South County Trailway

New York

53 Reviews

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South County Trailway Facts

States: New York
Counties: Westchester
Length: 14.4 miles
Trail end points: Old Putnam Trail, 0.3 mile south of McLean Ave. near Tibbetts Road (Yonkers) and North County Trailway at Old Saw Mill River Road (Elmsford)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Concrete
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6016677

South County Trailway Description

The South County Trailway rolls 14.4 miles through one of the most densely populated parts of New York, but its route through pocket woodlots, parks, and golf courses and along riverbanks makes it seem more remote.

The trail runs through Westchester County between Yonkers and Greenburgh, connecting Van Cortlandt Park and Tarrytown Lakes Park. Much of the way is screened as it runs between Saw Mill River Parkway and the Saw Mill River. While all the trees provide shade in the summertime, the tree roots have created ridges in the asphalt that can make for bumpy travel for anyone on wheels.

The South County Trailway is part of a four-trail system that includes Old Putnam Trail to the south and the North County Trailway and Putnam Trailway to the north. They combine for 45 miles of mostly off-road travel along an old railroad corridor. Passenger and freight service began in the 1880s, and the corridor fell under control of the New York and Putnam Railroad in 1894. In 1913 it became the New York Central Railroad’s Putnam Division, earning the nickname Old Put from commuters. Passenger service ended in 1958.

The trail, part of the developing 750-mile Empire State Trail, starts at the north side of Van Cortlandt Park and begins an easy but steady climb north. In less than a mile, it reaches Tibbetts Brook Park, where you’ll find a popular water park and the closest parking to the trailhead.

After crossing over Cross County Parkway and Yonkers Boulevard, the trail passes the 126-acre Dunwoodie Golf Course on the left and the HF Redmond Jr. Memorial Park on the right. In a mile, an observation point just north of the Palmer Road overpass reveals a view of north Yonkers from the trail’s highest point.

The trail passes through the communities of Bryn Mawr, Nepperhan, and Grey Oaks, where you should expect traffic noise from Saw Mill River Parkway. You’ll meet the Saw Mill River at a bridge about 6.2 miles from the start and soon pass the sprawling Mount Hope and Westchester Hills Cemeteries. In another 3 miles, the trail passes Woodlands Lake in V.E. Macy Park. The haunting Great Hunger Memorial across the lake memorializes the millions who died in the Irish potato famine.

Another 2.5 miles down the trail, you’ll arrive in Elmsford, home of the only surviving railroad station from the “Old Put” days on the South County Trailway. It’s a restaurant today, one of many places to eat in town. The final 2 miles to the junction with the North County Trailway pass through the wooded watershed of Tarrytown Reservoir. A spur trail travels the south shore of the lake toward Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Yonkers trailhead from I-87 N, take Exit 14 and merge onto Jerome Ave. Go 300 feet, and stay straight onto Central Park Ave. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto McLean Ave. Go 0.2 mile, and turn right to stay on McLean Ave., and then go 0.2 mile, and stay straight onto Midland Ave. Go 0.8 mile, and turn left onto Teresa Ave. and enter Tibbetts Brook Park. Go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto County Park Road. Then go 0.2 mile and look for parking on the left. From the parking lot, cross the street, turn left, and then turn right onto the first trail. Go a short distance and take the next trail left, and then go 0.3 mile and bear right. Go 0.1 mile, turn left onto another trail, and follow this to the junction with the South County Trailway. Turn left to reach the southern endpoint in 0.7 mile. From I-87 S, take Exit 1 toward Hall Pl./McLean Ave. Merge onto Central Park Ave., and immediately make a sharp right turn onto Bajart Pl. In 0.2 mile turn left onto Wendover Road, and go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Midland Ave., and follow the directions above from there.

To reach the Elmsford trailhead from I-87, take Exit 8 or 8A, and merge onto I-287 E/Cross Westchester Expy. Go 0.2 mile, and merge onto Saw Mill River Pkwy. N. Go 2.5 miles, and take Exit 23. Turn right, go 0.1 mile, and look for parking on your right. (The trail at the rear of the parking lot goes left 300 feet to reach the North County Trailway.) Alternatively, take Exit 23 and turn left onto NY 303/Old Saw Mill River Road. Go 0.1 mile, and look for parking on your right.

