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Two accesses are open at this time, both located off Route 209. Hornbeck's basin access is located 1/2 mile north of Wurtsboro; the Bova Road access is located 4.5 miles north of Wurtsboro between the Hamlets of Summitville and Phillipsport. The second Trail Website provides a map of the 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.
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.
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!
"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."
"Sullivan County Department of Public Works has been hard at work, and the bridges between McDonald Rd. and Summitville have been repaired."
"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."
The trail bridge between Hornsbeck's Basin and McDonald Road is now 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!"
"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. "
"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!
"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.
"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."
"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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