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The Philip A. Rayhill Memorial Recreational Trail is part of the New Hartford & Whitestown Rail Trail system (NH & W). The 5-mile asphalt trail links the two towns and roughly parallels Route 840 (Judd Road) for much of the route, utilizing a former rail corridor that once hosted the New York Central Railroad.
An extension was built from the trail's original eastern terminus at New Hartford Street, which allows the trail to connect to yet another community as it winds its way north along the Sauquoit Creek into New York Mills. This new section of trail includes a brief rail-with-trail section, mixing the area's industrial heritage with the natural scenery of the creek.
The northwestern end of the trail also offers an interesting mix of surroundings, ranging from adjacent suburban shopping malls to the tranquil wooded path of the former rail line. The main trail ends at Halsey Road, but a narrower and less-maintained pathway allows trail users to continue along Whitestown's trail system up to Westmoreland Road. Long term plans for the area include providing trail connections into the larger community of Utica.
You'll find a trailhead and parking on New Hartford Street at the former eastern terminus. A second nearby trailhead parking area is at the end of Clinton Street. To reach the latter, follow New Hartford Street north from the North-South Arterial Highway and turn left on Clinton Street. Go all the way to the end.
Additional parking is available towards the northwestern end of the trail, at Clark Mills Road just east of the intersection with Ny-840. Access to the trail is available from the lot directly to the trail via a short gravel path.
This is a delightful trail crossing through the town of New Hartford, NY. It has two major sections; however, each of these is divided by busy roads with cumbersome crossings. (Thankfully there are stop lights, or it would be impossible). It can be used as one long trail, but it might be more pleasant in smaller pieces.
Note: a previous reviewer was confused by the location of "New Hartford Street." This is a distinct location, but the street is largely the home of the Town offices and garage.
I start at the parking area and run to middle settlement road and back, it is perfect if you like short runs. On warmer days there are lots of people you have to run around, but that's actually good thing! Glad to see people getting out and having a great paved trail like this really helps!
Use it regularly. It is a nice open view walk, Lovely wild animals abound. Now for the not so nice parts. People let their dogs defecate all over the walkway and leave it for others to deal with. There is only one sign that tells you there is one half mile to go to get to Clarks Mills road. There should be legible signs every half mile so you know how far you are and have been walking. And please use the correct street names to describe the beginning and terminus of the trail. I didn't know Middle Settlement road is now called New Hartford street for the terminus and Clarks Mills road is the beginning of the trail. Unless I am missing something, this is very confusing to people that have never been there.
I rode the trail as described. It's nice when it's on the railbed and less nice when it goes along roads (to cross the road and further north to make the trail longer).
It's now been extended a bit further south-east past Sauquoit Creek (new bridge on the railroad'ss abutments) to Lomond Place.
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