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Much of New York's 15-mile Heritage Trail, sails past wide fields of corn and wheat. The trail starts in Harriman at the Mary Harriman Park. From there, it heads northwest to Monroe. At Crane Park, also called Airplane Park, look for the old Saber fighter jet in a corner of the park along Mill Pond Parkway. The smooth pavement here draws bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchair users and parents with strollers. Just beyond the park, Orange-Rockland Lake dominates the view to the right. The park-and-ride lot along Orange and Rockland Road makes the trail an excellent active transportation corridor for commuters taking public transit.
In the village of Chester is a restored stone-façade train station that serves as the Chester Depot Museum. Shops in the village offer mid-trip refreshments. Before you reach the village, you pass an old cemetery with weathered headstones dating to the 1800s. Between Chester and Goshen, the trail is lined with trees as it passes through farmland and wood lots and by residential developments.
From downtown Goshen, the trail continues up to its end at Hartley Road.
To reach Airplane Park (a.k.a Crane Park) in Monroe, take Exit 130 off Route 17 onto Route 208 to Monroe. Bear right at the fork to a traffic light. Turn left at the light and make the first left onto Mill Pond Parkway. The park is on the left.
To reach the Goshen Trailhead, take Exit 3 off I-84 onto US Route 6 and State Route 17M heading east. Turn left onto Hartley Road. The beginning of the trail is on the left. There is limited parking at this location.
Great ride, very easy, anyone can do it. It can be accomplished on a Road Bike. Surface was flat, smooth and clean.
This is a beautiful paved trail for biking, running, walking, strollers, and wheelchairs. It is well-kept and offers scenic views--from rolling fields, to bridges, to train cars, to even an old cemetery. My husband and I biked the entire length and back on a gorgeous fall day. It was a really nice ride, but be aware that it is often a false flat trail. One other major thing to be aware of is that you CANNOT access this trail from Mary Harriman Park in Harriman. Your best bet is to access if from Monroe. If heading east on the trail toward Harriman, the trail comes to a dead end fenced off bridge with no access and you're forced to turn around and go back the way you came. Hopefully someday they will fix this and extend it into Harriman for better access. That is my only complaint about this otherwise beautiful trail.
I have been on this trail for the last 10 years. I love this trail just for the scenery and the simple fact that its 10 minute drive away. But I recently discovered that there is a connecting rail trail. This is abandoned Erie branch line in Greycourt that passes through Washingtonville and rejoins the Erie Newburgh Shortcut at Vails Gate Junction in Vails Gate. This abandoned branch line runs directly in front of my house all the way to the orange Heritage trail. So instead of driving to this trail, I can actually can ride my bike and connect two trails.
for my first time going on a long bike ride like this there was many things on the trail that surprised me along with the nature preserve along the way and and many beautiful views. I would definitely go back.
We were driving home to PA from CT and stopped to stretch our legs on this trail, so we didn't ride the full length. We started at Goshen and there was plenty of parking in the municipal lot that sits right at the trail head; this was a Monday afternoon, but there was still plenty of parking (thank you to the town for providing free parking!).
The trail is nicely paved and very well maintained. The first two miles were a bit noisy because the trail runs parallel to a busy highway, but after that it was quiet and relaxing. We went a bit beyond Chester and turned around. (Unlike some other reviewers, we didn't find Chester particularly charming.) The trail was flat, easy, well shaded, and relaxing, and we were grateful to the people who keep it in such good condition. Our only (VERY minor) complaint was that close to Goshen the trail sometimes had the feel of riding moguls, probably because tree roots are growing beneath the asphalt. Overall, we would recommend the trail.
After riding, we left our car in the municipal lot and walked two blocks to the Sunshine Cafe. Although the signage made us think it was just a juice bar, it had a nice menu--great paninis and a long list of specialty burgers. We recommend the restaurant highly.
I always attempt to start at one end of a trail and ride it to the end. According to the description the trail starts in Harriman which may have been the case at one point but as of July 2018 is not so. As others have said the trail ends abruptly at 12 miles and does not go to Harriman. I'd recommend you start at Crane Park in Monroe, it is easy to find and offers plenty of parking.
As far as the trail itself the scenery was average. The trail itself is all paved and mostly flat so it made for easy riding. The towns off of the trail are very quaint, I'd highly recommend walking around Goshen and visiting Chester for its local brewery. If you'd like to extend your ride try to find the unpaved extension in Goshen. It is single track and about two miles long so I'd take a mountain or hybrid bike.
