D & H Canal Heritage Corridor (O&W Rail-Trail)

New York

D & H Canal Heritage Corridor (O&W Rail-Trail) Facts

States: New York
Counties: Sullivan, Ulster
Length: 11.8 miles
Trail end points: Washington Ave (Kingston) and Kyserike Rd. (High Falls)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016632
Trail activities: Bike, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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D & H Canal Heritage Corridor (O&W Rail-Trail) Description

Sandwiched between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains near the busy US Route 209 corridor, this trail has a little something for everyone. The Delaware & Hudson Canal Heritage Corridor (D & H Canal), which contains the Ontario and Western Rail-Trail (O & W Rail-Trail), has a southern end with a natural surface that welcomes equestrians, walkers, mountain bikers and winter sports enthusiasts. The northern 2 miles adjacent to US 209 are asphalt and add inline skaters, road bikers and wheelchair users to the mix.

The D & H Canal was built in the 1820s to bring coal from the mountains of Pennsylvania to New York City markets. Laborers used picks and shovels to dig the 108-mile system. The canal operated until 1898 when it made the transition to faster and year-round rail transportation.

Entering the trail from the south, off Rest Plaus Road in Marbletown, you are surrounded by a dense forest of primarily deciduous trees native to the area. Farmland is occasionally visible through the wood line.

The hamlet of High Falls, at approximately mile 2, provides intriguing off-trail diversions. The D & H Canal Museum is just a block east from where the trail crosses State Route 213. There are also interesting shops and restaurants. Art galleries, antique shops, cafes and B&Bs can be found along the village's tree-lined streets.

The trail stretches through more wooded terrain, with occasional glimpses of the Catskill Mountains to the west. Reaching US Route 209, the trail turns to run parallel to the roadway and is paved for 2.1 miles. Landscaping (trees and shrubs separating the trail from the busy highway) is maintained by area businesses and civic organizations. Eagle Scouts have constructed kiosks and benches along this section of the trail.

The D & H Canal Corridor Heritage Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Delaware & Hudson Canal towpaths and the Ontario & Western Railway for recreation, is working to open additional miles of this historic pathway.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach Marbletown, from US Route 209, turn onto Old Kings Highway. At a fork in the road proceed straight onto Rest Plaus Road. This location doesn't have parking.

To reach the trailhead in Kingston, proceed south on US Route 209. Just after crossing the bridge over Esopus Creek, you will see trailhead parking on the left.

To reach Kyserike endpoint, head southwest on Old Kings Highway toward Kripple Bush Creek Road. Continue straight onto Kyserike Road. Turn left to stay on Kyserike Road and destination will be on the left behind Williams Lumber.

D & H Canal Heritage Corridor (O&W Rail-Trail) Reviews

I PICKED UP THE TRAIL OFF ROUTE 209N WHERE IT CROSSES OVER THE CREEK JUST BEFORE HURLEY. FIRST 2 MILES ARE PAVED AFTER THAT WELL PACKED CINDER FILL WITH OCCASIONAL LOOSE ROCKS. ONLY AFTER YOU PASS COTTEKILL RD.AND THE OLD RAILROAD BRIDGE WITH ITS STEEP DOWN AND UP GRADE WILL YOU HIT ROUGHER TERRAIN. I HAD ONLY 1.25 TIRES ON MY MT. BIKE AND PINCHED THE TUBE ON A ROCK. SINCE IT LOOKED LIKE RAIN (HEAVY CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON) I PATCHED THINGS UP AND HEADED BACK. ABOUT 1/2 WAY FROM THE START YOU WILL COME TO A MARSH AREA WITH A BENCH SET UP FOR VIEWING I STOPPED AND SPOTTED A GREAT BLUE HERON LOOKING FOR FOOD . NEXT TIME I WILL PUT MY 1.75 TIRES ON AND BE ABLE TO FINISH .

This is a good trail for cross country mountain biking. From the northern parking lot heading south the first two miles are paved, then it becomes dirt/cinder. The farther south you go the rougher it becomes. A new bridge was made over Rest Plaus Road, but if you are coming from Kingston you should turn back here as the trail is under construction further south. Heavy equipment has been used recently to widen and clear the ROW. If you continue on you can go another half-mile or so through black, peanut butter thick mud before coming to where the ROW crosses a stream. The bridge is out with just the two iron "I" beams crossing. Work has been done recently, but there is no decking.