South County Trailway Reviews

great walk

I work the trail on NYE great walk what I recommend some great walking running sneakers great views burned a lot of calories planning to do it again when Late Spring Summer arrives

Beautiful ride from north of Van Cortlandt part to Mahopac.Well paved and maintained.Connected to the North County trail And the Putnam trailway

Beautiful ride from north of Van Cortlandt part to Mahopac.Well paved and maintained.Connected to the North County trail And the Putnam trailway

Great option for a Long Run

My husband and I were visiting family in the area and needed to get in our weekly long runs. We started on the Old Putnam trail and then connected to the South County. The trail was somewhat narrow for dual direction bike and pedestrian traffic but was in good condition It does offer mileage markers and periodic maps. It connects to a number of other trails. And it has minimal intersections in the portions we used. It did not seem to be a practice of the bikers to announce themselves with and ‘on your left’ as is common on our home trail so beware of fast moving bikes.

Needs work

As of 12/31/2021: The South Trail from the Tarrytown Lakes down to Ardsley is paved and a pleasant ride for bikers. At Ardsley it turns to crushed earth and unless you have a mountain bike probably not a good idea. I hope they extend the paving. The trail from the Tarrytown Lakes to Lake Carmel is smooth and beautiful. Highly recommend.


Poorly renovated

Recently repaved in sections, but done sloppily and left bumpy. The northern half of the trail has a lot of sunken and washboard sections that make it unpleasant to ride. From Van Cortlandt Park and about half way up the trail is nice, but from mid-point to where it connects to the north county trail is a mess.

too bumpy

most of the trail is located right along the highway so it’s kind of loud. At least 30% of the trail badly needs maintenance lots of bumps sink holes and cracks. Three stars is all this trail deserves.

Badly needs maintenance

April 2021: Hadn't been on the trail a couple of years, hoped they had caught up on maintenance. No such luck. Long stretches full of cracks, bumps, sunken spots and washboarding. It was a teeth-rattling experience. Not recommended, esp. for road bikes.

Half Great, Half Terrible

The southern half of the trail is great - smooth, not too steep, and mostly shaded. The northern half, until you reach the North County Trail, is terrible. Cracked, potholes, and sunken spots that are hard to see for almost the entirety of the trail.

great road

Just finished a 30 mile ride on the trail. Started by VE Macy Park and ended right before Sleepy Hollow. Nice ride. The first 4 miles were bumpy but as you get further into Westchester the road gets smoother. Nice trail. Next time will ride 20 miles out.

Absolutely fulfilling

This ride is sure to please all. Most sections are smooth and yes, moments of patches of bumps come up but it does not change the setting. They actually keep the trail pretty smooth. Continue riding towards the Northern section and really put the work in.

COVID warning

You cannot park on site if you do not live in West Chester. Must be able to show proof at the gate or you will be turned away.

Pretty, But Needs Maintenance

The trail itself is pretty and mostly quiet. Great turns, gradual hills, not a lot of stops. For runners or wider tire cyclists, not bad. As a road cyclists, with a very stiff bike, it can be a bit jarring. Parts (about 3 miles up from Redmond Park) are basically corrugated roads. Extremely uncomfortable. You also have to be very alert to the changing conditions like sudden water and mud, and large unmarked dips and potholes. Really hard to maintain any speed over 17 or 18. Hoping this gets better maintained! Would be a treat to ride.

VCP to Woodlands Lake - Recommended

I biked from VCP to Woodlands Lake (round trip) which is about 21 miles and highly recommend this trail. Overall the trail is well maintained with the exception of occasional bumps on the paved portions. The dirt trail in VCP has a few bumpy sections from tree roots and rail ties. I’m a casual biker and would say anyone with basic biking abilities can do this portion of the rail trail. Bring two bottles of water and throw some snacks in a backpack. I’m going to try going from VCP to Elmsford on my next.

Not as bumpy as others claim

After reading some of the reviews I was prepared for a disastrous trail. Yes, its a little bumpy in spots but I felt it was mostly smooth. A couple of places are semi-rough but it wasnt that big of a deal.

Also, getting to it is a little tricky if youre just searching on google for directions. I found the best launch point to be at the northern most end of the South County Trail (just south-east of the Tarrytown Resovior). Drive your car to and get off at exit 23 of the Saw Mill Pkwy. There is a park and ride right there. Park your car and head south on your bike for the South County Trail and North for the North County trail.

Bumpy But Family Friendly

My husband and I recently explored this trail on our road bikes with a 2-year old in a bike trailer.


1) Plenty of shade and tree cover. Perfect for those scorching summer days!

2) Most (not all) people know how to stay to one side of the road, but if you give a friendly "On your left!" or "On your right!" they'll quickly move over for you.

3) Easy entry. We parked at Briarcliff Manor Public Library and felt completely safe leaving our car there. The entrance to the trail is in the parking lot, next to the library (big red building). Plus, there is a public bathroom in the tented area, as well as plenty of picnic tables.

4) Trail is well marked.

