2006-2009 Reports on Westchester County Trailways
Here is an update. A friend of mine actually wanted to walk the trail on Thursday, so I have some more information.
New York City maintains the unpaved trail from the Mosholu Golf Course Clubhouse to the Yonkers City line (all within Van Cortlandt Park). While the railroads ties have not been removed, there is enough space alongside the rails to allow biking. The condition of the trail was fine, but it may stay wet for a while after inclement weather. There were horse hoof prints along the trail. There is ample parking in the clubhouse parking lot. Entry to the lot can be accessed from the intersection of W240th St (also called Van Cortldadt Park South), Balley Avenue. The access road doubles as the access road to the entrance to the Major Deegan (I-87) southbound.
Westchester County graded and paved the section from the New York City Line to Redmond Part (off Cook Avenue). Paved access to the trail is located at the south and north ends of Tibbetts Brook Park. Makeshift access is also possible at the foot of the pedestrian bridge that spans the Saw Mill River Parkway (near the swimming pool). (There is parking available at Tibbetts Park, but a parking fee is in effect during the Summer season.) To access the trail from the Redmond Park, turn into the park from Cook Avenue and at the end of the small downhill turn left and proceed to the parking lot.
This section can also be accessed from two other points. The first is from Yonkers Avenue (which requires climbing some stairs. There is no parking at Yonkers Avenue. The second is a grade-level entrance at Harrison Avenue. Dirt parking along the west side of the road is available. (The east side of the road imposes permit parking.) To get to the access point, go to the light at Mclean Avenue and Tibbetts Road (just east of the Saw Mill River Parkway and proceed down Tibbetts Road north towards Tibbetts Park. At Alan Sheppard Place, turn left and proceed to Harrison Avenue (one block).
The trail between Redmond Park and Tuckahoe road is in quite poor condition. There is one washout; in some places you have to ride over the railroad ties; and in some places the trail is quite muddy. There are also a number of downed trees that block the trail. Only diehard mountain bikers should attempt this section.
To get from Tuckahoe Avenue to Redmond Park, do the following.
Turn down and proceed down the hill on Tuckahoe Avenue for one block to the light. Turn right onto the curvey Mile Square Road. A little after the hill peaks you will come to a fork. Bear left to stay on Mile Square Road. After the fork you will pass a traffic light (Palmer Avenue) and soon you will pass the unmaintained trail. You will immediately come to a second fork. Bear left at the fork and proceed down Cook Avenue, which at first is flat. You will come to a decline. At the bottom of the decline you will find the park entrance on your right.
Traveling from Redmond Park to Tuckahoe Road is easier becuase you just keep going in the same direction at the two forks.
Here is the current state of the bikeway south of Farragut Parkway.
The county paved the route from Faragut Parkway to Tuckahoe Road (Yonkers). The county also paved the route from Mile Square Road to the New York City border. The only part that is not complete is the section between Mile Square Road and Tuckahoe Road. The section between these two points follows the former Putnam Railroad line and as such can be traversed as follows.
1) The section between Mile Square Road and Palmer Road is in fair shape.
2) The section between Palmer Palmer and Tuckahoe Road is in poor shape due to significant drainage problems.
3) There is a commercial parking lot at Tuckahoe Road that took over a part of the railroad right of way. The parking lot is at a lower grade level than the railroad right of way with no easy way of getting from one level to the other.
When heading south, one can turn left and bike one block down Tuckahoe Road and turn right onto Mile Square Road and return to the paved trail where it crosses Mile Square Road. WHen heading north, you turn left onto Mile Square Road and turn right at Tuckahoe Road. Tuckahoe Road is a 4 lane main route but covers only a short distance. Mile Square Road is a two lane road that is widely traveled but that has little truck traffic. Whichever way you are headed, you will encounter an incline when you reach the intersection of Tuckahoe and Mile Square Roads. The northbound incline is short but steep. The southbound incline is longer in distance and involves a greater change in elevation. Neither would be suitable for young children.
I rode from Columbus Circle in Manhattan to Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown on November 11, 2007 via the Hudson River Greenway on Manhattan's West Side, Old Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park, South County Trail and finally Old Sleepy Hollow Road.
The Old Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park is mostly packed dirt, however there were many muddy stretches on the trail and large stones and partially buried railroad ties made for treacherous riding for the road bikes. I can't give a wholehearted recommendation for cyclists with skinny tires to use this trail to reach the beginning of the South County Trail. If you do, tread slowly and gingerly, and walk your bike if you need to, otherwise you'll likely end up with a flat. Look out for fallen branches as there were a few on the trail. Otherwise, it's a beautiful stretch of path and you're hard pressed to remember you're in the middle of the Bronx and not some upstate wilderness area.
The South County Trail from the NYC line north is mostly gorgeous riding, and the Maple tree leaves were a riot of sunsplashed yellow color. From the NYC line, the trail is complete until you reach Redmond Park, where you must exit the rail and do a little bit of road cycling. The route previously reported Clifford is simple and straightforward. More adventurous types who would like to try using the unfinished missing section of the trail between Redmond Park and Tuckahoe Road will be blocked by fallen trees.
