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Bike, Run, or Walk Your Way Along the Hudson Valley’s Rail Trails

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The Walkway Over the Hudson is part of the Dutchess Rail Trail. Wikimedia Commons / Juliancolton

Take a break from the day to unwind during a scenic trek along the rail trails that wind their way along glistening lakes and over local hillsides.

Scenic waters and lush woods make the Hudson Valley a prominent place for escape and adventure. While steep hikes and daring cliffs are favorites for viewing the region’s breathtaking panoramas, sometimes even the greatest adventure seekers seek more relaxing meanders. Luckily for Hudson Valley residents, there are a variety of different rail trails to take a tranquil journey through nature.

Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

Albany to Voorheesville

Albany County residents can venture outdoors to enjoy the peaceful terrain on this rail trail. This south-of-Albany trail runs nine miles through the county’s suburbs; keep an eye out for deer, turkeys, or even bald eagles flying overhead. Walkers can journey to Bethlehem Veterans Memorial Park for a quick rest and then hop back on the trail to Delmar to be greeted by a nature mural painted by local artists.

Ashokan Rail Trail

Boiceville to West Hurley

This new rail trail, which debuted in 2019, brings visitors along 11.5 miles of the beautiful Ashokan Reservoir. Learn the history of the area on the trail and discover the importance of the Ashokan Reservoir’s role in supplying New York City with water. Ulster County residents are lucky to have a stunning water backdrop for their daily workout. Walking, running, and biking are all great activities to perform on this flat crushed stone trail, which is open year-round.

Dutchess Rail Trail

Hopewell Junction to Poughkeepsie

For a relaxing stroll, come walk on this paved 13-mile rail trail. The William R. Steinhaus Duchess Rail Trail is a great balance between naturally shaded areas, sunny private bridges, and echoey tunnels. Take a familiar walk, run, or bike through Hopewell, Wappingers, Red Oaks Mill, and Poughkeepsie on a journey to reach the beloved Walkway Over the Hudson. With a smoothly paved road on one side and a dirt path on the other, visitors can choose their preferred terrain to travel.

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Hudson Valley Rail Trail

Poughkeepsie to New Paltz

Linking up with the Duchess Rail Trail, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail is a beautiful walk from Duchess to Ulster County. Visitors can begin their walk at elevation with a cool breeze as boats sail underneath them. The path looks down the river on the 1.5-mile Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. Upon stepping off the bridge, walkers can continue into Ulster County for another four miles of paved road, unique boulder outcroppings, and lush forest. Go it alone or bring a friend (a furry friend counts) on this beautiful trail.

Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Wassaic to Hillsdale

While 15.7 miles of trail are currently open eventually the Harlem Valley Rail Trail will boast over 26 miles of paved walking area. Following the former Upper Harlem Line of the Penn Central Railroad, walkers can observe relics of the past, like once-busy rail stations. For nature lovers, the trail is home to local wildlife like deer, beavers, ducks, and foxes.

Orange Heritage Trail Way

Goshen to Harriman

Orange Heritage Trail way is a windy, 14-mile expanse that’s easy to find, but hard to leave. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, especially native birds, as the trail passes through a wildlife sanctuary containing streams and meadows as far as the eye can see. The road is paved, making it a perfect location for a bike ride, rollerblade journey, or skate session.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

Wallkill to Kingston

The former Wallkill Valley Railroad line is now a great historical walking path which runs for over 22 miles. Trekkers can traverse through Gardiner, New Paltz, Rosendale, and Ulster to end up in Kingston for a much-deserved bite to eat. While on the trail, locals can observe the Hudson Valley’s farms or take a short break to explore any of the towns through which the trail runs.

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