5) Most (not all) cyclists are respectful and know how to conduct themselves on two wheels.

Now, the cons:

1) Considerable amount of bumps from tree roots, cracks, potholes, dips, and corroded asphalt, which honestly seems like the norm when it comes to bike trails. I think it's just impossible to have a completely smooth surface when nature is so unpredictable. My butt was a bit sore and my kid said "ouch" a few times, but we had no problems getting through it on our road bikes. In fact, you'll see plenty of cyclists training on road bikes with no problems whatsoever.

2) Getting to the North County Trail seems impossible, at least from the Public Library. We discovered it would require riding ON the shoulder of the Saw Mill River Parkway. No way!

3) Bathrooms do not exist, so make sure to pee before you head out.

Tip: From the Library, we rode about 12 miles to Rivertowns Square Shopping Plaza in Dobbs Ferry to grab lunch at Chipotle. It's a quick 5 minute detour from the trail and you'll need to cross Saw Mill River Parkway, but there are traffic lights and crosswalks in this section. We also stopped at Menchie's Fro Yo which is in the same shopping plaza. There's also a Starbucks and Chop't if you're in need of a salad and caffeine.

Enjoy your ride!

Uneven asphalt

Access to the southern portion through van cortlandant park goes thru an unpaved wooded area. Basically, mud, tree roots and stones--not ideal for road cycling. Once on the south county trail, things get better but not by much. For most of the trail, you will be greeted by uneven pavement, cracked asphalt and dips (smooth pot holes).

Great Trail for Cycling

Wonderful trail for biking. No hills. All gentle grades. Mostly up as you head north. Mostly down as you head south. It gets very bumpy in the last few miles at the north end. The vibration is serious and will numb your hands, feet and other parts. The rest is silky smooth. The Old Putnam trail at the south end is packed dirt. The north end doesn't connect smoothly to the north county trail. You have to ride some gnarly four lane highly trafficked roads to get to it.

Nice Ride!

We enjoyed our ride on the South County Trailway today when the unseasonably warm temperatures in February were in the 60s. Be sure to follow the South County Trailway description for parking at the HF Redmond Jr. Memorial Park, not the directions you get from the map. The map sends you down Homewood Ave., a dead end street.

great trail

This is one of our fave family trails. The entire trail is paved, and the length is a good distance for a nice ride (25 miles). We park in Yonkers and ride to Elmsford, where we take a water/snack break at Subway (there is also a coffee & ice cream shop next door!)

Great trail

First time riding this trail it was a nice ride clean can't wait to ride it again!

Great Trail!! Not easy to find from NYC.

The South County Trailway is a hidden gem! If you get off the 4 train at the Mosholu Parkway stop, you should head west through the park, and then turn right when you get to Mosholu Parkway. At the first set of lights, cross over the street, and you'll see a greenway sign. Follow that sign, as it brings you around to the golf course and ultimately the entrance to the Old Putnam Trail. It's not well marked, so you may need to ask someone.

The Old Putnam Trail is an unpaved but well beaten dirt road that goes along about 2 miles or so before emptying out into the South County Trailway. I don't think there are any other easy access points to start from the exact end of the trail.

Once on the trail, it's great!! Very nicely paved, easy elevations(when there are any!). There's a little more uphill beginning from the south, but it's really manageable.

Woodlands Lake is an excellent resting place, however there is no water here. There was a porta-potty when I was here, which is a good reference, however I don't think there is regular public restrooms available. Generally there aren't any water spouts available along the length of the trail. There are numerous exit points, so perhaps if you need to, you can find water pretty easily.

Can't wait to try the North side!

great clean trail

Terrific trail that is easy to navigate. One one short rough patch where the cement is broken due to the tree roots breaking thru. More than 14.2 ribs!

Excellent ride

Rode this trail 2 years ago and again today. Despite 92 degrees, it's an easy ride because it's mostly shaded. Starting from Bronx- Westchester line, there are some root bumps at about 6-7 miles in. The only reason it's not 5 stars is because there is a missing mile or so at about 12 miles in. You'll need to go through heavy industrial truck area to reconnect with the trail. Other than that, the South County trail is a beautiful 31.5 mile round trip easy ride.

A nice ride for city dwellers

It's 30 minutes to Redmond Park from the west side of Manhattan. From there, it's mine nine relatively flat and marginally bumpy miles to casaletto, which Linda down thread in the comments recommended and is a great red sauce Italian restaurant. That and the ride back to the park made for a perfect afternoon and early evening.

Pick UP your POOP People!