Dateline: Sunday July 08, 2018.
Weather: Sunny, clear, temps in the 80's, low humidity.
It has been on my list for a long time, because it's a good distance (25 miles according to my Strava) and it's only an hour drive from me. I am glad I can cross it off my list. Not in my top 5, but I many trails, so it has stiff competition. The trail itself is in pretty good shape, and no trail is perfect. The scenery to me would rate average at best, but again it has very stiff competition from the places I have visited. I definitely suggest a visit so you can decide for yourself.
Caution. After visiting many bike trails thanks to TrailLink, my only complaint is that some of the parking areas need to be reviewed more carefully. In this case I kept driving past the northern most parking area listed in Goshen and went to one midway in Monroe just off Route 17. It is a Park & Ride, very nicely paved, well lit, safe and right next to the trail.
Always take the address/directions/GPS to more than one parking lot and visit the TLink site just before departing for any updates. I drove 2.5 hours to Windsor Locks, CT to find out the entire trail was closed temporarly, and my only parking lot address closed for the entire year. But I will go back, because the trails themselves have not let me down.
Yes trail is paved and is great to ride smooth pavement. Was wondering why there are no entrance signs to trail. Was at Monroe, Airport Park, and there are NO MARKINGS as to where one is to enter trail. Noted small goat paths from parking lot to trail. Also was wondering why when heading South that there is no notice that trail dead ends with a chain link fence. Wonder how many law suits from hitting fence or rider dumping their bikes. Good thing that I was not goin down that hill at a fast pace, 20 plus mph. Also this trail is no way a 1. The North and South directions from Monroe are hills that are 5 degrees or more and each are 2.5 miles or longer. This would be a work out for any beginner. Just a note that I was riding a Catrike Expedition. I have about 3k miles riding trikes. Would have been nice if there was a entrance that a trike would be able to enter Trail.
I rode my bicycle from the parking lot in Goshen NY to the end of the paved trail 12 miles long. There is a dead stop at 12 miles with a fence preventing you from advancing over an old bridge.
The trail is in great or perfect condition and some new repaving was noted along the way. Walk, run, bike, rollerblade or whatever your non motorized pleasure is. I noticed a few cameras along the trail and a police officer in a golf cart.
People were all nice and offered greetings as you pass. One thing to remember is a lot of people wear earphones/buds while using the trail and may not hear your warning when you are passing.
I find railroad trails feel like they are uphill both ways, the 24 mile ride was a bit much for my first ride this year.
Great trail, my congratulations to the caretakers of this wonderful trail.
All asphalt no real hills, places to eat behind the golf driving range and at the end of the Trail in Goshen. Also the first historic trotters horse track.
They added almost 2 miles from monroe to Harriman!! Nice new paved trail
Excellent work, much better.
new paved spots from chester to monroe
I rode this trail from Monroe to its end at Hartley Road. It is paved from just east of Airplane Park (with a Korean War memorial including a fighter jet) in Monroe to Goshen. That 10 mile part is 5 star!
I gave it 4 stars overall because the trail is not well marked as it transits Goshen and the section from Goshen to the end point is a mix of gravel and dirt that I don't believe is suitable for a rode bike (it was OK on my cyclocross bike).
I started the section from Airplane park to Harriman but it is in worse condition than the west end would need a mountain or good hybrid to ride comfortably.
I ran 2 miles in from the Hartley Rd trailhead on a crushed limestone and dirt "two track" trail. Where does the pavement/asphalt begin? Scenery was nice, trail wasn't crowded... a couple of benches for resting
There are about 12 of us in our 50's and early 60's that love to bike ride each weekend. This is one of our favorite trails... paved and beautiful!
Trail goes from Monroe, through Chester, and on to Goshen. From Chester towards Monroe is the only semi-difficult part if you are not in shape. It is a very long and shallow uphill almost all the way. Only a bit hard if you are not used to such a ride. We start in Chester and go to Monroe first (the uphill part). Then turn around, back to Chester, but go on to Goshen. Then go back. Lots of nice shaded sections, and wonderful views. All paved asphalt and never on any roads. Right at the end of the trail in Goshen is a simply wonderful ice cream stand with seating (I am not and do not know the owners, I am just a customer). My wife and I drive 40 minutes numerous times in the summer to do this ride (or maybe its just to get that ice cream???)
This trail is really nice. No really steep grades, lots of shady spots to stop and get a quick drink. We just rode it for the first time. This was on a Sunday morning and while it was busy, it wasn't crowded. Other users are friendly and courteous.
