Hudson Valley Rail Trail In New York

Here is everything you need to know about the Hudson Valley Rail Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New York
  • Length: 3.6 miles.
  • Type: Biking
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association
  • Permit Required?: Yes.
  • Website:

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail, located in Ulster County, New York, has a rich historical background that dates back to the mid-19th century. Originally known as the Wallkill Valley Railroad, this rail line was constructed in 1866 to connect the towns of Kingston and New Paltz. The railroad played a crucial role in the region’s transportation and economic development, facilitating the movement of goods, people, and resources.

During its peak years, the Wallkill Valley Railroad served as a vital link between the Hudson River and the agricultural communities of the Wallkill Valley. It transported a variety of products, including dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and cement, contributing significantly to the local economy. The rail line also played a crucial role in connecting the region’s residents to larger cities, such as New York City, fostering trade and commerce.

However, with the rise of the automobile and the decline of rail travel in the mid-20th century, the Wallkill Valley Railroad faced challenges. The decline in demand led to the eventual closure of the rail line in 1977. Recognizing the historical significance of the railroad, efforts were made to preserve and repurpose the rail corridor for recreational use.

In 1991, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association was formed, aiming to transform the abandoned rail line into a multi-use recreational trail. Through the dedication and hard work of volunteers, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail was officially opened in 1993. Today, the trail spans approximately 22 miles, offering a scenic route for walkers, joggers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts. It serves as a reminder of the region’s rich transportation history and provides a valuable recreational resource for both locals and visitors alike.

While On The Trail

Access Points

Info not available.

Transportation Available

1. Metro-North Railroad – Commuter train service connecting Hudson Valley to New York City.
2. Trailways Bus – Intercity bus service with various routes in the Hudson Valley region.
3. Dutchess County Public Transit – Local bus service operating in Dutchess County.
4. Ulster County Area Transit – Local bus service operating in Ulster County.
5. Poughkeepsie Train Station – Train station located in Poughkeepsie, serving Metro-North and Amtrak.
6. Stewart International Airport – Regional airport located in New Windsor, offering domestic and international flights.
7. Taxis and Rideshare Services – Various taxi companies and rideshare services available in the area.
8. Car Rental Agencies – Several car rental agencies located in the Hudson Valley region.


The amenities available at the Hudson Valley Rail Trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, including at the trailhead and other designated areas.

2. Parking: There are multiple parking lots available for visitors to park their vehicles. These parking lots are located at different access points along the trail.

3. Camping Sites: While camping is not allowed directly on the rail trail, there are nearby campgrounds and parks where visitors can set up their tents or RVs for overnight stays. Some popular camping options in the Hudson Valley region include Clarence Fahnestock State Park and Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack. These areas often have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles for convenience.

5. Bike Rentals: If you don’t have your own bike, there are bike rental services available near the trailhead. These services allow visitors to rent bicycles for a specified period, enabling them to explore the trail.

6. Dog-Friendly: The Hudson Valley Rail Trail is dog-friendly, allowing visitors to bring their furry friends along for a walk or run. However, dogs must be kept on a leash and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

7. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there are interpretive signs that provide information about the history, nature, and points of interest along the route. These signs offer educational opportunities for visitors.

8. Benches and Seating Areas: There are benches and seating areas placed at regular intervals along the trail, providing spots for visitors to rest, relax, and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

9. Water Fountains: There are water fountains available at certain points along the trail, allowing visitors to stay hydrated during their journey.

10. Bike Repair Stations: The trail features bike repair stations equipped with basic tools and air pumps. These stations are useful for minor bike repairs or adjustments.

Please note that amenities may vary depending on the specific section of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail you are visiting. It is always recommended to check the official website or contact the trail management for the most up-to-date information on amenities and facilities.

Nearby Services

1. Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel – Conveniently located near the trail, this hotel offers comfortable accommodations for visitors.
2. River Station Restaurant – A popular eatery with a diverse menu, perfect for a meal after a long hike on the trail.
3. Holiday Inn Express Poughkeepsie – This hotel provides a convenient stay option for trail visitors, with modern amenities and friendly service.
4. Lola’s Café – A cozy café offering delicious breakfast and lunch options, ideal for a quick bite before hitting the trail.
5. Quality Inn & Suites – Located close to the trail, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast.
6. Gourmet Pizza – A local pizza joint serving up delicious pies and other Italian favorites, perfect for a post-trail meal.
7. Best Western Plus – This hotel offers comfortable rooms and a range of amenities, making it a great choice for trail visitors.
8. Hyde Park Brewing Company – A popular brewery and restaurant, offering craft beers and tasty pub fare near the trail.
9. Roosevelt Inn – A charming bed and breakfast located near the trail, providing a cozy and relaxing stay option.
10. MidHudson Regional Hospital – A nearby hospital providing emergency medical services for any unforeseen incidents on the trail.

Hudson Valley Rail Trail Difficulty Notes

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for individuals of various fitness levels. The trail spans approximately 18 miles, providing a diverse terrain that includes both flat sections and gentle inclines. While some parts of the trail may require a bit more effort, overall, it is a manageable and enjoyable experience for hikers, bikers, and runners. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, ensuring ease of navigation. Whether you are seeking a leisurely stroll or a more challenging workout, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail offers a balanced difficulty level that caters to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

Features And Attractions

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail offers a variety of scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and other attractions along its route. Here are some notable points of interest:

1. Walkway Over the Hudson: This iconic pedestrian bridge spans the Hudson River, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding valley.

2. Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge: This historic bridge is now part of the rail trail and provides panoramic views of the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape.