I work right behind the trail in Elmsford where I bring my dog to work. I walk that path and I can not believe the disgusting people who do not pick up after their dogs. I live in Carmel and I live right near a lake. I had the dog install a dispenser of bags so that there is no excuse!!!

Great Trail

Smooth trail all the way through

Many miles, little time

This is a great trail. It's my go-to trail near home. It starts at the end of the Putnam trail, which goes through Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx (unpaved). While there are several road crossings, they don't affect the pace of the trail much. The southern end (beginning of paved trail in Yonkers) is a gradual uphill. Despite that, you can do a lot of miles in a short time.
It passes through the Great Hunger Memorial Park in Elmsford, which has a statue in honor of the potato famine victims. It's a nice place for a rest but bring your own snacks, as there are no services there. Shortly north of the park, the trail stops and you have to travel some streets to rejoin the trail. Eventually, the trail becomes the North County Trailway.

Great Trail

My husband and I took our 8 year old from the southern point of the trail (off of the Old Putnam) to Elmsford. We really enjoyed the trail. It is well paved with few bumps. It is wide enough to accommodate cyclists going in each direction, or to pass joggers. Most of the ride was isolated from views of traffic and at no point are you riding alongside traffic. There was a nice mixture of serious cyclists and casual riders. Its true that there are no water fountains, and not many trashcans, even at street crossings. However there are call stations in case of an emergency. The trail is really beautiful, its a great break from city cycling.

At Elmsford we ate at this Italian place called Casaletto which is just around the corner from the trail. In fact you can see the back of the restaurant from the trail. Even by NYC standards their food is amazing. They might have the best tiramisu I've ever had.

Nice trail, well-maintained, but no amenities.

I used this trail for marathon training, to run a 20 miler. I started in Elmsford and worked my way south to Yonkers and then back. The trail is asphalt the whole way, and on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, was not very crowded at all. It is mostly shaded by tree coverings, but there are a few sunny stretches here and there which, on a hot day, can be tough to run through. There are gentle uphills and downhills that you don't really notice when you're running the,.

There are a few sections where it feels fairly industrial, but it's mostly a pretty trail, albeit there is a lot of car traffic noise - but I don't really mind that.

My biggest complaint were the lack of amenities along the trail. Despite multiple fire hydrants located less than 15 feet at many points along the trail, there were no water stops at all along the entire 14 mile stretch. This makes this trail not very hospitable to runners who can't necessarily carry water through the whole 20 miles of a long run. I've run on many other trails that have at least one water stop every 5-7 miles. There were scattered port-a-potties, which was nice, but you had to exit the trail and hunt around a little bit to find them. Why take the trouble to pave a beautiful, 14 mile-long, multi-use trail, put up historical markers and the like, and offer absolutely no amenities for trail users?

There were a few businesses off the trail (I noticed a Dunkin Donuts and a cafe/restaurant at some point), but if all you need is a little bit of water - you don't want to jump off the trail, take 15 minutes, buy a water, drink only a little of it and throw the rest away.

So, this is a nice trail for cyclists, I suppose, but not really great for long runs or walks.

Pleasant, but not "zippy"

I think the description of this trail as "zippy" is incorrect. It is a well-paved trail, albeit with some bumps after some severe weather and flooding. But the speed of the cyclists on it is not very fast. Plenty of young families with small children cycling for the first time. Good number of dog walkers, who have gotten much better about using leashes.

Could be improved if nearby businesses embraced the trail more. Surprising that local restaurants and delis don't have bike racks, since they would do a good business especially in Yonkers. Restaurants in Elmsford, at the northern trailhead, do decent business from trail users.

Best trail in NY!

I ride this trail from Tibbets Brook Park to Brewster and back a few times every year in the fall/late summer. Safe, well paved(smooth) and scenic. Excellent for serious cyclists looking to spend a whole day of putting on some serious mileage. If you don't know about this trail you're really missing out. Numerous spots along the way to refuel and hydrate. Highly recommended.

Best trail in NY!

I ride this trail from Tibbets Brook Park to Brewster and back a few times every year in the fall/late summer. Safe, well paved(smooth) and scenic. Excellent for serious cyclists looking to spend a whole day of putting on some serious mileage. If you don't know about this trail you're really missing out. Numerous spots along the way to refuel and hydrate. Highly recommended.

Nice Ride

Outside of the Elmsford bypass on streets, this is a very nice and shady ride.

Clear sailing

Rode from NYC to Ardsley. Path through Van Courtlandt Park was muck but South County trail was smooth and level allowing me to make up for lost time. There are very few cross roads and it is wide and well paved. Just north of Lawrence St., however, the path has some kidney punching ruts from a badly buckled area that is like the ridges in a ruffles potato chip.