Started in Goshen and rode a little over 6 miles towards the other end. All told a pleasant ride and we didn't have to deal with traffic (cars).
I would recommend this trail to anyone who wants a pleasant ride in the country. While we didn't try the ice cream store at the end of the trail, we did go round the corner into downtown and found a really nice restaurant for lunch.
There was a stop at Chester where you could get a cold drink and ice cream also for the family if you're so inclined.
Well worth the 45 minute drive to get to it from our house in North Jersey.
This is a great trail, but the description is inadequate. The pavement only extends from St. James Place in Goshen to Clark Street in Monroe. From Monroe to Harriman it was mostly ballast when I rode it in 2009. Not fun riding. From St. James Place to Hartley Road, it's grass. More fun than ballast, less fun than pavement, although it's perfectly walkable.
The paved portion has many users, both walking, bicycling, and roller-blading. Very popular trail.
splendid trail, clean, nicely paved, minimal road crossings, nice little towns we went through .....
we started in goshen as recommended for the uphill/downhill choice and worked well
no issues finding the parking lot in goshen, we put st. james place in the GPS and wa-lah, we were there
only issue was mileage discrepancy between all the websites we visited trying to find information - we started in goshen and went 10.2 miles before pavement ran out ....
looked like you could continue on grassy singletrack but not knowing if it was worth it we turned around
had ice cream and dinner in the area, walked around the park/lake in monroe and shopped at 2 local stores --- lending credence to the argument that trails bring economic benefits to the towns that host them
Took my family to this trail today. We started out at Airplane Park and rode to just short of mile marker 7.5. We had lunch at the very first granite bench we saw. The trail was flat with very subtle inclines/declines. The asphalt was in good condition - there were cracks along the way due to the roots of the trees, but they were far in between. Most of the route was shaded except for the railroad section. Coming back we had a stop at the American House Ice Cream, which is a great treat. My 8 year old son was tired but enjoyed it overall - especially the ice cream stop. Overall a good experience and highly recommended for the family.
Had a great time riding the Heritage Trail on a beautiful September day. Started in Goshen because I read on Trail Link that there was a slight uphill incline from Goshen to Monroe. Great advice! A pleasure going slightly downhill on the way back. Started at Trailside Treats, 28 St. James Place. Lots of parking.
As someone else noted, the trail through Monroe had been extended a mile. This makes a great trail even better. Hopefully they will extend it farther east where it is currently grassy and overgrown. This is the best rail trail within a reasonable drive from Mertro NYC/NJ area except for the Dutchess County Trail. Also recommended is the Columbia Trail in NJ- however that is not paved like this or Dutchess.
the eastern end of the trail has been extended and finally paved all the way beyond the main street of Monroe, NY. Up to last week, the paving terminated at the northern end of the park but now is complete. Hopefully the stores in Monroe's old town center will prosper and those that are now empty will soon be filled with businesses that could serve the trailhead like a cafe or a bagel station. Orange County and the Town of Monroe are to be commended for supporting and enhancing a very good trail!
I don't think it's worth trying to find and ride on the unpaved 2 1/2 mile section of the trail in Goshen. It does not connect directly to the paved section and it's easy to get lost in Goshen trying to find the paved section of the trail. I suggest parking in Goshen, in the center of town and finding the Berkshire Bank, 2 S Church St, Goshen. You can pick up the beginning of the paved trail from the end of the parking lot behind the bank. If you want to start in Monroe, park at the park and ride and pick up the the beginning of the trail in Monroe. From Chester, NY you can park near the All American House, Ice Cream shop 1 Winkler Place, Chester and pick up the trail 1 block away. You will be in the middle of the trail. You can go either way and then have ice cream after you ride. It's great ice cream. Supposedly if you start in Goshen you will be riding up hill more often for the first 9 miles and then your return trip will be more down hill.The grade is only 3%.
Let's get this out of the way.... The directions to the Goshen trailhead on this site couldn't be more wrong. If there was a trailhead, we completely missed it. No parking, no sign, nothing. But I found directions to the actual trailhead (miles away) on another site. On the Monroe side, I can see how the trail would be tricky to find but I will definitely be starting there next time.
Anyway.... The trail itself is great for a leisurely ride. My husband and I normally do off road trails with moderately difficult hills so this was easy for us. There is a mix of people on the trail. Walkers, runners, bikers, roller bladers. There were many people who had no regard for the "traffic" coming behind them. This is definitely not a trail to try for your best time or speed. It's for a day when you're not in a hurry and want to enjoy the scenery and you have patience for other people. We stopped in Chester on the way back and walked around the farmers market and had some lunch. The scenery was beautiful and it was a gorgeous fall day. It was worth the frustration of actually finding the trail once we finally got there.
just south of the airplane in the park, a beaten path leads up to the trailhead.. NOT marked in the park...
