"I expected much more than I actually encountered when I biked the main segment of this trail during a seasonable and sunny early spring day. Perhaps the nearby and very highly rated Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and the Wallkill Valley Railroad Company Trail had both spoiled me. Regardless of the underlying reasons for my disappointment, this trail is in dire need of attention.
I located ample parking near the Shawangunk Public Library and Town Park near Railroad Avenue. I began my ride at the main segment trailhead on Route 208 in Shawangunk (directly across from the Shawangunk Police Station) and headed south.
For the first mile or so, everything looked exceptionally good. The trail was a very level double-tracked ballast surface, foliage had been cut back along the route, and with the exception of one adjacent industrial neighbor (a school bus storage yard), the route was lined with nicely kept farms and beautiful homes. I saw no signs of illegal dumping during my first mile out, but I did note evidence of ATV and dirt bike use even though prominently posted signs warn that their use is prohibited. I encountered no public street crossings for my first 1.5 miles out of Shawangunk. There were two private access roads that crossed the trail though.
At about the 1.5-mile mark, trail conditions deteriorated quickly. Standing water became a huge problem as did mud, signs of illegal dumping (including loads of broken glass), and thorn-heavy foliage not cut back from the trail. The trail surface at this point changed from ballast to medium-weight gravel and dirt.
At about the 2.0-mile mark I ran into the first and only public street crossing. Instead of erecting gates to keep unauthorized vehicles off of the trail at this access point, the town has chosen instead to dump two huge piles of dirt. It’s no fun carrying a bicycle up and over a huge mud pile, but I plodded on.
From this street crossing south to the trail’s current terminus in Walden, you basically travel on an active creek bed. Downed trees blocking the trail were commonplace. I’m glad that the bike I was riding that day had disc brakes; v-brakes would have offered zero stopping power in light of all the water I had encountered. The surrounding area along this trail segment is heavily wooded. With the exception of continued evidence of illegal dumping, there are no additional signs of civilization until you reach the remnants of what once was a elevated street crossing in Walden. The trail effectively ends at this point.
There is a 1.0-mile long trail segment that extends from Railroad Avenue and C.E. Penny Drive in Wallkill north to Birch Road and River Road in Wallkill I didn’t travel along this branch route but I did note from my automobile that it was loaded with standing water as well.
I will not return to this trail until I am aware that improvements have been implemented, most notably something done about the drainage situation. Mud is fun sometimes, but it gets tedious after a while."