While hugging the New York state line, the Delaware & Hudson Rail-Trail quietly rambles over the rolling hills and farmland of western Vermont. The 22.3-mile D&H actually comprises two trails split in nearly equal sections, each providing quintessential Vermont solitude.
The trail traces an old Delaware & Hudson line that operated between Rutland and Albany, New York, playing a vital role in the slate industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Where the right-of-way crosses the border into New York, the corridor has not been developed as a trail, hence the gap.
To explore the northern section, begin at the Castleton trailhead. From the campus of Castleton State College, the trail delves into lush pockets of northern hardwood trees and provides a glimpse of Vermont farmland. After 7 miles you'll reach Poultney, south of which the trail ends abruptly at the New York state line.
The southern section of the trail begins at the state line just north of West Pawlet. The best spot to access the trail is at the West Pawlet trailhead, which is approximately 2.5 miles south of the northern terminus. This 2.5-mile stretch into town is densely forested and ends at trailhead parking near an industrial site. South of town, the trail opens up a bit, offering sweeping views of the surrounding hills and countryside. Don't be surprised to see deer all along this trail. After passing a parking area outside the small village of West Rupert, the trail continues only 0.5 mile farther before reaching its southern terminus, ending at the state border.
Parking and Trail Access
Northern Section: To reach the Castleton trailhead from Rutland, take US 4 west to Exit 5, head west 0.5 mile on State Route 4A, and turn left into the entrance of Castleton State College on Seminary Street. Turn right into the visitor parking area. At the end of the lot are rows of designated trail parking spaces.
To reach the Poultney trailhead from Rutland, take US 7 south to Wallingford, then head west on Route 140 into Poultney. In town, turn left on Grove Street then right on Bentley Street. The trailhead is on the left.
Southern Section: To access the West Pawlet trailhead from Rutland, take US 4 west to Exit 4, head south on Route 30 about 9 miles, then turn south on Route 153 into West Pawlet. At the T-junction with Egg Street, turn right. The trailhead is on the right.
To reach the West Rupert trailhead, follow State Route 153 south to the village of West Rupert. Make a right turn on Hebron Road and follow it until you see the trail.
My family of 2 adults, 2 kids parked at the "trail head" in West Pawlet on 4/27/2013 and headed north on bikes, to check out the short bit up to the northern end of that Southern half of the two part rail trail. About 1.25 miles north from West Pawlet ...
Castleton to Poultney
Hybrid bike would be fine. A good short ride. Use bathroom facilities at Castleton State College.
Parking for the south near NY
I just wanted to note that when you click on "view map" it shows a parking symbol for the bridge at Cross Rd but not one for the large parking area, complete with a large trailhead-type sign, at the intersection of Rte 153 and Hebron Rd about 0.5 miles ...