This is currently my ideal trail. Well maintained and well marked with signage. Even if you are brand new to the trail it is very easy to stay on track and the various markers make it easy even for the novice to track their mileage.

I park on the north side of the trail (Kingston/Hurley/Rt 209). This affords me a few benefits... If you park at the far north lot, you have roughly 2 miles of asphalt trail to start. When the younger kids go, I start here as it allows them a couple miles of easy, relaxing, smooth riding.

When it's just me and the more advanced members of the fam, I skip the asphalt and park in the dirt lot 2 miles up the road. Most of the incline (it's a fairly easy going incline) seems to increase from this starting point. We enjoy this as the majority of the return trip is downhill when you decide to call it a day :)

The majority of the trail is fairly smooth. There are areas of larger loose rock and larger roots to watch out for here and there, but overall it is a fairly easy trail to navigate. Add mud and slippery areas to the equation when wet weather is about. Because of various areas with wet conditions, rocks, roots, etc., a Mountain Bike or Hybrid is definitely suggested.

One side note, about 4.2 miles from the start of the dirt trail, you will come across the Cottekill Fire Dept. Once you cross the road at this point to continue on the trail, you will come across a couple of much steeper hills. They are "walkable" with your bike if you choose not to ride it, and you can easily continue your ride on the other side of the hill(s) if you are, or have any novice riders that find it a bit intimidating. In other words, the two hills are not representative of the rest of the trail beyond ;)

Accordion

If you start riding from the Leggett Rd parking lot north, the trail is a little rough and there are some wet patches. A mountain bike is a better choice for riding. The kids love a section where the trail crosses a small stream and where there once was a large bridge. Here they can fly down to a much smaller bridge at the stream. At Marcotte Rd, look for an unusual home on the left after crossing the road. In my mind, this home adds to the quirky character of the Hudson Valley. When we reached a long lake/swamp, we stopped and listened to a Barred Owl. The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? It flew right over us and was chased by some birds. The lake is full of life – Snapping Turtles, Ducks, Geese, and Green Heron. We saw them all. Beavers also call this lake/swamp home. We saw their signs.

From here the trail continues at a downward slope until we reached a paved section. We passed a Snapping Turtle on the trail before getting to the pavement. This section travels along US 219 and passes Hurley – a historic little town. On a previous ride, we have stopped here to buy ice cream and to look at the old houses. The trail here is exposed to the sun and a berm separates the rode from the trail. Traffic noise is loud though along this section. The trail ends at the Esopus Creek. We rode a total of 15 miles to the end and back.

I echo all the comments and nice pictures posted, fun trail though surface is very variable and seasonable. What I just don't understand is where the portion north of the Esopus Creek, going towards Kingston, is to be found. It's in the pictures and descriptions but not on the map.
thank you.

i rode this trail today starting at the rte 209 trailhead going north toward hurley/kingston. this part of the trail is paved and runs alongside rte 209. it is a pleasant, easy ride. perhaps because the surface is paved, this part of the trail seems popular with walkers, runners, and the occasional baby stroller. there are some beautifully planted berms installed between the trail and the road and nice open views toward the catskills.

i reached the northern end of the trail and doubled back to the 209 trailhead, and continued south toward stone ridge/high falls. this part of the trail is mostly wooded and shaded and passes by creeks and wetlands. the surface was okay for the most part, but there are a few rough patches where you need to watch for rocks and roots (mainly south of the cottekill road crossing). i was not alone on the trail, but this part was less traveled than the northern section.

the steep hill just south of cottekill road has been mentioned. a railing has been installed, but still requires careful walking with the bike.

approaching high falls, the trail is less developed, but easy to follow. i exited the trail at rte 213 in high falls, making a left on 213 for a short hop across the bridge and into the village for breakfast. high falls is a nice destination with shops, galleries, restaurants, the d&h canal museum and 5 locks walk, and of course the falls itself.

i will definitely do this ride again. next time i'd like to explore the southern end of the trail between high falls and rest plaus road.

In my review I forgot to mention that a copy of the Marbleton trail brochure and map is available on line at www.marbletown.net and then Marbletown OW trail. Youker

I did this trail yesterday 8/28/12 starting at the 209 trail head just south of Esopus creek bridge where the Hurley section is 2 miles paved and the 3.1 next section is nice crushed stone. There is a small trail head off 209 as noted on the map where the two trails join. My wife picked me up at Marcott Road parking lot. Heading southwest on the 3.1 mile section it is gentle up hill. By the way this section is called the Marbleton Rail Trail and a great map and brochure is available at the Marcott Trail Head.

