New Paltz South : Rail Trail + Roads

Route on both quiet Roads and on 
the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

  • where:  south side of New Paltz, NY -- along the Wallkill River in Ulster County.

  • 17 miles.  Mostly flat, except for one hill on the rail trail and one on the roads.  Half on an unpaved "rail trail" mostly off-road, the other half on quiet roads.  

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Another option is to do it all on the rail trail, both out and return -- about 16 miles off-road.

A) rail trail south fr New Paltz [bhvw12a] map on Bikely | KML | GPX

B) roads back north to New Paltz [bhvw12b] map on Bikely | KML | GPX

v) Wallkill + horse farm variation [bhvw12v] map on Bikely | KML | GPX

GPX file with all tracks on one map 

  • options for route

For a 30 mile route which adds some pretty riding along the river, a visit to the village of Wallkill, and a rather nice horse farm, try out the Wallkill - Horse Farm variation, which starts at the southern end of the rail trail.  The additional 13 miles are all on roads, and there are some more hills.

Or for more miles on the rail trail, combine this route with the New Paltz North - Rail Trail route, for a total of 32 miles, mostly flat. 

see also: 
 - [ more routes around New Paltz
 - [ Map of Gentler Places around New Paltz ] - [ other Gentler Places
 - [ other Shorter routes

  • highlights:  riding on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, an abandoned railroad bed which is unpaved but firm -- a quiet trail mostly off-road.  And also riding on some quiet roads with few cars.  The route of the railroad gives a special viewpoint on the houses and farms -- and also views of the Shawangunk ridge.  There are choices of food along the way in the town of Gardiner, and return to the variety of entertainments in New Paltz.  

  • characteristics -- rail trail:  For one mile of its distance, it climbs at a 2% grade.  The rest is pretty close to flat.

The railroad bed is unpaved but firm, and mostly flat.  Wider tires are recommended, say at least 1.25 inch.  As long as conditions are dry, there is usually not much need for a large tread pattern or "knobby" tires -- and smoother tires will enable you to go faster and easier on the road sections. 

Two ways that an unpaved rail trail is different from a paved public car road:   (1) If it has rained recently, sections of the rail trail could be soft and muddy -- which means that it may be difficult to ride, and it would not be surprising if you ended up with lots of mud sprayed off the wheels onto your clothing, and (2) Without regular road maintenance, it can be more likely for various unexpected obstacles to arise, which might call for getting off the bike and walking for a section.

Traffic:  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. 

Also, there can be 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. 

  • characteristics -- roads:  Flat or gentle, except for one hill 100 vertical feet at a 5% grade.  Not much car traffic (unless the Rt 208 variation is taken). 

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more . . . 

see [ Map for Driving

By car from South or North:  NY Thruway to exit 18 (Poughkeepsie / New Paltz).  From the exit, turn Left onto Rt 299 West, which is Main St of the village of New Paltz.

By car from the East:  Rt 44 West across the Mid-Hudson Bridge, then Rt 9W North a couple of miles, and take Rt 299 to New Paltz.

The start of the route is just after Main St (Rt 299) crosses Rt 32 (Chestnut St) at a traffic light -- between the Wallkill River bridge and Rt 32.

GPS latitude-longitude = N41.7468,W74.0893 = 41.7468,-74.0893  [on Google Maps]

Parking:  There are lots of options in New Paltz.  What usually works for us is to park about three or four blocks from the Wallkill River bridge, somewhere north of Main St.  Then ride west on Front St / Lenape Lane and/or south on Huguenot St to reach the starting point.

Other starting point:   Gardiner (on Route 44).

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Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

The Rail Trail is supported by the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association

For lots more info about this Rail Trail, see:


and More . . . 

  • concept:  The nice thing about basing the route on a rail trail is that it allows riders with little desire (or little capability) to handle the complexities and risks of motorized traffic a way to tailor their route to the degree of traffic-handling they feel comfortable with.  You can do the route going out off-road, and then try out some roads on the way back -- which typically makes the return faster.  But it you find you're not comfortable riding on the roads, you can return to the nearest point where the rail trail crosses the road.  

This route can also help you decide what you prefer for future rides -- more off road or more on the roads.
 

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