D & H Canal Trail - Bashakill Wildlife Management Area

New York

5 Reviews

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D & H Canal Trail - Bashakill Wildlife Management Area Facts

States: New York
Counties: Orange, Sullivan
Length: 5.7 miles
Trail end points: Mamakating and Deer Park
Trail surfaces: Ballast, Cinder, Dirt, Grass
Trail category: Canal
ID: 6032459

D & H Canal Trail - Bashakill Wildlife Management Area Description

The Bashakill Wildlife Management Area is located on the Orange County-Sullivan County border just south of Wurtsboro, New York. It consists of over 3,000 acres of wetlands and uplands which were acquired by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with funds from the 1972 Bond Act.

The landscape offers scenic views and an unmatched natural setting for hiking, canoeing, birdwatching and fishing. Above all, it is a place to breathe deeply, to feel the beauty and peace of a unique, unspoiled place in nature.

Within the boundaries of Bashakill you'll come across remnants of the old Delaware and Hudson Canal and New York, Ontario and Western Railway's Port Jervis to Kingston branch. The former towpath is suitable for walking, cross country skiing, and bicycling. However, the old railroad bed has not been graded nor have railroad ties been removed. Therefore, some walkers and bicyclists might have difficulty negotiating much of it.

Operating any motorized vehicle within the Wildlife Management Area except on access roads and designated parking areas is prohibited.

The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation may eject any person from the Wildlife Management Area for behavior that endangers the general safety of persons on the Area or interferes with the management and use of the Area's natural resources.

Printed information about the Area may be obtained from the NY State DEC Bureau of Wildlife, Region 3 Office, 21 South Putt Corners, New Paltz, NY 12561.

Parking and Trail Access

Take NY State Route 17/Interstate Route 86 east or west to exit 113. Take Route 209 traveling south (in the direction of Port Jervis). When you see the Moose Lodge on your left, make a left onto Haven Road. There are some parking spots here, and you can hike along the Basha Kill in both directions. Or, continue on Haven Road until it intersects with South Road. Make a right turn onto South Road and proceed to the first of four boat launch areas.

D & H Canal Trail - Bashakill Wildlife Management Area Reviews

Not for road bikes

I have ridden here twice, once in autumn, and this time in late April 2020.
Both times I parked on Haven Road. The first time I mistook where the "official" trail is and rode the eastern side. It is a trail with nice views of the marshy wild life preserve, but was too muddy for me. This time I was on the western side of the Bashakill and it is a fine trail for sturdier bikes, not racing tires. There are some very lovely views and trail floor that varies from old pavement, to grass, to hard and soft dirt, including some mud. There are 2 spots where old bridges are missing so you have to take a very short side detour. It is hard to determine where the trail actually ends, as it seems to just fade into thick forest brush, unless I missed something. I walked the bike about 50 yards to a dirt road, went to the dead end on the water for few minutes, and then road back to the parking area on Route 209, which was quite nice too. There are some hilly trails near the Haven Road parking area if you are an experienced mountain biker. It is worth a visit.

roots and roots and ties and bumps and roots and roots.


Rode the Bashakill Railroad Trail August 25, 2015. There's a separate D&H towpath trail that I didn't ride. The southern part is tolerable, then passage is hindered by roots and ties. Then it becomes nice again at Haven Road, then gets brushier and brushier, finally turning me back just a bit south of Sullivan Street in Warwarsing by pricker bushes.

It's very pretty, with a view of the Catskills and the wetlands the whole way. But still, it was bumpy enough that I rode back on the road to the east of the Bashakill.

Beautiful Day at the Baskakill

I had read the reviews and descriptions of the paths and wasn't exactly sure where to go so I drove around in my car to find my way around and see the conditions the paths. The path at the boat launch off of South Road and another one at the South Road end of Haven Road are pretty grown over for me. My bike tires are more for road and smooth gravel rail trails so I didn't want to venture out on the grassy, bumpy trails. This time of year (August) one would expect high grass. I decided to park in Wurtsboro and drove south on Route 209 (there's a pretty good shoulder) about 3.5 miles to Haven Road. This takes you right through the center of the Bashakill. It was warm and clear and wonderful scenery. I started down a small path near South Road but again it turned pretty grassy so headed back and rode on the paved road to South Road and then headed north to Wurtsboro on South Road. It was a nice ride on a beautiful day but was mostly road riding. It was probably about 8 or 9 miles around the loop. I was trying out my new bike and had a blast. I did see the sign for Towpath Road just as you turn onto Haven Road from Route 209 and would like to try that way next time I go.

Canal Towpath

"The most accessible portion of the canal towpath within Bashakill is just over three miles long. It’s a great bicycle ride for those who don’t mind technical surfaces. There are many exposed roots and rocks, some missing bridges, and loads of tall grass to peddle through. However, surface conditions over its entire length were bone dry on the day I visited and views of the adjacent canal and wetlands were fabulous.

Parking is available on Haven Road or on a State owned access road just north of County Route 63 on US Route 209; you may access this the canal towpath from either point. I parked on Haven Road, entered the towpath via Towpath Road, and headed south.

There was evidence of some ATV use on this trail near its southern terminus. ATVs are unable to travel on most of the trail though because bridges spanning several gullies are just wide enough for pedestrians or bicyclists, and the gullies themselves are impassable.

Again, this is a great ride for those who don’t mind bumps in the road and aren’t afraid of what could be lurking in the tall grass. Do bring along insect repellent though!"


Rail Trail

"Although a portion of the former New York Ontario and Western Railway’s right-of-way spans the entire length of this NY State Wildlife Management Area, the rail trail south of Haven Road is not suited for bicycle or foot travel. This because of the habitual presence of deep standing water and multiple tree blow-downs. However, the rail trail north of Haven Road through to Walker Lane in Wurtsboro is perfect for serious hikers and bikers.

I parked in a secure lot north of Haven Road and west of South Road. At the north end of this parking lot there is a vehicular barrier; the rail trail starts here. Surface conditions were somewhat technical in nature. There were a good many exposed tree roots, some deep standing water, and long stretches of mud to negotiate. Although the trail right-of-way is kept clear of heavy foliage, grass on the trail itself is not cut. There was very high grass along 50% of the trail route on the day I visited. Excepting the low lying areas holding standing water and/or mud, the surface is hard packed dirt.

This trail segment is about two miles long and ends in a quiet Wurtsboro residential neighborhood (on street parking available here). Along the way you’ll pass underneath busy Route 17/86 and over several perfectly restored wooden bridges. There’s not really too much to see here except heavily wooded areas and wetlands.

If you’ve got a front or full suspension mountain bike (or a pair of sturdy hiking boots) and don’t mind getting a little dirty/wet, this trail is ideal for a good workout. Do bring along insect repellent though!"

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