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The Dutchess Rail Trail is a local treasure in the Hudson Valley region of New York, and for good reason: the 13-mile trail runs through what seems like a perpetually green landscape of dense tree cover, linking Poughkeepsie at the Hudson River with smaller towns to its southeast.
The entire length of the trail, including the filling in of two significant gaps, was completed in October 2013. Now, a massive bridge—entirely funded by the New York Department of Transportation—spans busy State Route 55, Old Manchester Road, and Wappinger Creek in the town of LaGrange.
In the north, the Dutchess Rail Trail begins at a shared parking lot with the Walkway Over The Hudson off Parker Avenue/State Route 9G in Poughkeepsie. The stunning converted railroad trestle takes trail users over the Hudson River and leads directly to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County. All told, a trip on the three trails is a combined 18 miles one-way.
Traveling east from Poughkeepsie, the trail passes a large golf course and Morgan Lake Park. The park was the former western terminus of the trail and is a popular spot for fishing. After Morgan Lake, the trail begins to turn south, running through the communities of Arlington and LaGrange, and skirting the eastern edge of Red Oak Mills. This section includes the colossal bridge over SR 55, but the entire length of the trail features a mixture of new bridges and converted railroad trestles and tunnels.
After winding through the towns of Wappinger and East Fishkill, the trail ends in the southeast just past the restored Hopewell Depot in Hopewell Junction. The rail-trail was built on the former Maybrook Rail Line and the museum that now occupies the former train station is well worth a visit with a small photo gallery and plenty of information about the trail, local railroad history, and area attractions. Across from the depot, a replica switching tower also opened in 2016.
To access the Dutchess Rail Trail, you can park at the following locations:
Overocker Road: If you're heading east on US 44/SR 55 from the Mid-Hudson Bridge, bear left where the routes split to remain on US 44. Proceed 0.6 mile to Peckham Road and turn right. Continue 0.2 mile to Overocker Road and turn right; parking is on the left.
If you're heading west on US 44 from the Taconic State Parkway, continue for 8.5 miles to Peckham Road and turn left. Continue 0.2 mile to Overocker Road and then turn right; parking is on the left.
Creek Road/Morgan Lake Park: From the intersection of Pendell Road and Creek Road (Dutchess Community College Campus) travel south 0.5 mile; parking is on the right by Morgan Lake.
Additional parking lots are available along the trail’s route at nearly every major road intersection.
I rode this trail yesterday in combination with the Walkway over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley trails. Started in Hopewell Junction for a just about 36 mile out-and-back.
Great rides all the way!
The Walkway is spectacular (even on an overcast morning)!
The transition between the trails is seamless.
Informative signage, especially on the Walkway Over the Hudson and Duchess trails.
My friend and I rode this trail on January 15, 2017. It is snow and ice-free at this time.
We mapped it using RTC's directions to the endpoint in Hopewell Junction. The directions are spot on. There's plenty of parking at this spot.
Make sure to stop at the Hopewell train depot, located very close to our starting point. There are some interesting historical artifacts and very clean restrooms.
Rode from the Walkway Over The Hudson to Hopewell Junction (for lunch) and back on a sunny September Saturday. Once you get east of the bridge, the trail is MUCH LESS crowded. It is nicely paved all the way to HJ with mileage markers with "HJ" indicating distance to Hopewell Junction. being an old RR grade, the slope is not perceptible, except at certain road crossings where a RR bridge used to be. Where the trail crosses busy roads, the trail is on a bridge ... very nice! There is a bar & grill type restaurant adjacent to the trail at HJ. There is also a grocery plaza a couple of blocks south (about 1/4 mile) of the HJ depot.
We passed many trailheads/parking areas along the way and almost all of them had Port-A-Potties so there's little excuse to run into the woods.
Great trail. Started at Hopewell Junction and rode to the bridge and over. Trail was fairly quite until you got to the bridge. way too many people on rhe bridge but it is labor day weekend. To be expected. Will do again in the fall and take my camera!
I rode this trail on 7/7/16. This is a very nice paved trial so if you have a race bike some good training here. I did this from south to north with two other trials. The walkway over Hudson and Hudson valley rail trial that finishes in Tony Williams park. In all almost a 18 mile ride one way. The bridge over the Hudson is spectacular. So get out and ride.
Very comfortable to walk or bike. Flat & well kept, great for beginner cycling and great for a stroll.
Spectacular 29 mile round trip bike ride from Hopewell Junction through Poughkeepsie and then ending in Highland New York.
We traversed the "Walkway Over The Hudson" bridge which is the world's longest pedestrian bridge over water at 1.28 miles and reaches above the Hudson River 212 feet.
