Much of the Heritage Trail, a.k.a. the Orange Heritage Trail, sails past wide fields of corn and wheat. The right-of-way is 11.5 miles, but a gap in the west end creates two distinct trails, a 9.1-mile paved section and a 2.4-mile unpaved segment. With the exception of the 0.5-mile, on-road detour in between, there are only a few street crossings, making this an ideal destination for families with young children.
The longer portion of the Heritage Trail starts in Monroe at Crane Park, also called Airplane Park for the old Saber fighter jet in a corner of the park along Mill Pond Parkway. The smooth pavement here draws bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchair users and parents with strollers. Just beyond the park, Orange-Rockland Lake dominates the view to the right. The park-and-ride lot along Orange and Rockland Road makes the trail an excellent active transportation corridor for commuters taking public transit.
In the village of Chester is a restored stone-façade train station that serves as the Chester Depot Museum. Shops in the village offer mid-trip refreshments. Before you reach the village, you pass an old cemetery with weathered headstones dating to the 1800s. Between Chester and Goshen, the trail is lined with trees as it passes through farmland and wood lots and by residential developments.
The road detour begins with the end of the trail's paved section at St. James Place in Goshen. The traffic control signals and crosswalks make the detour easy to see. Follow the long narrow parking lot for two blocks, crossing Bruen Place and Greenwich Avenue. After crossing Greenwich Avenue, proceed as straight as possible to cross West Maine Street at the well-marked pedestrian crosswalk. Cross Grand Street at the pedestrian crosswalk and proceed on the sidewalk to cross Grant Street. Proceed around the right side of the restored railroad depot, which now serves as the Goshen police station. Follow Railroad Avenue around a townhouse development to connect to the remaining 2.4 miles of unpaved trail.
These 2.4 miles of trail are like a quiet country cousin of the paved section to the east. Other than passing under Route 17, you won't see a lot of other development. You will see birders and equestrians enjoying this less well-developed trail's rural surroundings. This section currently ends at Hartley Road but will be extended toward Middletown in the future.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach Airplane Park (a.k.a Crane Park) in Monroe, take Exit 130 off Route 17 onto Route 208 to Monroe. Bear right at the fork to a traffic light. Turn left at the light and make the first left onto Mill Pond Parkway. The park is on the left.
To reach the Goshen Trailhead, take Exit 3 off I-84 onto US Route 6 and State Route 17M heading east. Turn left onto Hartley Road. The beginning of the trail is on the left. There is limited parking at this location.
A great way to spend a few hours
Im a avid hiker and wanted to do a new trail but not have to bushwack my way through it. I can honestly say I wish I had been on this trail sooner. I loved it and will return. I did an 8 mile round trip and will be back in next week to try and extend ...
Absolutely Love it!
This was my first experience on a trail. I fell in love immediately. The Orange Heritage Trail was clean, beautiful and quite lengthy. I haven't been excising in a while and was pleasantly surprised by the ambiance. I was there during the Memorial holiday. ...
A windy day in April
I've been working in Orange county for just over a month through the tail end of winter. I found the trail on the county map and decided to give it a spin this morning. I drove to Chester and after a misadventure finding the old depot (signs folks, SIGNS!) ...