ORANGE HERITAGE TRAIL:

HARRIMAN-MIDDLETOWN, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      May 25, 2021

Length:                Orange Heritage Trail; 15.6 miles

                              Middletown Extension; 3.3 miles

                              Crane Park Loop; 1.6 miles

Difficulty:            Orange Heritage Trail; Easy. Flat, paved rail trail.

Directions:

To start from Harriman [Eastern End]; From the junction of Routes 17 & 32 in Harriman follow Route 17 south. Travel underneath Route 6 and take your 2nd right on Evergreen Rd. Turn left on River Rd and follow to N Main St. Parking lot on your right.

To start from Monroe [Eastern End]; 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 to Route 17M and turn left. Take your first left onto Millpond Pkwy and the park is on the left. 

To start from Goshen [West Central Section]; From I-87 (NY State Thruway) take exit 16 to Route 17 west or from I-84 take exit 19A 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.

To start from Middletown [Western End]; Not sure where to park yet.

The Orange Heritage Trail follows 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. For more information visit; HERITAGE TRAIL .

Starting from River Road parking lot in Harriman [Eastern End]; The paved Orange Heritage Trail travels alongside River Rd before heading left (west) across a brook via an old RR bridge. Here the trail follows the old rail bed along a wooded corridor. You cross into Monroe where a small brook follows along your left. Pass by a marsh and Mountain Lakes on your right. Travel underneath Freeland St at 1.5 miles. Cross a bridge over Mapes Pl at 2.2 miles where the trail travels through downtown Monroe. Beautiful brick buildings. You'll pass by the 0 Mileage Marker. There are Mileage Markers every ½ mile (they start in Goshen and end in Monroe).  The trail now travels above Millpond Pkwy, passing by Mileage Marker 9.5 before coming to an informational board on your right and a stone-dust access path on your left at 2.7 miles.

Note; This stone-dust access path takes you down to Millpond Pkwy. Right leads to Airplane Park parking lot (which has an old jet plane in it, hence the name). Crane Park is across the road. 

Note; You can follow a 1 ½ mile Loop Trail around Crane Park. Directions start from Airplane Park. Head left back to Route 17M where you’ll find a crosswalk over to the paved trail across Millpond Pkwy. Follow the paved trail south between the Park and Route 17M, passing by Upper Monroe Pond. Cross Lake St traveling along the Lower Monroe Pond. You pass a small gazebo and butterfly garden before passing a small stone dam and coming to Stage Rd at 0.8 miles. Head left (sidewalk) up Stage Rd and you’ll quickly return to the paved trail on your left as it travels north between Millpond Pkwy and Lower Monroe Pond. Cross Lake St again and continue alongside Upper Monroe Pond. You’ll pass by the spur up to the Orange Heritage Trail at 1.5 miles and complete your loop back to Airplane Park after 1.6 miles.

The Orange Heritage Trail continues northwest. Police Bike Patrols monitor the trail. Travel underneath Route 208 and after 3.5 miles you pass by the Park & Ride Lot B parking area. Across Orange & Rockland Rd is Orange-Rockland Lake. Just past 3.7 miles you'll spot an old railroad mileage marker JC50, meaning 50 miles to Jersey City. You then pass by the Orange & Rockland Road parking lot at 3.8 miles. Here the trail heads into the woods and travels along a berm traveling underneath Routes 6 & 17 at 4.6 miles where you’re afforded some great views of the rolling hills to your left. Cross an old RR bridge (over Route 51) with a parallel bridge next to it that still has tracks laid out at 4.9 miles. This must have been a double wide railroad bed. 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 6.5 miles. 

Note; This area is part of the old Camp Laguardia. In 1918 New York built a prison (Greycourt Women’s Prison, also known as the Farm Colony at Greycourt) for young women following a sharp spike in female criminal activity in New York City. In 1934, Greycourt Women’s Prison was converted into Camp Greycourt, a work camp for homeless men. Renamed Camp LaGuardia in 1935 after the NY Mayor. The camp closed in November 2006.

Note; Another old rail bed (old Erie Railroad) heads NE from here through Blooming Grove, Washingtonville to Moodna Viaduct, a scenic railroad trestle in the Salisbury Mills section of Cornwall. Plans are in the works to convert 10 miles of this old rail bed into the Schunnemunk Rail Trail. Applying for funds in 2021.

After crossing another old RR bridge over Seely Brook, 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 7.2 miles. The trail then passes through open fields and begins a slight upgrade. You pass by the old Chester Railroad Depot at 8 miles (parking available here) in Chester and travel through a rock cut with thick stone block walls. Cross Black Meadow Creek at 9.6 miles and Old Chester Rd at 10.1 miles. As the trail tops out at 11.5 miles, keep an eye out to your right to spot an old Whistle stop marker. You come to a map board at 11.8 miles and cross South St. Next you pass by the 0 Mile Marker at 12 miles and finally come to the end of the paved trail in Goshen at 12.3 miles. The Goshen parking lot is located directly in front of you. 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 and 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 13 miles. Here, the paved Orange Heritage Trail continues along the old rail bed. It's a pretty open trail until you travel underneath Route 17 at 13.5 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 14.6 miles. 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 15.6 miles where the trail currently ends.    

Note; The trail was extended from Hartley Rd to Palmer Ave in Middletown in 2020. I haven't checked out this new section yet.

The next phase of the extension will take the Trail another 2.5 miles to East Main St in Middletown. That portion of the Trail should be completed in the spring of 2021.

HH

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