Cannot say enough as to the spectacular 360 degree views from the highest point on the "Walkway".
Definitely ranks #1 out of the 5 trails we have ridden thus far this year.
Rode this trail on May 29, 2016. Started at Diddell Road parking lot, about 4 miles north of the starting point in Hopewell Junction, rode over the Walkway over the Hudson and returned...about 22 miles round-trip. Trail was very well maintained, well marked with mileage points. It was a sunny, hot day, and be advised that there was a pretty direct sun overhead for most of the trail (not a lot of shade), so bring sunscreen. Very flat most of the way, goes behind several commercial areas, some municipal equipment lots, and neighborhoods. The Walkway of course is spectactular, was easy to ride across even with pedestrians, and there's an elevator part way across that brings you down to the walkway along the river far below. All in all I would definitely recommend this trail, and you may also want to look up the Harlem Valley Rail Trail near Wassaic and the Wallkill Rail Trail that passes through New Paltz.
What a great treasure this rail trail is to the Hudson Valley.....absolutely love it!!!
Had a great ride along the Dutchess Trail. Recommend Leisure Bike Shop in Poughkeepsie - right along the trail - for bike repairs. James at the shop was great!
This trail, combined with the majestic Walkway Over The Hudson and the Hudson Valley trail, make this 37 mile round trip the best rail trail within 100 miles of NYC. The 13 mile Dutchess trail that connects to the bridge is the template for all modern rail trails. Kudos to that politician it is named after. Money and time were devoted to this and result is the most beautiful one around.
I did the 3 trails which combine to 18 miles in each direction. Yes, there are quite a few "in loving memory" benches on a particular stretch but it's really not a big deal. If the sponsorship helps maintain the trail, so be it. The Dutchess County Trail was in really great shape. It's wide, clean and well paved. Most of it is shady and flat. I got the Trail Link app which showed me where I was along the way. The only problem was that it incorrectly listed a particular parking lot and sent me on a wild goose chase for a non existent parking lot. If you're a local, you will know where the multitude of lots are, but since I live an hour away, I really depended on the app which led me astray. Other than that, it was a lovely way to spend a summer afternoon. The Walkway Over the Hudson is stunning and there are snack trucks and compost toilets just over it as you cross westward. The last stretch, the Hudson Valley trail, isn't as well paved, but it's pretty short and still nice to ride. I recommend this.
It's a lovely, well maintained trail that connects to the Walkway over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. I highly recommend it. It's a great, relaxing trail, paved all the way,with a couple small hills. I rode this section one day and the other two sections another day. All three trails total 22 miles one way, 44 miles return. The parking lot at Overocker road is small.
I RODE PART OF THIS TRAIL LAST YEAR FROM THE WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON. THIS TIME I STARTED FROM HOPEWELL JUNCTION JUST A MILE OR 2 OFF THE TACONIC PKWY.(LAST YEAR I PURCHASED THE TRAIL LINK APP FOR MY PHONE TO MAKE IT EASIER TO FIND THE TRAIL HEADS OF THE RAIL TRAILS AND IT HAS MADE IT ALL THAT MUCH EASIER!)THIS PART OF THE TRAIL IS FOR THE MOST PART VERY LEVEL AND OPEN ,NOT TOO MUCH SHADE AT ALL ON A SUNNY DAY HAVE A HAT AND SUNSCREEN AND PLENTY OF WATER.AT ABOUT 3 MILES IN THERE IS SOME SHADE OVERHEAD. THERE ARE NUMEROUS CROSSINGS AND PORTAPOTTY'S ALONG THE WAY, ALONG WITH A BIKE SHOP AT ABOUT MILE MARKER 7.ABOUT A 1/2 MILE BEFORE OVEROCKER RD. ON YOUR LEFT YOU CAN SEE SIGN OF NEW BEAVER ACTIVITY (TREES CUT DOWN) IN A SMALL FLODDED AREA.ITS NOT AN ESPECIALLY SENIC TRAIL , THE RIDE FROM THE WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON TO OVEROCKER RD IS MORE SHADED AND WOODED. THER ARE A LOT OF INTERPERTIVE SIGNAGE ALONG THE WAY WITH INTERESTING PHOTOS AND INFO . I STOPPED FOR A COLD PINT AND A BITE TO EAT AT A BAR LOCATED AT THE TRAILHEAD LOT IN HOPEWELL JUNCTION. I RODE ABOUT 10 MILES UP AND BACK FOR A TOTAL OF 20 OR SO ON A NICE COOL MAY DAY.