We tried to find this trail from the Monroe end and couldn't find a thing. After getting frustrated and giving up, we even got in our car and drove around trying to find it with no success. Still haven't a clue where it is.
I've always wanted to walk Heritage Trail and finally did! It's quiet, scenic and everyone was so friendly! What a great way to start your day! Will totally walk the trail again!!!
This is a spectacular trail!
My husband and I parked in Monroe, a quaint town with a lovely lake. Parking was easy and finding the entrance to the trail was not a problem.
What we didn't realize was that from Monroe, the trail is slightly downhill (3% grade) but when you get to Goshen and start back to Monroe, it is a LONG steady climb!
I was on a Trikke (see Trikke.com for more info) and my husband was on roller-blades. The trail was mostly smooth, and most of the bumps, heaves and cracks were clearly marked with yellow spray paint.
Much of the trail is shaded,with benches along the way if you need a break. The Depot in Chester made a nice stop as well.
I would highly recommend starting this trail in Goshen, so the incline is at the start of the ride.
(Thanks to all who made this trail possible. It is wonderful!)
This is an easy, flat trail to ride with very few people. It passes by several farms and an old cemetery. The most recent gravestone was for someone who died in 1883. I couldn't help but wonder what the area looked like when the cemetery was established, before the railroad was built.
We rode from the St. James Place parking area. I mapped it on the RTC website and want to make a correction to their directions. If you come from NY-207/E. Greenwich Ave., you want to take a right into the parking lot with the sign that says "Village of Goshen Municipal Parking". If you pass S. Church St. (Berkshire Bank is on the corner), you've gone too far. I couldn't find any sign saying Heritage Trail like their directions suggest. At the end of the parking lot is a small snack place. This is where the trail starts.
There is a crushed gravel section at Airplane Park that looks like it's ready to be paved. From St. James Place to Airplane Park, the trail is 9 miles long.
Nice quiet trail. Great bike ride.
We rode the trail today and at Airplane Park in Monroe, I was pleasantly surprised to see an extension into the Town of Monroe that is currently cleared, graded, and covered with rolled cinders in apparent preparation for continued pavement. There is also parking adjacent to the extension that will create a preferable Eastern access. Trail users will gain easy access to the main commercial district of Monroe. There are also newly created historical markers along the way done by a local eagle scout that graphical depicts the relatively recently departed Erie- Lackawanna's Rail usage. These are some of the nicest markers I have seen after riding many rail trails!
Took our 9 yr. old twin girls on this trail. It's in excellent condition and very very well kept.
The trail is very flat but there is a very very slight decline going from Airplane park NW. It's nearly imperceptible but it makes going back harder than going to. Keep that in mind so you don't have a hard time going back.
For us it was simple. I left the wife and girls at the trailhead, got back to the car myself, and drove to pick them up. That way we all had fun and I got a good workout :)
Great place to bike!
I live in North Jersey, and drove 45 minutes to ride this trail on my road bike. Great trail! 9 or so miles one way, with only 2 (3?) small street crossings. Great fun and safe ride.
As a friend of mine who lives in NYC once told me, "What a wonderful resource to have in your own back yard!" And he is so right! My wife and I have been riding this trail for several years as a fun form of exercise and we thoroughly enjoy it. She does not like riding in traffic so this is perfect for her. This year, on Sundays, a Farmers Market set up shop in Chester right behind the RR Depot Museum. So we'd park in Chester, ride to Monroe, then Goshen and back to Chester and go shopping for some fresh goodies. Exercise and fresh fruit and veggies... what could be better?
Great for road bikes. I highly recommend this trail and wish I lived closer to it.
Im a avid hiker and wanted to do a new trail but not have to bushwack my way through it. I can honestly say I wish I had been on this trail sooner. I loved it and will return. I did an 8 mile round trip and will be back in next week to try and extend to 10 miles with a plan to do th entire trail in one day by the end of this fall.
This was my first experience on a trail. I fell in love immediately. The Orange Heritage Trail was clean, beautiful and quite lengthy. I haven't been excising in a while and was pleasantly surprised by the ambiance. I was there during the Memorial holiday. It was a perfect day and a perfect ride.
No worries as far as parking is concerned, a definite hit from start to finish.
