D & H Canal Linear Park and Towpath Trail

New York

17 Reviews

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D & H Canal Linear Park and Towpath Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Sullivan
Length: 6.84 miles
Trail end points: Thornton Rd. to Herlings Rd. (Phillipsport) and US 209 near Firehouse Rd. to Culver Dr. (Wurtsboro)
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Cinder, Dirt, Grass, Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032485

D & H Canal Linear Park and Towpath Trail Description


The D&H Canal Linear Park and Towpath Trail, situated in Wurtsboro, NY carries trail users for 6.84 miles along the former towpath for the historic Delaware and Hudson Trail.

Use of motorized vehicles and horseback riding are prohibited on the trail.

About the Route

A majority of the trail is situated within the Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park, a 45 acre park that features the remains of the original locks, dry dock and waste weirs. The park also offers interpretive signs are located in the park to assist the visitor identify the various canal structures. 

A short portion of the trail including within the Town of Wurtsboro and further south is managed by the town and not the D&H Canal Linear Park.

The trail's northernmost access point is along Bova Rd. and is a common starting point for the trail. However, the main route does continue slightly north and there is an additional disconnected portion of the trail between Doolittle and Thornton Rd. separated from the main trail by a stretch of privately-owned canal. This separate section of trail can be accessed at Herlings Rd. 

Heading south from Bova Rd., which also features the D&H Canal Interpretive Center, the trail winds alongside the canal on a grassy, dirt surface (which can be rough in some sections). There are additionally some short on-road sections of trail.

After crossing Ferguson Rd. the trail begins to run nearly side by side to the Mamakating Rail Trail. In fact, the D&H trail here bridges the gap in the Mamakating Rail Trail approximately between the Wurtsobo Airport and McDonald Rd. This section of trail follows the right-of-way of the former New York, Ontario, and Western Railway Main Line.

The southernmost portion of the trail passes through Wurtsboro and southward until reaching a dead end near Culver Dr.


Portions of the D&H Canal Towpath Trail converge with the Mamakating Rail Trail.

Parking and Trail Access

The D&H Canal Linear Park & Towpath Trail runs between Thornton Rd. to Herlings Rd. (Phillipsport) and US 209 near Firehouse Rd. to Culver Dr. (Wurtsboro).

Parking is available at:

  • Bova Rd. (Phillipsport)
  • Hornbeck's Basin Access Point, US 209 near McDonald Rd. (Wurtsboro)

These are approximate addresses only, please see TrailLink Map for detailed directions.

D & H Canal Linear Park and Towpath Trail Reviews

D & H Towpath to O & W Rail Trail

I started today by the Wurtsboro Fire house and managed a nice 3.5 mile run. I consider this a great trail for anyone who wants to loop around instead of doing and out and back run/walk. Some of the rail trail needs some upkeep but it’s still doable. Great hidden gem in the community.

Review for D AND H canal trail

Very nice trail Well kept and groomed. From 209 to Wurtsboro. Everything was well marked and groomed. Watch out for dogs near some of the farms near by. One of the dogs came at our party and almost bit one of the riders. The owner came out and later apologized.

Not for Road Bikes

Dateline: Friday, June 12, 2020
Weather: Perfect! 80' F, low humidity, light clouds

A month earlier I went here after riding the Baskakill trail, but this one was closed due to Covid-19. I started at the south end in the charming village of Wurtsboro, NY. It begins in a beautiful little community park. The trail surface has bits of concrete, small wooden bridges, short dirt and asphalt road crossings, short sections of mud, and lots of grass. It is not a quick ride. It was beautiful scenery, just like the photos, mostly a wide grass road next to the canal, with many animals visible; different types of birds, rabbits, deer, beavers. I came here 2 days after some heavy, but short rains, so there were a couple of spots I chose to walk my hybrid bike and others I rode through. Most of the ride smelled lovely. At the north end in Summitville there is an interpretive center near a canal lock, which is nice.

Always look for the water at the side of the trail. Twice I took a short detour off the official D&H Canal path accidentally. When going north from Wurtsboro, at the intersection with a dead end road, there is a sign leading off to another non-bike trail. Just keep going straight through till you reach the next gate where the trail resumes. Next, near the end in Summitville, you go down a short steep dirt path onto a road. Directly across the road there is a steep dirt path which is not part of the trail. You must go right, northward, for about 20 yards to where the official grassy trail resumes on the left.

It's a fair trail, depending upon your bike.

The D&H Canal Linear Park Trail is not ATV friendly!

