The final passenger cars of the Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad ran in 1958, but the rail line that so influenced development of this area still sparks nostalgia. The "Old Put" carried commuters from New York City north to Brewster, where connections took travelers to Boston and Montreal. Freight service for farm products from rural areas of Putnam and Westchester counties continued until the 1980s.
Nearly 45 miles of the Old Put corridor, from Van Cortlandt Park in New York City north to Putnam County, have been converted into four connecting rail-trails. The Putnam Trailway is the northernmost of the trails atop the train line. Currently 11 miles are open for public use from the Putnam County line at Baldwin Place, where Westchester County's North County Trailway
terminates, to Putnam Avenue in Brewster.
North from Baldwin Place is a gentle uphill slope. Busy Route 6 is just to the west, and a residential development flanks the east side of the trail. As you briefly enter a wooded area, Bloomer Pond appears on your right. Bucks Hollow Road runs adjacent to the trail here, providing several access points. The hamlet of Mahopac provides additional opportunities to access the trail.
Past Croton Falls Road the trail enters a mixed hardwood forest for the 1.7 miles to Lake Casse. The woods are busy with squirrels and chipmunks foraging for food and shelter. Many bird species live in these woods; their calls can be heard throughout the day.
To take in the view at Lake Casse, hop off the trail at Lake Road. After Lake Casse, the rail-trail descends and plunges into a dense forest. On the outskirts of the hamlet of Carmel, the trail runs along Route 6 again with the south bank of Lake Gleneida on the far side of the road. Swimming is prohibited because the lake is a municipal water supply. But in winter warmly dressed anglers cluster around their ice-fishing holes. Warm weather fishing and boating are also permitted here.
A final 0.9-mile section to North Main Street in Brewster will be completed by 2012.
To reach the Somers trailhead from the Taconic Parkway, exit for US 6 East. At Baldwin Place turn right onto State Route 118. Parking for the trail is off of the second entrance into Somers Commons Shopping Center.
To reach the Old Mine Road Trailhead in Tilly Foster from I-84, take Exit 19 to State Route 312. Proceed west on Route 312 for about 1 mile. At the intersection of Route 312 and US 6 (Carmel Avenue), go straight. Turn left onto Tilly Foster Road. Trailhead parking is on the right.