I've been working in Orange county for just over a month through the tail end of winter. I found the trail on the county map and decided to give it a spin this morning. I drove to Chester and after a misadventure finding the old depot (signs folks, SIGNS!) set out on foot to check out the trail. It is well maintained. There was no way to get lost. The views even on a very blustery mid-April morning were nice. The trail is well used by walkers, bikers, and skaters. Chester Depot is at MP 4.0. At MP 8.5, just west of Monroe, I turned back. I did that segment, 9.0 miles round-trip, in under three hours (2:46 minutes) including time for browsing an old cemetery, chit-chat with other users, and a few photo stops. All in all it was a pleasant time. Within a block of the Chester Depot is an eatery and ice cream shop. Be aware that the depot parking has a three hour limit but I noted that there is other parking nearby that has no limits.
My wife and I rode from Airplane Park in Monroe to near Joe Fix Its in Goshen. The distance was 20.1 miles. My wife was looking for an easy relaxing comfortable ride and this is the spot. I normally like to mountain bike and I found this ride enjoyable. We will ride here again. It was paved on our entire route. Oh I parked right in front of Airplane Park, as we were riding away we saw a sign that said parking for Locals and Guests only. Not knowing exactly what the sign meant I left my car there anyways and had no problems when I got back to my car. Another good parking spot would be near the Park and Ride near Orange-Rockland Lake, but use the parking lot near 17M. I saw a sign that said free parking. This might take off a 1/2 mile off your ride round trip. Enjoy!!!
I walked this trail for the first time this morning. Started from Crane/Airplane Park in Monroe and walked to the 6-mile marker (about 3 or 3.5 miles from the the park) - the markers start in Goshen. Nice and level, crossing over a few old railroad culverts and under Rt 17. Lots of great scenery with nice views. Lots of old rock walls can be seen in the woods. Most interesting thing I came across was an old 19th century cemetery in the woods near Oxford Depot (between Monroe and Chester). Will definitely be back.
I took one of our cars to Village Auto Works and was prepared to ride back to Central Valley via Route 17M, but then one of the guys at the shop mentioned that I can catch the Orange Heritage Trail if I made a left onto Museum Village Road from Route 17M. I turned into what looked like a Park-n-Ride and easily found the trail there. From there it was a super quick ride to the beginning/end of the trail in Monroe. I stopped in at the Monroe Diner for a quick bite and was on my way.
I was really impressed at how well maintained and wide the trail was. Smooth all throughout my ride. I'll be returning real soon to bike the entire length of the trail. This really is a gem.
Even on a sub-freezing January day, the Heritage Trail is a pleasant place to ride. The asphalt surface between Monroe and Goshen is in excellent condition and is exceptionally wide. I would have had no difficulty passing three pedestrians walking abreast on my trike -- had there been any pedestrians to pass. And I wasn't starting and stopping for street crossings either. There were only a handful of crossings on the entire trail -- and most of these were little-used country lanes.
The trail connects three small villages located in the foothills of the Catskill mountains. Goshen and Monroe are on hilltops, while Chester Depot is in a valley about mid-way between. The trail grade is gradual -- probably no more than 2 percent -- but beware that the uphill ride from Chester Depot to Monroe is about six miles long with only a couple of brief level reprieves.
Between Chester Depot and Monroe, you'll also find yourself in an upland hardwood forest. In the vicinity of Chester Depot the trail passes alongside several dairy farms and, then, for about two miles on the outskirts of Goshen it runs adjacent to NY 17, a heavily travelled divided highway that is soon to become an Interstate. There are sweeping vistas -- some quite spectacular -- at numerous points along the way.
Goshen, with a well-defined village center, seemed the most interesting of the three villages. Chester Depot had a classic Upstate "town time forgot" feel. What I saw of Monroe was mostly parking lots, strip malls and highway overpasses -- punctuated by several minimally-landscaped parks. There may be more to Monroe, but the Heritage Trail doesn't take you there.
The absence of road crossings is something of a mixed blessing, in that access options are limited. Here's what I observed:
1. There were perhaps three dozen, 24-hour parking spots in the lot adjacent to the Goshen trailhead. The majority of these were empty -- but, hey, it was a weekday in January.
2. Chester Depot seemed to be the best place to park. The trail passes in front of the old rail depot in the center of town. There was a ton of parking and the only active businesses I noticed in the vicinity of the rail depot now a museum) were a sports bar ($2 well drinks for ladies on Tuesday night) and an outdoor clothing store.