Don't believe the haters. It's a lovely, well maintained trail that connects to the walkway over the hudson and the hudson valley rail trail. I highly recommend it for novices and experts alike. It's a great, relaxing ride in beautiful scenery.
Seems that some are bummed by a few sponsored or memorialized benches at the beginning of this ride, but otherwise this is a relaxing 28+ mile round trip from Hopewell Jct. to the Walkway Over the Hudson and back.
It's well paved, shaded most of the way, and there are only slight changes in elevation, so though it's a long ride it's doable by most. Of course these attributes means it can get a little crowded by mid-afternoon on a weekend, but that's easily avoidable by starting early.
Don't forget your camera for a selfie or groupie on the bridge overlooking the Hudson. When you return to Hopewell the folks at Daddy O's will be more than happy to serve up a pub lunch and refreshments.
Enjoy and don't believe the haters!
It really is too bad. This trail was incredible when it opened, helped me train for marathons, triathlons, and got me in shape. The unfortunate part is that over the last year the trail has become nothing more than a place to honor dead loved ones and promote businesses. 12 memorial benches in less than 1.5 miles and business advertisements, complete with phone numbers have replaced the natural scenery in front of Lake Walton, what was once the most scenic section of the 15 mile stretch to the Walkway. I'll be avoiding the section from Wappingers to Fishkill from now on, it's far too depressing. They should rename it the funeral mile.
wow! first class trail all the way to Hopewell Jct. where trail users are greated with a restored board and baten station that is the cat's meow! Soon to come next to the former diamond is a replica of the tower based on original architectural drawings. An absolute "must do" for any serious trail user!
ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN AUGUST I LINKED UP 2 MORE TRAILS TO THIS ONE. I PARKED AT THE LOT FOR THE WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON. I BIKED THE HUDSON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL TO TONY WILLIAMS PARK( WHICH WAS TO THE LEFT OF THE PARKING LOT) THE PARK HAD A NICE COVERED PICNIC AREA ,IF YOU WANTED TO START AND END YOUR RIDE THERE. THE TRAIL WAS PAVED ALL THE WAY AND NICELY SHADED WITH RASPBERRIES GROWING ALONG THE SIDES, I RETURNED TO THE START OF THE WALKWAY OVER THE HUDSON TRAIL WHICH WAS CROWDED BUT THAT WAS TO EXPECTED SEEING ITS POPULARITY AND GREAT VIEWS. THERE ARE PICNIC BENCHES AT BOTH ENDS WITH VENDORS OF VARIOUS FOOD AND DRINK. I THEN LINKED TO THE DUTCHESS RAIL TRAIL FOR ABOUT 10 MILES MORE. THERE ARE VARIOUS STREET CROSSINGS WITH GREAT SIGNAGE AS TO MILEAGE AND TRAIL INFO.I CHANGED TO 1.25 TIRES ON MY MT. BIKE FOR A FAST ENJOYABLE RIDE. THE TRAIL IS NICELY SHADED FOR THE MOST PART WITH SOME RACERS ON THE ROAD. IT IS A RAISED TRAIL FOR SOME PARTS SO KEEP AN EYE ON THE KIDS. I WILL SEND PHOTOS AS WELL . I HOPE TO CONTINUE THIS RIDE TO THE END POINT IN THE FUTURE
By far the best paved bike trail I have ridden. The trail from end to end (18 miles) is perfectly paved with numerous bridges and parking access points scattered about all in pristine condition. Beautiful fields, marshes, ponds you will pass but the best part is the view across the Hudson River at about midpoint. Don't miss this ride...
I just want to thank Mr Steinhaus for his great for his great work in making this trail a reality. It is one great trail and it connects with the walk over the Hudson. I just do not give five stars but if I did this trail would get one. It is wide, flat and has great shade. I did it round trip and it is one of the best maintained trails I have been on Again thank you Mr Steinhaus.
Started at Hopewell Junction. Good: trail is in excellent condition and very wide. Not-so-Good: The portapotty at the Hopewell Junction depot was disgusting and clearly had not been serviced in a very long time.
At the outset of the bike ride, there was plenty of parking and ample room on trails to bike side by side and have a chat while riding. The sound of nature puts yourself outside your busy lifestyle and into nature. There are plenty of benches along the way for a snack and rest. The Walkway over the Hudson is most extraordinary and marvelous. The trail is well maintained. I would ride it again, and again.
I second all the wonderful things others have said about this trail. The only really busy part is the Walkway Over The Hudson. We had to walk our bikes most of the way over.