I was looking for an ATV friendly trail so my girlfriend and I could take a short ride on our new touring bike. We picked a dry but cold Saturday in November. I did my research and it appeared, based on this website, that this trail was open for ATV and/or ORV usage. We drove all the way down from Albany to find out the gates were locked on the trail and there was signage banning ATV, Horseback riding, Snowmobile usage, etc. We checked a couple of access points and it was the same thing. We were looking forward to a scenic tour of that area along the canals with the view of the mountain alongside of us. So, we wasted half a day, gas and tolls, to just basically turn around. TrailLink needs to update the trail description to include just walking, hiking and maybe bicycling. For this, I can only give the trail a 4 star rating.


Not a rail-trail

You would think from the name that this is a canal towpath trail, and you'd be right. While at times the NYO&W railroad ran close by this trail, they are separate rights-of-way.

Great little Historical hike

My wife and took our dog and was very impressed with the well maintained tow path along the canal. Also very impressed with the historical markers along the way which described the history and the working of the locks and canal. You will also see some real cool animals along the way living in there natural habitat,such as ducks,geese,beavers and all kinds of nesting birds.

Hornbeck Basin Access to Rte 209 Summitville & return

Trail is in excellent shape. All bridges are intact and no downed trees block the way. The trail is perfectly level and should be enjoyed by people of all physical abilities. Go! Take a walk!

Rail Trail

"The rail trail that runs paralell to the tow path from Summitville to Ferguson ln. has been purchased by the NT/NJ trail conference (according to the March/April issue of the ""Trail Walker""). The rail trail is now open to the public."

Bridges Have Been Fixed!

"Sullivan County Department of Public Works has been hard at work, and the bridges between McDonald Rd. and Summitville have been repaired."

Bridges out

"The recent flooding (April 2005) has done a number on the stretch between Route 209 and McDonald Road. Many of the small wooden bridges have been washed downstream, and at least one of the large ones."

Bridge Now Open!

The trail bridge between Hornsbeck's Basin and McDonald Road is now open!

Bridge almost open

"A beautiful new trail bridge is essentially complete, but still closed for final landscaping. I think it was slated to be open by the end of this month (June 2004) and looks to be on schedule!"

Bridge still out

"The bridge is still out just north of the Hornbeck access so I would recommend starting out in Summitville. The section between route 209 and Mcdonald Road is one of the better trails in this area. There are no houses, no roads and no traffic noise in this section, just peace and quiet. It's well worth the one-hour trip for me to get here. "

A nice easy path.

"The section from just south of Hornbeck's Basin (which is the best parking access to the towpath) to Rte 209 in Summitville is a good trail for a leisurely walk or ride. It is level, the surface is very good and well maintained. There is currently a collapsed bridge just north of Hornbeck""s Basin, but the concrete slab is stable and easy to walk across. Bikers may want to ford the stream if the water isn't too high. From this point to Rte 209, the NYO&W ROW forms a rail trail parallel to and just east of the towpath. This can provide an alternate return route.

Scenery is pleasant, with limited views of the Shawangunks to the east. Some pluses are portapotties at strategic locations, mileage and directional markers, and a couple of shaded picnic tables.

Today I ran into a seasonal downside to this trail. Whenever the breeze let up, deer flies were a serious problem and there were a small number of mosquitos too. I used a head-net to protect myself from the deer flies. However, for a more pleasant experience, I would recommend visiting this trail in the cool (or cold) weather or, if in the summer, on a windy day.

Rates a 7 out of 10!


Challenging Rail Trail

"This is a terrific rail trail but one that should not be attempted by bicyclists or walkers who are unaccustomed to rough surfaces, close-in foliage, and/or moderately steep climbs. I found the trail to be completely passable, but quite obviously neither its surface or right-of-way are periodically maintained by the County of Sullivan (the property’s owner). Also, be aware that this trail is popular stomping ground for local area ATV operators.

I parked on Route 209 just north of the Summitville Post Office at an access gate to the D&H Canal Linear Park. The trailhead is directly across Route 209 from this point. There is limited parking on Route 209 though. If this lot is full, head north on Route 209 for 1.2 miles to the Bova Road Linear Park access area; there is ample parking there. If you do wind up parking on Bova Road, bike or walk south on the canal towpath to Summitville Road (1 mile) and you may access the rail trail 100 feet west of the towpath’s intersection with Summitville Road. NOTE: The former railroad right-of-way east of Route 209 is not publicly owned.