South County Trail Open after Hurricane Sandy

As of November 1, 2012, the Trailway is clear of all storm debris, fallen trees, etc, from NYC line north to at least Tompkins Avenue. Three cheers for Westchester County Parks employees. Hopefully the stretch going North to Elmsford will soon be clear as well.

Woodland's Lake Park (Ardsley, NY) to Van Courtland Park (Bronx, NYC)

As of January 2012, the South County Trailway (SCT) extension in Yonkers appears complete. The temporary detours have been removed and the Trailway is fully open through Yonkers.

The extended trail is about as good as it gets -- a smooth, wide asphalt surface with enough in the way of gentle climbs, curves and sweeping views to keep things interesting. Overall, the entire Yonkers section of the SCT is one of the best urban rail-trail rides I've found in the New York City region. And unlike the rest of the SCT, very little of the Yonkers portion runs alongside high-speed highways.

Instead, it cuts through some light industrial zones and blue-collar neighborhoods before straddling the Dunwoodie Golf Course and The HF Redmond Jr Memorial Park and then passing alongside the spectacular Tibbets Brook County Park where paved side trails wander past the Brook, tennis courts, playing fields and an immense water park.

The only real faults (and this is true of the entire SCT) are a scarcity of access and trail-side services. As for trail-side refueling, I saw just one seasonal outdoor cafe at Palmer Ave. (closed in January) and a Duncan Donuts in the the Mile Square Plaza. It's worth noting, however, that the Trailway does go directly under McLean Ave., which is home to one of the highest concentrations of Irish pubs anywhere outside of Dublin.

The wide, smooth asphalt section stretches for about six miles from the Yonkers/Hastings border to the Yonkers/New York City border, where the paved trail ends in the woods at the edge of Van Courtland Park. From this isolated trailhead, an unpaved trail continues along the Old Putnam rail bed to the southeast corner of Van Cortland Park, where The Old Putnam Trail joins a short feeder trail that links up with the MTA No. 1 Subway line at the corner of 242nd Street and Broadway in the Bronx.

In theory, it's possible to transport a bike via Subway to the 242nd St-Van Courtland Park Station and then ride almost entirely off-road to Brewster, NY, where there is regular Metro North train service back to NYC's Grand Central Station. I say "in theory," because even in dry weather, the unpaved trail through Van Courtland Park presents a serious challenge to road bikes.

As for reaching the Yonkers section of the SCT by car, one option is to park at HF Redmond Park where the Trailway runs on the hillside above the park. A steep access trail is easily found on the embankment behind the baseball diamonds. Finding Redmond Park itself, however, is no picnic.

The easiest and most convenient trail access and parking is at the intersection of Farragut Ave and the Saw Mill River Parkway in Hastings-on-Hudson. The SCT parking lot is on the southeast corner of the intersection and is entered from Farragut Ave. If you cycle south from here, after a short stretch of narrow, bumpy trail, you'll reach the Yonkers border where the Trailway becomes both wider and much, much smoother.

The third option, which is what I did, is to park about three miles north of Yonkers at Woodland's Lake Park--which has its own exit (northbound only) off the Saw Mill River Parkway in Ardsley. From the Woodland's Lake parking area to the NYC border is about 9 miles, making for a pleasant 18-mile afternoon round trip. Despite the reference to "smooth sailing" in the main article, I found that north of Yonkers, the STC is anything BUT smooth. As a previous review notes, by 2010 washboarding from root heaves had already become a significant problem along the STC. It's only gotten worse since then. Between Woodland's Lake and Farragut Ave., I had to keep my speed below five or six mph most of the time, or risk jarring my dental work loose.

Is the Yonkers section of the South County Trailway a worthwhile destination for an afternoon rail trail ride? I think so -- and will be returning again! For mountain bikers, there's the added attraction of many miles of unpaved trail to explore in Van Courtland Park, which at 1,100 acres is NYC's fourth largest green space.

Mileage Correction

I made a mileage error in my previous review. The OVERALL distance of the combined North County / Putnam Trailways is 30 miles. However, the continuous OFF-ROAD portion between Millwood, NY and Brewster is only about 20 miles.

The entire interconnected "trailway network" (South County / North County / Putnam Trailwaus) is about 44 miles beginning at the Bronx / Westchester border and ending in Brewster. The vast majority of this consists of off-road rail trail. And it really is one of the recreational treasures of the New York City region.

Off-Road from Briarcliff Manor to Elmsford

The 30-miles of continuous asphalt rail trail that begins in Millwood NY and pass through Yorktown Heights, Mahopac and Carmel Hamlet before ending on the outskirts of Brewster is one of the recreational treasures of the New York City region.