If you map the trailheads using the Rails-to-Trails site and you're going to start at Lake Wilton, the directions are slightly off. Once on Lake Wilton Rd., don't follow the directions when it tells you to turn on Cottage Dr. The trailhead parking lots are on Lake Wilton Rd. itself. They're on both sides.
Great trail..beautifully maintained
Loved it..beautifully maintained
The trail is now complete from Lloyd through Poughkeepsie then all the way down to Hopewell Junction. It's a total of 18 miles one way. The best part is the Walkway over the Hudson. Beautiful!!! At the end of the trail in Hopwell Jct there is a restaurant called "daddy". Good food and drinks.
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Today we road the trail all the way from Hopewell Junction to the walkweay over the Hudson and connected with the Hudson Valley Rail Trail for a ride of about 18 miles in each direction. It is nicely paved and was gorgeous with the leaves still retaining some colorful leaves.
on the 16th of this month I was at the WOTH to check on progress of the new elevator - as I was at the east end I also checked on the progress of the connector trail Dutchess RT stage 5 - I had seen that the connector trail had been paved - all that remains is the SR 55 overpass brdge - phase 4 - to be put into place to complete the Maybrook trailway system - Hopewell Jct. Dutchess county to the twn. of Lloyd Tony Wiliams park Ulster county - 18 mi. or so in length
PS: the new bridge is being put into place - Fri 07/26 and Sat. 0727 the work started with prep and staging - this week starting Mon. 07/29 would begin the actual placement of the bridge sections - on Wed. 07/31 should be the installation of the final bridge section over the hwy.
I have been using the Dutchess Rail Trail for a couple years and have noticed lots of people riding, running, walking and just meandering about without a care in the world. As it should be. I ride about three times a week. Sometimes for serious exercise and other times for sheer pleasure. I run it and walk it also. Early in the morning or after work in the evening. It is worth the short trip everytime I go there. The pavement is well maintained. The adjacet sand/ soil path is level, clean and well maintained. There are numerus parking areas along the trail from North to South. There are portable toilets at two parking areas that I know of for sure. MOST of the people who used the rail trail are pleasant and polite. There are a few cyclists who ride like they are on the Tour'de France and don't say anything when the pass you from behind. One bounced off me one day and almost went over the rail fence. At the South end where the Hopewell station is located it looks like an extention to the trail is under construction. At the North end by Page Lumber you can see the bridge abuttments going up. The trail has a number of map locations and information boards. If you are in the area I would highly recomend you take the time and visit this rail trail.
Phase 4 construction is now underway. This final phase of the rail trail encompasses more than just the new 900 foot 5 span bridge over SR 55,as I found out when I was at Old Manchester Rd.,behind Page Lumber,recently. Near the above location,just 500 feet away,work on the new LaGrange trailhead was underway.The following week I was on a City of Poughkeepsie bus that crosses over the rail trail at Morgan Lake.I had seen,to my surprise and delight,that work had started on the connector link trail between the Walkway and the Dutchess rail trail at the Morgan Lake trailhead.And so,phase 4 also includes the construction of the link trail as well.Once completed,there will be 18 miles of contiguous trailway from Hopewell Jct.,town of East Fishkill in Dutchess county,[HJ 0.0] to the Tony Williams park town of Lloyd,Ulster county as of 04-16-13
(there are plans for a Hudson Valley RT phase 3 west extension)
Took my two nieces who are new to bicycling on this trail and we had a great time!!! Beautifully paved and wonderfully maintained bike trail!
A special thanks to NY Senator Charles Schumer (D) for negotiating the deal with CSX for acquisition of the CSX ROW property in the city of Poughkeepsie by the Walkway organization - the 'friends" of the Walkway.I had read that originaly CSX had wanted $6M for the property but the Dyson foundation had apraised the property at only $2M.The final deal negotiated by Mr. Shumer would be for a tad more than $1M.Once the Walkway group has legal ownership of the property,they are to turn the property over
to Dutchess county.The undeveloped ROW between the Walkway OTH state park and the current northern terminus of the Dutchess RT will be a part of the Dutchess RT - phase 5. Phase 4, already planned, will be for a new bridge over SR 55 and will connect the phase 2 section with the southern section.