3. At Airplane Park in Monroe, there're ample 2-hour parking spaces, plus what appears to be a brand-new commuter parking lot. But you'll need a Google map and the skills of a private detective to find the Heritage Trail.
The trail head is, in fact, at the top of the embankment behind the fighter jet from which the park takes it name. But there are no signs, no paved access, and the Village Fathers have planted evergreen trees along the park boundary so that even in winter, you can't see the trail. I've only visited one other trail head that has been so completely and deliberately concealed.
What's more, if you start at Airplane Park, don't be deceived by the "Bike Route" signs you'll see as you enter the park. Those are for an on-road bike route, and have nothing to do with the Heritage Trail. Follow them, as I did, and you simply end up on the shoulder of a busy highway sucking truck exhaust.
4. Two miles past Airplane Park, the trail bisects a complex of New York State commuter parking lots. On a Thursday, these were filled beyond capacity with every visible space filled and cars left on the grass barriers. On weekends, however, there should be ample parking available.
Bottom line: For mountain bikes and hybrids, there are several vastly more interesting non-paved trails to be found within a 45-minutes drive of the Heritage Trail -- including the immensely popular Minnewaska State Park Preserve near New Paltz. But for skinny tires and trikes, the Heritage Trail is a worthwhile off-road destination with gentle grades, sweeping vistas and several interesting villages to explore.
We enjoyed our ride on this trail on September 8, 20011. Weather was gorgeous and the trail was in really good shape. We tried to follow the traillinks directions to the trail head in Goshen, but that was pretty worthless. Ended up parking in Chester, which had ample parking (at least on a Saturday). Traillink directions were pretty good to that spot. Wish I'd reading the post from previous reviewer, Lionel, a little closer to find the trailhead in Goshen (reposting just in case my review knocks him off the bottom of the reviewers list: "If you are new to this trail and parking on the Goshen side, simply go to the center of town where the Presbeterian church is and look for the Berkshire bank. The parking lot for the trail is along the side of it and the trail is right there. A sign is now posted indicating that this is where the trail terminates." Fall colors were nearing full bloom. Not a lot to see on this trail other than the trees, though we did find an old Packard in someone's yard and a cemetery from the mid-1800s right along the trail. Nice benches for resting on the northern part of the trail. Portajohns are placed often enough along the trail. Previous reviewer said the trail continues beyond the 'end of the trail' sign in Goshen, but we didn't find it, so our ride was only 20 miles RT instead of the 23 we thought we'd get. Still, it was a great, ride with just enough variation in grade to make it interesting for a couple old folks on hybrids.
My first time on the trial and I was extremely impressed!!! I started in Monroe and before I knew it I was in Chester. The ride there was awesome! it was I slight downhill all the way there. I coasted all the was. The ride back hurt. It was all uphill, but it was a very slight incline. All in all, between my house, the trial and my return trip I did roughly 25 miles.... Great ride!!!
This trail's lack of steep hills and sharp turns were a tremendous help when I was learning how to use in-line skates. I like how the scenery and shading changes from one end to the other, from full sun, into cool, shady woods, and then back into full sun. Some of you may have wondered, as I have, why the trail ends abruptly at Airplane Park in Monroe, and the reasons are many. There were contract issues with Norfolk Southern, who raised the price of the abandoned railway in this section to $1.25 million (source, Times Herald Record), forcing the county to lease this section instead, using federal grant money. There were also issues with people in Harriman, particularly the mayor, not wanting the trail to pass through their village, maybe for privacy reasons, maybe for concern about increased traffic, who knows? So, these major points nonwithstanding, here are some benefits and challenges that I observed when I hiked the unfinished portion from Airplane Park to River Road. Benefits: The trail would pass directly through the center of downtown Monroe, in between Lake Street and Spring Street, and over the railroad tressle (the one that has endeared itself to the community with charming graffiti that reads, "The Loacher" and "Spanky Lives"). This would provide easy access to the trail, easy parking from Millpond Parkway, and increased business for nearby stores selling refreshments and snacks. Slightly further along, the trail comes within easy walking distance from Smith-Clove Park. Trial users could simply walk off the trail near the convenience store across the street from the entrance to the park. After this, the trail passes through dark, shady woods that have been all but forgotten for many years. There are still old, rusty cars alongside the trail here, and assorted trash that would need to be cleaned up, but nothing major. Finally, the trail would terminate at River Road, near Mary Harriman Memorial Park, within moderate walking distance of some small restaurants, and further north, the Home Depot shopping center. Should the trail continue further than River Road, I have no idea what path it would follow, as it would seem to go directly through Nepera chemical property. This would put it very close to Harriman State Park, and once it came within shooting range of HSP, the possibilities are immense. I have read some articles proposing connection to another, future trail paralleling 17 to Suffern called Ramapo River Greenway Trail, which would probably be quite pleasant except for all of the smelly, noisy industrial activity on the southern end. OK, so now for the challenges, starting from Airplane Park. Firstly, the trail seems to disappear in the section of land in between Millpond Parkway and Anderson Place. The lumber yard used the abandoned railway as their own storage space for lumber as well as for assorted debris. This section is also quite swampy, and seems to run into more complications with an apartment complex - is this private land? Smooth sailing through downtown and over the Loacher and Spanky bridge, then possibly some privacy issues with residential properties near Smith-Clove Park, and some drainage and mosquito problems as you approach River Road. Nothing that federal stimulus money couldn't fix. Hint hint!