Hi, I saw that this hill is already mentioned. I have a a suggestion (would love to know where to send it) It's very difficult to walk down with a bike and a very bad idea to ride down. I would suggest putting a railing of some sort to hold on to as you walk down to control the pace and weight. The other hand can then hold the bike. It would make the ride possible. As it is now I'd want to turn back at that point. Thanks

This trail is fabulous but beware if you have dogs or young children...there is barbed wire fencing on either side of trail...some of it is old railroad fencing that is still there..some of it is just people who have private property and are trying to keep people out...one barbed wire is actually crossing a stream...my dog went over that wire last fall and it cost me $1300.00 in veterinary bills...so unless your dog is extremely obedient, I wouldn't risk him/her off leash...

"The part the past Cottakill road to Leggett road has very dangerous hill where once a rail road bridge was.
Do not ride down hill. It is very easy to fall. It is very poorily designed. "

Brush has been cleared and the trail now continues south past Rest Plas road. It was early spring and big puddles turned me back after about a half mile. Will try again when it dries up a little to see how far it goes.

"Another new section has been added. The trail now continues south of Leggett road for another 2.5 miles. It's a nice, quiet, mostly wooded section of trail. The surface is dirt with some exposed roots and a few big puddles. You have to cross rt. 213 and go up a steep embankment on the south side of 213. After 2-1/2 miles you come to Rest Plaus road where there is another steep down and up to cross the road. I would not bother going any further as the trail turns into a bushwhack from here. This new addition makes the trail over ten miles long and worth going out of your way to ride/hike it. "

The new two mile segment north of the route 209 parking lot is now paved. There is also a new paved parking lot at the north end. Hopefully it will some day connect to the .7 mile segment from Kingston but for now it just dead ends at the new parking lot.

Two miles of new trail have been added from the parking lot on 209 in Hurley. The new section goes north and ends at a bridge over the Esopus. Beware if you do this part on a hot sunny day. There is absolutely no shade and it gets pretty hot. The new addition makes that section of the trail eight miles long from Liggit road to the bridge at the end of the new section.

Some kind soul has trenched the trail so that the trail is now passable dry foot. Thanks Mr. D. Beaver population is now in decline.

"The trail betweeen Marcott Road and Hurley is now impassable at the beaver dam. Water is over 18 inches deep for at least 20 feet of the trail. With the freezing/thawing conditions of early December, this passage is dangerous. No dry foot path could be found on this date. I am recommending the town close this section until the flood is remediated."

"On Friday, November 9, 2003, I was trying to bike between Marcott Road and Hurley to the north when about three-quarter's of a mile down the road I ran into a beaver dam and a huge pond behind it. The trail was flooded and impassable. I tried bush-wacking with the bike, but it was rough. The fact it was hunting season was a factor in my retreat. I brought my 4 year old back to see the dam, the beaver lodge and the gnawed trees, and he dug it.

-Peter"

"This is an unimproved 0.7-mile long trail segment that extends from Taylor Street in Kingston, between a Super 8 Motel and Holiday Inn, to the road shoulder of US Route 209 northbound in Hurley just south of the Esopus Creek bridge.

On the day of my visit there was no dedicated trail user parking at either trailhead. There are many private parking lots in Kingston, including one at the Super 8 Motel, but I would not recommend parking in any of them without permission of a property owner. Parking on Taylor Road is very limited. No parking is allowed along the road shoulder of US Route 209 in Hurley.

The trail surface from end to end is totally unimproved. However, it is quite passable; whether you choose to travel by foot or mountain bike. There are some left-in-place railroad ties, standing water, mud, and large rocks to negotiate. I would classify the trail surface’s width as “single track.” That is, just wide enough for one bicycle or pedestrian.

Scenery along the route is what you might expect to find on an urban trail. Overhead electric power lines, a wastewater treatment plant, the backs of several commercial and industrial establishments, and a nearby super highway (the NY State Thruway).

The only saving grace of this trail is that thanks to a new trail construction project now underway along the road shoulder of US Route 209, it will provide a completely motor vehicle-free route of getting from downtown Kingston to the Hurley/Marblehead Rail Trail’s Hurley trailhead.