for a link to the updated RR property map in the city of Poughkeepsie please visit my Hudson Valley - cycling adventures and area trailways report
blog at: trailways.bigk12603.com
There is now an 8.3 mile long contiguous trail - paved with a soft path for runners/walkers - from a bit beyond the old depot (under restoration) in Hopewell Jct. (parking and trailhead access),town of
East Fishkill,to Manchester Rd. in the town of Poughkeepsie. (old rt. 55 behind Page lumber - parking and trailhead access)
The rail trail now includes educational interpretive signs,directional-mileage signs at intersections
and engraved wood mileage markers.There is parking,trail access,and a kiosk at Diddell Rd. in the town
of Wappingers.The new signs and wood mileage markers are also being installed on the 2.4 mi. phase 2 section mostly in the town of Poughkeepsie.This phase 2 section goes from the northern terminus at Morgan Lake in the city of Poughkeepsie to Overocker Rd. in the town of Poughkeepsie.This section of the RT opened to the public in June,2009.This section will remain as an isolated section until the completion of phase 4, which will include a 900 foot long bridge over a 4 lane state hwy. (SR 55) This would,currently as
of 06-15-11,make 10.7 miles total of open rail trail.
NOTE:mile 0.0 has been changed a tad and the RT is now shorter by .1 mi. - the NEW wood mileage markers DO NOT coincide with the OLD green metal mileage markers.
also - I had originaly thought the soft section of the trail was ostensibly for Equestrian use (and also runners/walkers) but does not seem so - seems there has been a change since the original 2006 design and trail usage
The section from Old Manchester Rd to Lake Logan is now open!!! Wonderfully done. Everyone should take advantage of this gem of Dutchess County. Dream and hope for the day when this trail fully connects with Hudson Valley Rail Trail.
I have begun using the open parts of this trail to bike commute from Poughkeepsie to Hopewell Junction. At Diddell Road I came across the crew working on the next section of the trail. While she said they hope to have it open by May 15th, it should be definitely in service by June 1st. I cannot wait! This is going to be an awesome trail when it is done.
As of September 26 2010, work on the new CR 49 Titusville Rd.overpass has finaly begun. I could see the foundation for one of the the new bridge supports on the north side. With the recent rain the, hole for the foundation had filled with water and only the top of the concrete form could be seen. Work on the new grade up to the bridge had begun. Most oddly, I had noted on the south side the new grade was offset from the grade on the north side. Either someone was reading the plans upside down, or there will be a very unusual L shaped RT pedestrian bridge at this crossing.
There is STILL no bridge over Maloney Rd. as of this date. Almost all of the forms have been removed,except for 2 small protrusions, presumabely to anchor the new bridge once finaly in place.There was no activity at Diddell Rd.At the Sprout Creek bridge,near the SR376 crossing in East Fishkill, I was now able to see the exact nature of the work being done. It seems, the old concrete supports are not being totaly removed, but rather just the outer most layer.New re-bar is being put over the remaining old concrete supports,with forms, and presumabely new concrete will be poured into the new forms. There was evidence of bridge iron work being done,and there was a new I beam steel column on the side. At the SR36 crossing, there has been no new work. Most noteably,the section of the ROW on the south side, that connects with the completed phase 1 section, has YET to be worked on.The Dutchess County gov. site for this RT and the Harlem Valley RT clearly states that phase 3 would be completed by the end of THIS year.However,with all the work YET to be done, and the soon-to-be Winter weather,perhaps the DC trails site should have read "phase 3 completion at the end of 2011"?
there is quite a bit more than a "few miles" between the 2 open sections as of July 2010 - there is actualy 7.9 miles of undeveloped ROW between the 2 sections - the phase 2 section here in Poughkeepsie is "classier" that the section to the south - the phase 2 section has a paved parking lot at Overovker Rd. with a kiosk - at the northern trail head terminus (and will be forever) at Morgan Lake technicaly in the CITY of Poughkkepsie there is a small like county park within the Morgan Lake city park with benches,a kiosk,flowers and now a new memorial for Michael Murphy - the southern end does not go all the way to the old depot in Hopewell Jct. (the village and RR)
phase 3 (a,b and c) construction is underway from CR 49 Manchester Rd. to the north end of phase 1 and that last 1/2 mile bit to the depot and a tad beyond
for a full (much longer) report on this trail (and others in the area) and pictures please visit my Hudson Valley Cycling adventures and trailways report blog at: http://trailways.bigk12603.com
So far, there are two pieces completed with a parking area at the ends of each segment. The paved piece (1.8 miles) outside of Hopewell is paralleled by a packed dirt / pea gravel lane, I assume might be for horses?? Not sure about the intent of this, as the other section from Overrocker Rd to Morgan lake (about 2.5 miles) doesn't have this 'feature'.
Work has begun on the section between these, although it seems to be off to a slow start. The big question is whether the County will be able to acquire the rights from CSX to the 1 mile piece from Morgan Lake (near DCC) to the foot of the Walkway Over The Hudson. If this segment gets done, then we'll have a seriously world class linear park!
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