Technically, the trail consists of a 22.1 mile section of the North County Trailway which seamlessly joins the 7.4-mile Putnam Trailway at the border between Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Much of this trail passes through hilly upland forest. But there's a spectacular trestle across the Croton Reservoir, numerous lakes and ponds -- and an series of villages and towns with funky bars, bike shops, pharmacies and dozens of eclectic eateries ranging from a 1933 WPA-type stone building with an outdoor cafe/garden that's been turned into a Starbucks to a trendy Italian cafe called Mirabella's that specializes in homemade gelato. There's even a trail-side shop the sells comics and graphic novels.

The fact that this trail system extends south all the way to New York City -- albeit with several breaks that force riders onto busy side streets and highways -- is all the more remarkable.

Given the enticements of the North County/Putnam Trailways, it's not surprising that it's taken 15 years to summon the curiosity to explore what lies south of Millwood. But on a frigid January day with temps in the mid 20s, I decided to take a look.

At Millwood, the North County Trail becomes an on-road bike route along Saw Mill River Road. Although the shoulder is wide and in some places separated by a guard rail, I've yet to speak to a cyclist who's felt comfortable on this route where the traffic often flows at 70 mph.

But the off-road rail trail portion of the North County Trailway resumes in Briarcliff Manor and travels south for several miles before seamlessly joining the South County Parkway at Old Saw Mill River Road near the Westchester Medical Center. From there the rail trail continues south before ending at the gate of the UPS transfer station on Warehouse Lane in Elmsford. The distance from Briarcliff to Elmsford is a little over nine miles, making for a nice winter ramble on my recumbent trike.

Finding the Briarcliff trailhead was perhaps the biggest challenge of the trip. The Tudor-style Briarcliff Library mentioned in the main review has been replaced by a large, modern faux-Tudor brick Library building. Although the Google Map shows the trail running adjacent to the Library, there are no signs or any visible trail entrance.

Eventually, I noticed a dog-walker squeezing between some parked cars near the Library before vanishing behind a air conditioning compressor that's roughly the size of a Mini Cooper. Located between the compressor and the SE corner of the Library with a Handicap Only parking sign planted in the asphalt is a narrow path the leads down an embankment to the North County Trailway.

Once on the rail trail, the ride to Elmsford and back was surprisingly pleasant. The grade is gentle and the asphalt surface is in good shape -- with only a few inevitable root heaves and potholes. North of Millwood, the rail trade grades are occasionally steep and usually very long -- often going for three or more miles without a level stretch. Between Briarcliff and Elmsford, however, the grades are short and often barely noticeable.

The Google Map indicates that most of the rail trail is sandwiched between the Saw Mill Parkway and a major high tension line--which most certainly is the case. But on the South County Trailways portion of the route, the trail is elevated on a hillside overlooking the parkway, limiting the traffic noise and affording some interesting views. With summer foliage, I suspect both parkway and looming high-tension towers would be even less of an issue.

Near the point where the South County and North County Trailways link up, there's a spur trail that runs west for a mile or so through the Tarrytown Lakes Park -- offering an escape from both the overhead wires and traffic noise.

Don't, however, expect to find a cup of soup, or even coffee, between Briarcliff and Elmsford. The only possibility of food were an Applebees and something called the Executive Diner -- but reaching them would involve somehow crossing the Saw Mill Parkway. The rail trail ends, rather ignominiously, in the middle of a vast warren of trucking depots.

Will I be returning soon? Not likely. This stretch is simply no contest to the remarkable rail trail system from Millwood to Brewster. Still, for a quick afternoon outing, the Braircliff to Elmsford stretch is a pleasant and uncomplicated ride -- if you can find the trail head.

Detour completely blocking R.O.W. access to all at SkyWay Motel in Yonkers

Going south from the Dunwoodie trail marker, the once passable bridge that goes by the Skyway Hotel is now blocked by an orange high fence, forcing users to go down the stairs to Yonkers Avenue.

It was like that on October 5 and last weekend it was still up. I'm presuming it was downed trees from Irene?

You can't get over the fence, not even if you go behind the motel.

Follow Yonkers to the light and make a right on Midland. You'll see the detour signs and the trail will become a cracked paved sidewalk. Take your first right into Tibbetts and turn right to follow it around toward the bridge by the football field and bathrooms. You'll see a trail marker leading up the steep hill.

You can go up to the bridge and it seems they're doing rehab work. If you walk to the left of the fence, you can get around it and walk the bridge.

All is well further south to Van Cortlandt.

