Hilliness: The section between Goshen and Chester is flatter (around 150 to 200 vertical feet out and back, about 4.2 miles each way). The section between Chester and Monroe has more up and down (around 250 to 350 vertical feet, about 4.75 miles each way). The section between Monroe and Goshen done with return to start has about 400 to 550 vertical feet of climbing (hill index 1.6 for that section out and back).
No hills steeper than 2% grade.
Traffic -- on Trail: The trail itself is off-road, but it intersects with public roads or driveways at several points, some with high-speed vehicle traffic -- so special care is required in detecting, approaching, and crossing those.
For more detail about road crossings, see this report. The section between Chester and Monroe has much fewer such crossings than the section between Goshen and Chester.
Also, there can be lots of non-motorized users on the path: walkers, runners, skaters, bicyclists, etc -- sometimes at high speeds, sometimes oblivious to other users, sometimes not following rules or the directions of signs. Need to take seriously the risk of interactions and collisions with them.
Some trails, roads, intersections might be different since then, or closed. Or some directions or maps might be incorrect. So be prepared to find alternatives -- a good reason to carry a detailed map. Other people may have more recent experiences with some changes which could help prepare: see the Reports page linked below.
more . . .
By car to Monroe, NY: Take Route 17 to exit 130 (Monroe, Route 208 South). Go south on Route 208. Very soon there will be a sign for "Village of Monroe". Turn Right just at or before that sign onto an unsigned road (Orange-Rockland Rd) and go 0.3 miles. On the Left side is Park & Ride lot B, and the rail trail starts there.
Warning: On weekdays parking in this lot is usually not permitted except for those with a special parking permit, so you may need to find another place to park.
Route 17 can be reached from New York State Thruway exit 16, Harriman.
From East-bound on Route 17, it may be possible to reach this Park & Ride by taking Exit 129 and continuing straight past the overpass 0.4 miles.
This Park & Ride lot can also be reached from Route 17M, either 0.7 mile northwest from the end of Route 208, or 0.2 mile southeast from Museum Village.
By car to Goshen, NY: Rail trail start is on St James Place between South Church St and Green St. Parking on the west side of St James Place. Take the New York State Thruway to exit 16 (Harriman). Take Route 17 West about 13-14 miles to exit 124 for Goshen / Route 17A / Route 207. Take Route 207 East (Greenwich Ave) in a northeast direction for about 0.8 mile. At a traffic light for a complex intersection (just before a big church steeple and the historic race track), turn full Right onto South Church St and go about 0.1 mile. Turn Right onto St James Place and go about 0.1 mile to meet the rail trail. Turn Right into parking lot.
Alternate start point, Chester, NY: Access to rail trail near the intersection of Howland St, Greycourt, and Winkler Place. (these directions not checked): From NY Thruway exit 16, take Route 17 West about 10 miles to exit 126 for Chester / Route 94. Go east on Route 94 North, following brown signs for "Historic Chester". After about 0.4 mile, turn Left onto Main Street / Route 94 North. After about 0.3 mile, turn Right to stay on Main St (while Route 94 goes straight). Go about 0.3 mile. Turn Right, then a quick Left onto Winkler Place and go about 0.1 mile to the old Chester railroad depot.
By train?: Not recommended. The Park & Ride lot in Monroe is about 6 miles from the Harriman station on the Metro North Port Jervis line. But this likely requires riding on high-speed and high-traffic roads, whose shoulder and lane width / quality are unknown to us at this time.
info on this page not checked by us since 2001 --