Ashokan Rail Trail

New York

6 Reviews

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Ashokan Rail Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Ulster
Length: 11.5 miles
Trail end points: Route 28A (Boiceville) and Basin Road (West Hurley)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 10824828

Ashokan Rail Trail Description

The Ashokan Rail Trail is an 11.5-mile multi-use trail that traces the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir, which provides a large proportion of New York City's drinking water. The trail sits on the the historical right-of-way of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad, which ceased operations in 1978 and was purchased by Ulster County the following year.

Travelers on the trail will enjoy spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains and the nearly 123 billion-gallon reservoir. The area abounds with red maples, birch and eastern white pine trees, and the pathway features protected wetlands and a 525-foot boardwalk. The route also crosses the 2,850-foot long, 60-foot tall Glenford Dike, an engineering marvel completed in 1912 to allow passage of trains bringing supplies to and tourists from New York City via the railroad.

The trail’s crushed-stone trail surface, measuring 10 to 12 feet in width at various points, is so compacted that thin-tired bikes can safely travel on it. The pathway is also ADA compliant and features no crossing streets. In winter, the unplowed trail can be enjoyed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire bike riding.

Parking and Trail Access

The Ashokan Rail Trail offers three trailheads with parking:

  • Woodstock Dike Trailhead located at 1285 NY 28 in West Hurley, which is 5.3 miles west of the NYS Thruway Exit 19 traffic circle and approximately 1,500 feet west of the Stewart’s Shop by Zena Road;

  • Ashokan Station Trailhead located at 3045 NY 28 in Shokan, which is 11.3 miles west of the NYS Thruway Exit 19 traffic circle across from Mountain Road;

  • Boiceville Bridge Trailhead located at 5080 Route 28A in Boiceville, which is off Route 28A and approximately 16.5 miles west of the NYS Thruway Exit 19 traffic circle. (Cold Brook Road is directly across Route 28A from this entrance.)

Ashokan Rail Trail Reviews

stunning foliage

Amazing ride in mid-October! Nice wide trail, mostly flat, plenty of benches to take breaks. Saw a beaver by its dam not far from the middle parking area

Ashokan

Beautiful Ride!!

beautiful water views

Rode this trail on 7/6/20, from the West Hurley trailhead to the end and back…about 23 miles. Trail is cinder/gravel, basically brand new since it was opened only last Fall. We were riding road bikes, one with 32c tires, one with 25 c… very doable, but I would say wider tires (trail or mountain bikes) are best here. It’s in pristine shape…about 80% shaded, nice diversity of trees on either side including pine, birch, oak. I counted four absolutely beautiful sections where you can see the reservoir (probably can see more in the Fall/Spring) and there are some nice raised boardwalks plus 2 or 3 bridges. My favorite parts of the trail were a long section along the water near the West Hurley trailhead, and the last section at the other end where you have expansive views of the water. So happy that this is now available to us all – kudos to everyone involved! Please also note that there is a wonderful waterfront walk/bike path, called the Promenade, on the other side of the reservoir…gorgeous views of the surrounding hills. Worth checking out as well!

A path to the Catskills

I rode this trail end to end today and it's in great shape. Suitable for any bike type but optimized for any tires more robust than "skinny" road types. It is mostly in heavily wooded terrain with occasional views of the Ashokan Resevoir and the Catskill Mountains. There is informative signage on the history and natural history of the area. You can do a loop ride utilizing quiet roads on the south side of the Resevoir (can get hilly) or Route 28 (busy but with decent shoulders for the most part). Or you can, as I did, continue north west on Route 28 into the heart of the Catskill Mountains. A word of caution: the Port-a-Pottys at the three trailheads are all closed due to the Coronavirus.

Accordion

Stunning Beautiful

I have ridden my bike there twice, once in the fall, once in spring. The trail itself is hard-crushed gravel, very firm and nice. I think all but the skinniest racing tires would be fine on this trail. It is very popular with families, couples, singles, fisher folks and birdwatchers, whether walking, biking, or X-country skiing. There are signs explaining the historical development of the reservoir and area. Bring binoculars and snacks. All 3 parking lots are close to local attractions and amenities.

It is a mostly a flat trail with scenery to take your breath away. At the eastern end, with the largest parking lot near the Stewarts shop on Route 28, one is closest to the waters of the Ashokan reservoir. The western end has a steel bridge over the Esopus creek that fills the reservoir, and further on a wooden bridge that crosses a marsh filled with wildlife. The parking lot for the western end is on a side road after crossing a bridge. Between them a good parking lot is visible right on Route 28 and the straight trail is sometimes close to Rt 28, sometimes closer to the meandering shore of the reservoir, visible at varying distances through the trees.

Now, with the Covid-19 shutdown there is less land and sky traffic so it can be very quiet when out hiking and biking.

Boiceville trailhead

The Boiceville trailhead is beautiful however the parking lot is too small

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