South County Trailway

I too have traversed the new segment. There is a little work just south of the new section which should be completed by this weekend (10/29/11). The new section is incredibly beautiful right now and for one who has slugged through the right-of-way (jumping fences and mucking through mud) at each stage of the work, I can say it is a very sturdy transformation of some very difficult ground. It is steeper than many other sections but the stonework remaining from the original railroad grading and the tree density make it very beautiful and interesting. Access from Tuckahoe Rd., Palmer Avenue, Mile Square Road, Redmond Park, and Yonkers Avenue (up steps, near motel).

It looks as if the extension of the South County Trailway through vanCortlandt Park will shortly receive final approvals with construction to be started in 2012. This would provide a southern terminus near the southwest corner of vanCortlandt Park with clear cycling all the way to and from Elmsford.

the missing link is complete

I just took my bike from cook (Remon) field to tuckahoe road on the newly paved trail. that's right folks it's done. now we just have to the link from 119 is elmsford to the UPS warehouse and we're done.

Needs addtional maint.

The pavement has become cracked with ruts that make the surface feel like washboard in some areas. There has been some holes filled this fall but the washboard areas near the school bus depot remain a hazardous issue.

Close the 2-mile gap already!

The last time I rode this section was over 1.5 years ago and the 2-mile gap from Toussaint and Belknap to Cook Avenue was still overgrown. This section is for the most part, a neighborhood with a few cuts, but it does flood heavily.

I understand the length of time it takes to acquire land and easements and put pieces out to bid, but geez, this section is getting worse. Even still, there is no signage telling you where to go! Sure it says it ends and I'm adventurous, because you just follow the ROW and topography, but this area of congested mazes is quite hard to follow and you wind up on neighboring trails, like the Bronx River near Lawrence Hospital.

Signage would help, and I've cc'd my concerns to the appropriate groups.

SCT Does Go to Van Cortlandt Park, but...

The Southern end of the trailway ends at Touisant Avenue, in Yonkers, just North of Tuckahoe Road. In order to pick up the trail again (at this time), you must travel East on Tuckahoe Road (making a Left onto Tuckahoe Road) traveling about 1/4 mile, to make a RT onto "Mile Square Road", which crosses over the Ol' Putnum tracks. Take "Mile Square Road" through Yonkers, passing Palmer Avenue. As you continue, the road will fork. Bike onto the RT onto "Cook Avenue" into Redmond Park. Circling around the Athletic field, half way, you will come to a small dirt road. Bike up the dirt path and you will be on the new exrtension to the SCT, which will you take you into Van Cortland Park. Its a great ride down, all downhill. Its a great workout to get back!!!! Enjoy. I hear that the county will extend the SCT so that we will not have to enter onto Tuckahoe Road, but is yet to be seen.

SCT extended 8 more miles

South County Trail now extends southward to Van Courtland Park in the Bronx making the trail a total of 14 miles!!!!YAY

Good and Bad

"The trail is nicely paved throughout. But much of it runs adjacent to the Parkway, so traffic noise is a constant nuisance. Some parts of trail runs through what looks like industrial parks. Overall, a decent trail but not great."

South County

"This trail provides a great way to get to Yonkers. The signage at Route 119, though, could have been better as the trailhead is easy to miss. The trailhead at Barney is not so good; there aren't any signs or directions."

Elmsford to Eastview Section Now Paved

The segment between Saw Mill River Road in Eastview and Warehouse Lane in Elmsford is now paved. There is no public parking at the Warehouse Lane trailhead.

Elmsford section...

"Hello again. Last Friday my friend and i did the North and South County Trailway again, but much quicker since we knew where to go.

Where North meets South on that bridge with the orange fence, it says east and west. Common sense finally told us that south is straight, though it wasn't a sign. Going right brings you to Tarrytown and a completely different section that meets up with the trail again. Going left goes nowhere.

Stand with your back to the gate at the intersection of West Main Street and 9A in Elmsford that puts you back on the trail (after having taken the onstreet route on 9A from the UPS/Coca-Cola facilities on Fairview Park Road).

I retraced the route across the street through some businesses and if it were completed, it would traverse a very long parking lot and go down some tiny side alley roads. It will go under Route 287 and into some junk and scrap metal yards. The railroad is visible as a fence is resting on it at a junkyard on the left, much as it did when it came out of the woods at the UPS/FED Ex facility earlier.

You can sense being really close to that Animal Shelter and the trail eventually becomes too overgrown and barely visible. It does connect a few hundred feet to that fence near the Animal Hospital."

South County Trailway

"Let me start off by saying there are two major/minor problems with the southern section:

1) The historical markers that appear where every station is/was are great, except for the last five stops they are nowhere to be seen as well as their markers.

