire State Trail continues right somewhere taking you out to Broadway.
Note; You can access the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway from here. Head left past the lake and past a granite post with a gold medallion to Van Cortlandt Park access road and head left past the Van Cortlandt Golf Course Club House. You'll pick up the paved Mosholu-Pelham Greenway on your left.
Continuing straight you'll pass by what's left of the old Van Cortlandt Train Station on your left before crossing another old blue double span iron rail bridge at 1.6 miles. This is as far as we traveled. The trail continues towards a tunnel underneath Van Cortlandt Park S at the end of the park where it currently ends.
Note; Future plans call for continuing the Old Putnam Rail Trail south utilizing the Putnam Branch rail bed alongside the Major Deegan Expressway. In 2023, the city agreed to purchase the old rail bed from CSX, which owns the corridor. Also, Tibbetts Brook, which is buried along the old rail bed will be "Daylighted". Tibbetts Brook was dammed in the 18th century to form a mill pond in Van Cortlandt Park and by 1912 it was completely buried underground and directed into the city’s sewer system. The daylighting project will return it closer to its natural open-air path, which winds through the Kingsbridge neighborhood and empties into the Harlem River.
CLICK HERE FOR NY CITY 2023 BIKE MAP
CLICK HERE FOR EMPIRE STATE TRAIL MAP
CLICK HERE FOR VAN CORTLANDT PARK MAP
BEFORE YOU SET OUT BE SURE TO READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER
BIKE IT OR HIKE IT