For those who enjoy breathtaking views and fresh air, a local trail is partially open along the Ashokan Reservoir beginning in fall 2019.
The Ashokan Rail Trail (ART) is 10-12 feet wide with a flat surface. The ART is for walking, hiking, bicycling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. It is ADA accessible for people with disabilities. The trail has three major trailheads, which are the Woodstock Dike Trailhead, the Ashokan Station Trailhead (under construction), and the Boiceville Bridge Trailhead (under construction). The trail is 11.5 miles finished and 2.5 miles still under construction.
The development of the Ashokan Rail Trail is the result of a partnership between Ulster County and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. The trail is located along the edge of the Ashokan Reservoir between Basin Road in West Hurley and Route 28A in Boiceville, passing the Esopus Creek and the Bluestone Wild Forest.
“This strategic investment enhances our reputation as one of the most trail-friendly counties in New York State and will accelerate economic growth linked to our expanding tourism industry,” says Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “Crowds have already been flocking to the Ashokan Rail Trail since it opened to the public for the first time in over 100 years on October 18, and the reaction to this scenic trail has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The ART opened in its entirety to the public in December 2019 from sunrise to sunset year-round. The trail is a preservation site for local history, allowing visitors to experience places such as the abandoned Ulster & Delaware Railroad and remaining markers of the West Hurley railroad station, which was built in 1902 and deconstructed in 1967.
As for rules to keep in mind when visiting the Hudson Valley trail, the Ashokan Reservoir area allows dogs with the stipulation that they remain on leashes and that owners clean up after them. Hunting equipment can be carried on the trail, but never used on or near it. For organized events, permits are available. Usage of illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and electronic cigarettes is prohibited, as is littering.