I was just reviewing my blog and, with all of my talk about Goshen, I realized that I, as well as everyone else, omitted one important piece of information concerning the trail. If you are new to this trail and parking on the Goshen side, simply go to the center of town where the Presbeterian church is and look for the Berkshire bank. The parking lot for the trail is along the side of it and the trail is right there. A sign is now posted indicating that this is where the trail terminates. As others have noted, just a some blocks away, the trail extends a couple of miles further.
I previously gave a very negative review of the Goshan section of this trail. I continue to stand by that review. Nothing has changed and the 5 corner intersection in the middle of town combined with the zig zaggy nature of the roads leads to some confusion. Especially when a local tells you to go th the center of town, near the church (there are several) and take a left. With 5 intersecting roads, there are 2 possible lefts. At least I now know the area from experience--but as others, I AVOID THE HERITAGE SECTION NORTH OF GOSHEN LIKE THE PLAGUE AND ASSERT THAT THE TOWN SHOULD PROVIDE AMPLE ACCESS AND EGRESS AS WELL AS GOOD DIRECTIONS THROUGH THE TOWN TO THE CONTINUATION OF THE TRAIL.
The good part is that from Goshen to Monroe is a beautifull and easy ride which passes the Erie RR museum, open from 11:00 am until 1:00pm every saturday during the warm months. Although I am used to more agressive cycle trips which include actual hills, this is a pleasant ride over rr bridges, through the shade of overhanging trees, a cooling rest at an old cemetary right at trailside, and a stop at the Burger King in Monroe (also soft ice cream) before heading back to Goshen.
On the way back, there is a great ice cream shop in Chester, near the Erie RR museum, and you can end the trip with a great lunch or dinner in any one of a number of nice restaurants in Goshen.
If you are a cyclist with a date who is not, this may be a great choice for their first trip--or for a family outing--or, like me, just for something pleasent to do on a saturday morning which is better than vegging in front of TV.
Have a nice one.
This is a trail my wife and i ride many nites of the week. The trail starts in Gohsen off of south st. It goes on for 9 miles into Monroe NY, @ airplane park. At this point there is a nice lake, that a complete ride around will add another mile to the trip. Monroe has a couple of nice little shops and eateries to rest and relax. The trail is paved and very easy to ride on. Only a few intersections with auto traffic, which makes it very safe for families. Very flat and shaded on sunny days with some open sunny spots. Chester is 3.5 miles outside of Goshen and has a old train station there to rest. Chester has a little town w/ icecream shop only 200 yards away from the train station. Great place to ride!!
First time on this trail Rode the whole distance from start to finish and back. Nice trail hardley any inclines
at all very nice trail to ride took about an 1 1/2 hrs their and back. some nice sites along the way met some nice people while riding this trail. Even saw a lady Orange County Sheriff's Dept Officer Riding. This will be a trail i will see more of.
Thx Rails to trails. Richy Procter (Stony Point, N.Y.
This really is a great trail at points, and it definitely needs to extend to Middletown!!
"Rode the west end (the unpaved section) and it is now closed at the Route 17 overpass. Prior to this, as others reviews note, it was difficult to get through. However, is was possible to get through -- one needed to open a gate at a small apartment complex. It required following one's nose a little, and a little luck. A resident of these apartments tipped me off after noticing the odd look on my face, I guess). This is obviously not the best trail design.
Hopefully, a simpler, more perminent, and user-friendly solution is in the works. It would be dissapointing to see the train severed perminently. Rather, the trail should be extended into Middletown."
