The 15-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail uses the old Wallkill Valley Railroad bed and extends from Rosendale at Route 213 through its halfway point in New Paltz to the Gardiner and Shawangunk town line. Since much of the corridor north of Rosendale has been acquired, you may someday be able to travel all the way to Kingston.
To conquer the trail in one trip, have a friend drop you off at the northern access point near Route 213 in Rosendale. From Route 213 take Keaton Avenue south, and after crossing the bridge, take the first right as the road starts to climb steeply. In two blocks you come to the beginning of the trail, where Keaton Avenue becomes Mountain Road. Unfortunately at this time you cannot access the 940-foot trestle over Rondout Creek, but plans are in the works to fix the bridge for pedestrian use.
When the trail crosses Mountain Road, its surface becomes a mixture of gravel, cinders, grass and dirt. The surrounding landscape is equally mixed. The trail cuts through hillsides, wetlands, forests and fields.
At about mile 3 you cross Springtown Road, followed by a fine example of a steel-truss bridge over placid Wallkill River. South of the bridge, a viewing platform with benches off of the trail encourages enjoyment of the wetland wildlife. For almost 0.25 mile between Plains Road and Broadhead Avenue in New Paltz, the trail is asphalt.
In New Paltz, the trail is adjacent to Huguenot Street, a National Historic Landmark District. At the intersection of the trail and Main Street in New Paltz, a great restaurant occupies the restored former train station. There are shops and additional eateries in New Paltz to tempt trail users.
South of New Paltz, the trail surface returns to gravel and is a little rougher, but before you leave the outskirts of New Paltz, the trail gives you direct access to the Wallkill. The thick tree stand and cool water offer a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. Much of the next 5 miles pass through agricultural landscape and wetlands. The hedges lining the trail can grow high and thick, but every now and then a view of a small farm or field opens up. The trail ends suddenly at Denniston Road at the Gardiner and Shawangunk town line, but it's more convenient to load bikes in the hamlet of Gardiner, which has parking and an excellent ice cream shop on the trail as well.
Parking and Trail Access
To reach the Rosendale endpoint, take the New Paltz exit off I-87 (New York State Thruway). Turn left on State Route 299/Main Street. Turn right on State Route 32. Stay on Route 32 when it merges with State Route 213. Turn left on Tilson Road. Turn right onto Springtown Road. Springtown Road becomes Elting Road. Turn left onto Mountain Road. The trail begins just before you reach Fairview Avenue.
To reach the Gardiner trailhead, take the New Paltz exit off I-87 (New York State Thruway). Turn left on State Route 299/Main Street. In New Paltz, turn left on to State Route 208. Follow this to the intersection of Highway 44/State Route 55 and turn right. Now on Main Street head west into downtown Gardiner, then turn right on 2nd Street. Parking is on the left.
Great views but rough surface
The views from the trail are pretty great. But I found that my hybrid could not handle all the rocks on the trails surface. I mean big rocks, Fist and dinner plate sized rocks that covered much of the trail. I would recommend only using the trail with ...
I biked this trail for the first time today, although not the entire trail. I started in Gardiner and only got as far as the Plattekill Creek and then back to Gardiner, about 8.5 miles round trip. Mostly shaddy with a few sunny open fields with nice views ...
Beautiful and Easy Trail
We rode this trail for the first time on 4/21/12. We started in New Paltz and rode to Route 44 in Gardiner before heading back to New Paltz. It was a really nice ride. Passed a couple of small farms that you can see from trail. Also saw a couple of geese ...