There is one street crossing on the entire trail and it is at Summitville Road. The railroad right-of-way crossed Summitville Road on a bridge, which is long gone. The trail surface both north and south of this street crossing, and at the Route 209 trailhead, is elevated, which means that bikers and walkers must negotiate rather steep inclines when crossing here or entering the trail at Route 209.

I encountered pleasantly dry surface conditions on the day of my visit. A loose gravel surface was in place near the vicinity of Summitville Road. As I approached an original concrete railroad bridge (built in 1904) that spans Red Hill Road, I came across a fine ballast surface that lasted until the trail ended at Dugout Road. NOTE: The former railroad right-of-way north of Dugout Road is privately owned.

It’s quite obvious that the New York Ontario and Western Railway was double-tracked though this area. The concrete bridge span is wide enough for two tracks and rail ties from one of the tracks remain in place to this day along most of this route. This trail is a must do for anyone that has an interest in railroad history.

Elevation above mean sea level on Route 209 is 535 feet. At Dugout Road it’s 653 feet. Bring a strong set of legs on the day of your visit.


Hornbeck’s Basin North to Route 209

"The entrance to this trail segment is located east of Route 209 just north of Wurtsboro. At this very well maintained County of Sullivan, NY operated facility I found ample parking, a small picnic facility with charcoal grills and tables, and a portable rest room.

From this point north to the Linear Park’s intersection with Route 209, there’s a 3.2-mile long section of the old canal’s towpath. There is one public street crossing along the route. Shortly after you travel over this street crossing, you’ll notice that the former NY Ontario and Western Railway’s right-of-way comes into view on your right (east of the old canal towpath) and parallels the towpath all of the way up to Route 209.

You may also elect to head south from the Hornbeck’s Basin access point. The towpath trail and park property both end in about one mile at Ferguson Lane in Wurtsboro (in the middle of a residential neighborhood).

The towpath surface is completely level. However, you will encounter a few exposed tree roots and a rocky surface in spots. The old towpath is great for either biking or walking. Motorized vehicles and equestrians are prohibited using from the towpath. The towpath offers the best scenery too; it runs immediately adjacent to the gorgeous Roundout Creek.

The rail trail’s surface (from trail mid-point north to Route 209) was in much worse shape than the towpath. It was loaded with standing water and mud over most of its length. There’s also an increase in elevation along the rail trail as you head north to Route 209 (the railroad crossed the highway over a now demolished bridge span). Although motorized vehicles and equestrian traffic are prohibited from the towpath, they are permitted on the rail trail. I observed three ATV users on the rail trail during my visit and there was evidence of recent equestrian use as well.

On the day of my visit there was a collapsed trail bridge just north of the Hornbeck’s Basin access point. You may chose to walk through the stream to continue north or drive instead to the Route 209 towpath access gate and work your way south. The Route 209 towpath access gate is just north of the Summitville Post Office. Late Saturday afternoons, Sundays, and federal holidays you may park in the Post Office parking lot and walk up the road to the access gate (this in the event that both parking spots at the access gate are occupied). Parking may also be available on Firehouse Road in Summitville.

This is a very well maintained trail and should be visited by all that have an interest in old canals and/or railroads, or just in taking in some beautiful Sullivan County, NY scenery.

NOTE: There are many privately owned segments of the former railroad right-of-way in the Wurtsboro area. Please be duly observant of all ""No Trespassing"" signs; some property owners are friendly and do not get overly concerned about trail users passing through, others don't want anyone on their property(ies) for any reason."

South from Bova Road to Old Route 209

"The entrance to this trail segment is located west of Route 209. I found ample parking, a small covered picnic facility, a portable rest room, and several historical signs located at this very well maintained County of Sullivan, NY operated facility.

From this point south to the Linear Park’s intersection with Old Route 209, there’s a .slightly less than one-mile long uninterrupted section of the old canal’s towpath. The grass and dirt surface is completely level. However, you will encounter a few exposed tree roots. The old towpath is great for either biking or walking. Motorized vehicles and equestrians are prohibited using from the towpath.

This section of the linear park is where you’ll find remnants of Canal Lock #50 and a Canal Dry Dock. To the west of the towpath here you’ll notice remnants of an old railroad right-of-way. Unfortunately the former railroad right-of-way at this point is on private property. A publicly available rail trail, and additional segments of the old canal’s towpath, may be accessed east of Route 209 via the Linear Park’s Hornbeck’s Basin access point.

This trail segment of the Linear Park is excellent for those interested in a nice short walk along a route with plenty of history associated with its name.

My review of all trails accessible from the Hornbeck’s Basin access point, those east of Route 209, will follow shortly. I ran out of daylight on this particular day."

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