If you’re traveling through either Kingston or Hurley, by all means check this trail out. Don’t waste your time traveling from anywhere beyond the immediate area though; the trail is just too short and rustic to warrant a visit from afar."

"This is a very well maintained and scenic trail that parallels the eye-catching Rondout Creek between Kerhonkson and Accord/Rochester, NY. The trail is ideally suited for those seeking uninterrupted travel, as there are no public street crossings on its entire 3.5-mile long route. Motorized vehicles are prohibited from the trail. However, I did notice ATV tire tracks in some spots.

The trail offers users a choice of three dedicated parking areas. I parked in a public lot next to the Kerhonkson Fire Company, east of Route 209 off County Road 77, and headed due north. However, parking is also available at the Rochester Town Park for those wishing to work their way south. Or you may elect to park at the Berme Road trailhead lot in Accord/Rochester, which about halfway into the trail.

Elevation change along the entire trail route is posted as seven feet. Surface conditions were excellent; grass, packed dirt and cinder, and some gravel. There were a few exposed tree roots and left-in-place rail ties, but even beginner bikers should be able to navigate easily. Foliage has been cut well back from the trail’s center. I noticed a small amount of standing water in only one spot, which is excellent because it had rained heavily two days prior to my visit.

There were a few picnic benches near the Berme Road trailhead entrance, but no rest room facilities along the route itself. There’s a good possibility that the Rochester Town Park may have them though. Signs are posted at several points along the trail’s route and the Rondout Creek’s banks delineating private property from that available to trail users.

Vandals had destroyed all but one of the several historical information markers placed along the route. The only undamaged one I found was at the Accord/Rochester trailhead. Perhaps the others will be replaced soon.

I rate this trail as definitely worth paying a repeat visit to. My only complaint is that it was a bit too short for the distance I drove to get there. Plans have been formulated to add an extension onto its southern end, however grant monies have not been approved as of the date of my visit. If the extension is as nice at this segment, it will rank as one of the best trails in the State of NY."

"This is a review only of the 6.3 mile long O&W Rail Trail segment from Leggett Road near High Falls, NY to Route 209 near Hurley, NY. This segment of the trail is known locally as the Hurley Rail Trail.

Limited “trail use only” parking is available at the trailhead on Leggett Road near High Falls, on Marcott Road in Hurley, and also at the trailhead on Route 209. There is a firehouse next to a trail entrance on Cottekill Road in Cottekill but there are signs posting warning trail users not to park there.

I found the entire trail to be well maintained. The surface alternates between packed dirt, ballast, and small gravel. If you plan to bike the route, either a hybrid or mountain bike should do just fine. Typical of a rail trail, level conditions basically prevail over the entire route. This with the exception of one relatively steep drop into a ravine where you will cross a small wooden bridge to cross. Use caution going up and down the hill in this spot; when it’s muddy, slippery conditions exist.

The entire trail is posted as off-limits to motorized vehicles, but there was nonetheless clear evidence of recent use by ATV’s and dirt bikes. Also, there was clear evidence of use by equestrians; bikers should be considerate of this fact when using the trail. Horses sometimes spook easily.

Wetlands can be found at several spots along the trail; expect many flying insects during the summer months. In addition to offering views of wetlands, this trail segment also passes by farmlands, rock formations, an abandoned railroad station (now a private residence), a firehouse, and some rustic residential neighborhoods.

There are only two street crossings on this 6.3-mile stretch, Cottekill Road, and Marcott Road. This is good news for families with young children.

Reportedly there is a 0.7-mile long segment of the O&W Rail Trail that extends from Hurley, NY to Kingston, NY but I did not see any evidence of its trailhead when I arrived at Route 209 in Hurley. Perhaps it is necessary to travel on public streets to make that connection.

Trail maps and use regulations are posted at trail entrances on Route 209, Marcott Road, and Cottekill road. There is no map posted at the Leggett Road trailhead.

I drove 65 miles to bike this trail and would not hesitate to do it again."

"We enjoyed the trail from High Falls to Kingston but we're disappointed not to be able to find the rest of it. We did find, a week later, the section from Kerhonkson to Rochester Park, (beautiful wooded area!) but couldn't find anything in Ellenville. It isn't paved, but can be biked by beginners...."

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