"This is a great trail but I seldom use it because of the homeless shelter located on the trail and the people from the shelter who use the trail, especially since a few years ago when that woman was attacked by a resident of the shelter and we found out they were sending convicted felons there while they were on parole.
The shelter is now scheduled to close in June and I look forward to using the trail again."
"I cycled from Hartley road, expecting to be able to continue through Goshen with little trouble. There is now no way to continue to Goshen without trespassing onto private property. There have been land purchases and the trail is oblitterated. Having finally gotten onto a public road it seemed that no one could give coherent directions to where I should reconnect with the trail. There are a lot of places here where ""Take a left"" could mean one of two choices due to a 5 point intersection and irregularly run streets. Although there are a couple of ""Bike Route"" signs, they may refer to another trail or there are some missing because there were none directing me from one trail terminus, through town to the other. When I finally found the Erie RR clearing the cycling was beautifull and I made it only to Chester due to time lose in Goshen. There is much beauty to be seen along this trail and I highly recommend it. I highly recommend the bike shop in town (Joe Fix-it--or something like that). They will give cyclers great directions and will discuss the trail problems. They are great! I am planning to return to this trail in a couple of weeks better prepared to negotiate Goshen.
I have been told by one nice old gentleman that the trail, he thinks, now goes past Monroe towards Tuxcedo--I should have asked at the bike shop.
I wish you well--and when lost in Goshen, look up the bike shop."
"I rode the Orange Heritage Trail for the first time last weekend and although it was a nice level paved path, it was pretty crowded and there wasn't a lot of shade. Save it for a cool fall day. If you ride into Chester, the old train station has been converted into a small museum. Definitely check it out, it's interesting and the volunteers are very friendly and knowledgeable."
"It was our first time on the trail this weekend. It was amazing. The trail is relatively flat the whole way and has an ideal design for bikers and runners. For those runners training for a long race who need to pack in miles without the worry of traffic and killer hills, this is ideal! "
It is the freedom of enjoying unexploited stretches of woods and open fields that makes any rail-trail golden.
"This is a nice paved, suburban trail, although the trail is crowded with lots users who never got the ""On your left lesson."" They stop in the middle of the trail without warning. They ride two and three abreast, some on the wrong side of the trail. Joggers move from side to side. There is a trail opening at Chester Station where five women riding together stopped to chat. A gentleman had to go over and literally tell them to clear the opening and to get off the trail so others could pass. They became indignant.
The usual rules of any trail should be posted. It's nice to see a well used trail, but save this one for a day off during the week.
I road this trail again on Sunday, March 21, 2004, starting at 1:15 p.m. I was the only rider for 20 miles. I did see five walkers. I also saw deer, great blue heron, hawks and cows (can't forget them). It was a very pleasant ride for early in the year."
"Finding the opening to the trail in Goshen wasn't easy but if you ask a local, they'll point you in the right direction. This trail is easy with a little upgrade that's even easy on the kids. Also, if you get hungry there's a pizza and ice cream parlor smack in the middle of the trail."
"Excellent Trail, snack bar on trail, emergency call boxes, gentle grade, free air in Chester @ outlet store, plenty of parking, top maintenance, Sheriffs bike patrol, could not find the unpaved mile in Goshen so expect a 9 mile trail. NYC sattelite homeless shelter nearby, do not let it disuade or scare you. NYCHPD provide an additional Patrol and everyone says hello. "
"This is an excellent trail with plenty of free parking at many strategic points. In-line skaters, walkers, runners, joggers, bikers, and (rarely it seems) cross country skiers will enjoy this well maintained, patrolled asphalt trail. The trail is not level, having a number of rolling grades along the route. It features mileage markers, road crossing signs and scattered benches. You will never find this trail devoid of people, almost all of whom are friendly! Chester and Goshen are villages worth exploring along the route. Mid summer can be a bit unpleasant, since large sections are unshaded, but between Chester and Goshen there is even an ice cream stand right on the edge of the trail.
Rates an 8 out of 10!
"This is a wonderful trail with plenty of free parking available at many points along the route.
In line skaters will enjoy the well maintained asphalt surface as will road bikers and parents with strollers.
Ninety percent of the surface is paved. However, there is a short unpaved segment which is relatively difficult to find unless you know where to look (it begins in Goshen along Railroad Avenue behind the Senior Citizens' building).
There is a slight uphill grade from south to north on the paved segment.
Most parking is near exit 129 of Interstate 86; follow signs for Museum Village and you can't miss it.
E-mail for further particulars if interested. Worth driving a distance for."
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