3. Black Creek Wetlands: A beautiful natural area with wetlands, marshes, and diverse wildlife. It’s a great spot for birdwatching and nature photography.

4. Rosendale Trestle: This towering trestle bridge is an impressive sight along the trail, offering scenic views of the Rondout Creek and the surrounding forested hills.

5. New Paltz: The trail passes through the charming town of New Paltz, known for its historic buildings, quaint shops, and vibrant dining scene.

6. Historic Huguenot Street: Located in New Paltz, this National Historic Landmark District features well-preserved stone houses dating back to the early 18th century.

7. Mohonk Preserve: Although not directly on the rail trail, the Mohonk Preserve is nearby and offers stunning hiking trails, rock formations, and scenic overlooks.

8. Esopus Meadows Preserve: Situated along the Hudson River, this preserve features diverse habitats, including tidal marshes, woodlands, and riverfront trails.

9. Kingston Point Park: Located in Kingston, this park offers beautiful views of the Hudson River, a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a lighthouse.

10. Saugerties Lighthouse: A historic lighthouse located at the mouth of the Esopus Creek, offering picturesque views and a glimpse into the region’s maritime history.

These are just a few highlights along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail. Exploring the trail will provide you with many more scenic and historical attractions to discover.

Usage Guidelines

1. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Bicycles and rollerblades are allowed on the trail, but must yield to pedestrians.
4. Motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs, are not permitted on the trail.
5. No camping or overnight stays are allowed on the trail.
6. Fires and open flames are strictly prohibited.
7. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
8. Littering is prohibited; please use designated trash receptacles.
9. Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
10. Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property adjacent to the trail.
11. Use caution and be aware of your surroundings, as the trail crosses roads at various points.
12. Be considerate of other trail users and maintain a safe and respectful environment for all.

Seasonal Information

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering a scenic pathway through the beautiful Hudson Valley region in New York. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are particularly ideal for visiting.

One of the best times to explore the Hudson Valley Rail Trail is during the spring season, from April to June. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant blossoms and lush greenery, creating a picturesque backdrop for your walk or bike ride. The weather is generally mild and pleasant, making it comfortable to spend hours exploring the trail and taking in the stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Another great time to visit the Hudson Valley Rail Trail is in the fall, from September to November. As the leaves change colors, the trail transforms into a breathtaking display of autumn hues. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an enjoyable time for outdoor activities, such as hiking or jogging along the trail. Fall also brings harvest festivals and farmers’ markets to the region, allowing visitors to experience the local flavors and culture of the Hudson Valley.

It’s important to note that the Hudson Valley Rail Trail may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, from December to February, some sections of the trail may be closed due to snow or icy conditions. It’s always recommended to check the trail’s official website or contact the local authorities for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions.

Overall, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail offers a year-round escape into nature, with each season bringing its own unique charm. Whether you prefer the vibrant blooms of spring, the colorful foliage of fall, or the tranquility of a winter wonderland, there’s always a perfect time to visit and enjoy the beauty of this scenic trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Accessible Trail Entrance: A ramp or level access point at the trail entrance for wheelchair users.
3. Smooth and Paved Surface: The trail is paved and provides a smooth surface for wheelchair users.
4. Wide Pathways: The trail is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and allows for easy passing.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail for wheelchair users to rest.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
7. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options for wheelchair users.
8. Signage with Braille: Trail signs and information boards include Braille for visually impaired individuals.
9. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at a suitable height for wheelchair users to access.
10. Accessible Trail Maps: Trail maps available in accessible formats such as large print or digital versions.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated paths: Stick to the marked trails to avoid potential hazards and ensure your safety.
2. Be aware of cyclists: Share the trail with cyclists and be mindful of their presence to prevent accidents.
3. Keep pets on a leash: Leash your pets to maintain control and prevent them from running onto the trail or disturbing others.
4. Use caution at road crossings: Exercise caution when crossing roads along the trail, obey traffic signals, and look out for vehicles.
5. Stay hydrated: Bring water with you to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or longer walks.
6. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose comfortable and sturdy footwear to prevent slips, trips, or falls on uneven surfaces.
7. Be cautious in low-light conditions: Use reflective gear or carry a flashlight when walking or cycling during dawn, dusk, or nighttime.
8. Respect wildlife and nature: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their habitats or leaving litter behind.
9. Report any suspicious activity: If you notice any suspicious behavior or emergencies, report it to the appropriate authorities.
10. Follow COVID-19 guidelines: Adhere to any current guidelines or restrictions related to the pandemic, such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Conservation Notes

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail, located in Ulster County, New York, is a significant conservation area that plays a crucial role in preserving the region’s natural resources and biodiversity. The trail spans approximately 4 miles and is managed by the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association in collaboration with local authorities and conservation organizations.

Conservation efforts along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail focus on protecting and enhancing the area’s diverse ecosystems. The trail passes through a variety of habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, and meadows, which support a wide range of plant and animal species. These habitats provide essential breeding grounds, foraging areas, and shelter for numerous wildlife species, including migratory birds, amphibians, and small mammals.

To ensure the conservation of these habitats, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association implements various measures. These include regular monitoring and maintenance of the trail to minimize human impact on the surrounding environment. Additionally, invasive species management programs are in place to control the spread of non-native plants that can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem.

The conservation status of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail is considered to be in good condition. Ongoing efforts to protect and restore the natural habitats along the trail have resulted in the preservation of important ecological features. The trail also serves as an educational resource, providing opportunities for visitors to learn about the local flora and fauna and the importance of conservation. By promoting responsible use and stewardship of the trail, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association ensures that this valuable conservation area remains protected for future generations to enjoy.

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