2) Whereas the North County Trailway has mileage markers very frequently, the South County Trailway does NOT have any mileage markers. This is very confusing, especially when you are out all day biking from Carmel. You have no idea where you stand unless you know the mileage of the previous trail and how far it is to Yonkers. We knew that, but it is confusing.

Please read the review i posted on the Putnam Trailway and North County Trailway to see where I left off.

When the North Trailway ends at 20 miles (not 22.4), there's an east/west fork or you can go straight ahead. We went east and took the left trail and went down to street level and into the Con-Edison substation and tried to get back on the bridge since there was a fence in the middle of it.

Then we went back to the bridge and went west which took us down a trail in the woods where it turns to gravel, then past a small reservoir and ends at another reservoir across from Sunnyside Road. Now you're on the street and there's a parking lot with a reservoir in back and two dirt trails, one to the left and the other to the right. We were informed the one on the right went around the reservoir. We went left on the great dirt path through the woods. From the change in elevation we knew we were on an old rail bed but after 5 minutes it ended at a small metal train bridge that was out with a 30 foot drop. We went down the back way and around through an open field to follow it. We were now in Sleepy Hollow (as a sign said) and all in front was a 10-foot stone wall stretching the length of the road with barbed wire on it. The trail bed went maybe 50 feet and then stopped at the road. It was the wrong trail.

We wound up taking the main road toward Tarrytown and stopped at a Sewage Plant for directions. On our way to Tarrytown, we saw across the lake Marymount College on top of the hill. On the left was a bike route sign that we decided to take. (I remembered this trail when i took it in 1996 on my blades, not knowing what RTC was back then). The trail ended shortly at Sunnyside Road! We thought we had just entered a time warp. Gathering our thoughts we went back the opposite way on the trail and wound up at the orange fence on top of the bridge where the North County Trailway ended and saw the cutout in the fence allowing us to go through.

I do not know why the fence is there as the bridge is safe and the trail does continue.

The trail continues for a long while with no mileage markers and turns to gravel for at least 15 minutes. Then it gets smaller and passes a Coca-Cola bottling plant as well as Poland Springs and ends at a UPS facility. We exit on an access road and the old rail tracks continue at UPS where their fence rests on. We continue down the road and see a rock quarry and animal shelter. There is a fence and a rusted bulldozer where the trail starts up again but the ground is so overgrown that when you walk 100 feet to the end there are trees and Route 287. I believe it does go underneath 287.

We jump back on the access road, turn right and exit the corporate park where Route 9A (Saw Mill River Road) is and make a right going south toward Yonkers. The trail starts about .5 miles away at the intersection of Main Street and Route 9A. It's hard to find it because it's just a small access gate in an alley between two businesses. We found it by accident off 9A South as i saw a bike route sign. The trail continues on all paved roads and it's very scenic, passing old stations, lakes and streams and quietness.

The trail ends abrubtly on a downhill onto Barney Street. It's not much of a trailhead and the sudden shock of civilization hits you. There is an Italian restaurant in front of you with a nice courtyard and bar and it's a great stop for a strong cup of coffee and some free bar snacks. They said bikers rarely come in."

Elmsford to Eastview section

"This section is definitely bikable now, although there is some glass. From Tarrytown continue south. The trail narrows to a single track. Then the trail enters an industrial park. At this point take an exit road that hits 9A at the Westchester Skate Building. Bike on 9A for a couple of blocks and take a right on Payne. Then a left on Hayes. Hayes goes under 287 and leads to 119. At this point you can jump on the finished section of the South County trail.

This works quite well, and there is only street traffic for less than 1/2 mile on 9A. "

"Eastview to Warehouse Lane, Elmsford"

"On paper this trail starts in Eastview, but in theory it doesn't.

The section from Saw Mill River Road in Eastview to Warehouse Lane in Elmsford is currently divorced from the trail's main paved route - Route 119 in Elmsford to Barney Street in Yonkers.

You may travel from Eastview to Warehouse Lane on an unpaved surface as of this writing, but the route that you must take to connect with the main trail segment is quite busy with motor vehicles.

I suggest that if you want to travel on the ""divorced link"" do it in conjunction with a trip on the North County Trailway, which begins in Eastview and extends north into Putnam County."

Spring 2001 Review

"I biked the entire length of this trail on Sunday, 03/25/01. There is evidence of severe storm damage from this past winter in the form of missing pavement in two locations and fallen trees at trail side. However, the path is open and fully functional.

A wonderful trail for families as there are few road crossings and a very smooth paved surface.

Major disappointment: no dedicated parking area at either of the current trail termination points in Yonkers and Elmsford. Parking is available on side streets in both municipalities though."

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