The section of the South County Trail from Tuckahoe Road to Elmsford is also some fine scenic trail riding. The finished trail still ends in Elmsford at Route 119 and you have still have to do a short stretch of road cycling to Warehouse Road. After the serene and sheltered cycling on the Trail, bridging the unfinished section of trail in Elmsford on the busy streets is jarring: N. Central Avenue/Saw Mill River Road is a heavily traveled artery which does not have a very wide right of way or shoulders and crosses a major highway interchange, so use caution as you travel between Route 119 and Warehouse Road to get back on the Trail.
I then exited the South County Trail at Bedford Road/Route 117 and traveled west, turning left on Route 448/Beech Hill Road and then immediate right onto Old Sleepy Hollow Road, a lightly traveled two lane back road that goes through Rockefeller State Park and ends up at Sleepy Hollow. The road is gorgeous and passes by stately homes and bucolic landscapes -it is one of my favorite stretches of country riding. The fall colors were magnificent and many leaves were still green, so I expect that there are perhaps a couple more weeks of color before all the this year's late autumn color show is finished.
I thought this might be helpful because I can now tell people how to bridge the missing part of the South County trailway.
Yesterday a few friends, my wife and I explored the whole length of the South County Trailway. It is almost complete. There is a two mile section between RH Redmond Park and Tuckahoe road that is not complete. There northern section that connects the South County Trailway to the North County Trailway is also not complete.
Traveling the missing sections –
North from RH Redmond Park to Tuckahoe Road –
Near the end of the completed, paved trailway take the path down to Redmond Park. Go Southeast to the exit on the opposite side of the park. Make a left turn onto Cook Avenue. Cook Avenue becomes Mile Square Road. Continue on Mile Square Road until it ends at Tuckahoe Road. Turn left onto Tuckahoe Road, then make the first right onto Touissant Avenue. After a few hundred feet Touissant Avenue forks to the left. After another fifty feet there will be a path on your left down to the newly completed section of the South County Trailway.
South from Tuckahoe Road (actually Touissant Avenue) to RH Redmond park.
At the end of the paved section of the trailway there will be a path up to Touissant Avenue. Make a right on Touissant and ride a few hundred feet onto Tuckahoe Road. Ride another few hundred feet. Mile Square Road is the next road to your right. Turn right onto Mile Square Road. Go up the steep hill and continue on Mile Square Road. At some point (a gas station) Mile Square Road forks to the left. Remain on Mile Square Road past Palmer Road. In a few blocks bear right onto Cook Avenue. Follow Cook Avenue another few blocks to the entrance of RH Redmond Park. Enter the park. Go to the Northwest corner of the park opposite the entrance and follow the path onto the South County Trailway.
The paved trailway continues to Van Cortland Park at the Bronx border. The trail through Van Cortland Park is not paved but is hard packed soil and is rideable on a bicycle.
On the South Country Trailway page it says:
On May 31 2007 my wife and I found the South County Trail paved from Redmond Park along Cook Ave in Yonkers to the Westchester border at Van Cortland Park in the Bronx. The trail is unpaved in Van Cortland Park.
The text should probably now read:
I hope this is helpful
KenR, September 2006: South County Trailway conditions
Sharon + Tony + I started at the 242nd + Broadway #1 subway station in the Bronx. Entered Van Cortlandt Park and rode roughly east about 0.25 mile on a wide paved sidewalk which briefly turned to dirt and soon took us to the parking lot and a building for the golf course by the south end of Van Cortlandt Lake.
Some other paved trailway continued east, but we turned north onto an unpaved trail which immediately crossed a bridge along the west side of the south end of the obvious lake. This trail very straight, sometimes wider, sometimes narrower -- and mostly OK for us to ride our bicycles (though I doubt I'd want to do it the day after a rainstorm) and we rode on it about 1.75 mile until it became paved, which was around the southern border of Westchester county with New York City.
We continued north on nice pavement, but then encountered a creek with water in it, but the paved trailway did not cross it. Instead there was a partly-constructed bridge that looked kinda difficult to cross.
Later we got back on the trailway's route, and most of it was dirt and later there were lots of big tree branches blocking the way and it got very difficult, so we rode north on some roads.
Near the northwest corner of the intersection of Tuckahoe Rd and Touissant Av we found the trailway was paved again, and we followed South County Trailway north on nice smooth asphalt, with some intersections with motor vehicle roads and driveways, to the Farragut Av parking lot, then on further north to meet Tarrytown Rd / Rt 119. We went east on Tarrytown Rd a short ways past the traffic light to a nice bakery in Elmsford for lunch.
From Elmsford we rode north on the public motor vehicle roads -- Vreeland Av and other streets, including a short section along high-traffic Rt 9A to the traffic light for Warehouse Lane. Turned Left (west) on Warehouse Lane, and just before its end found the next section of South County Trailway. (We also looked for a trailway connection between Rt 119 and Warehouse Lane, but that's still missing).
Road north on the paved trailway up the hill and the nice bridge over the Saw Mill River Parkway. Instead of continuing onto North County Trailway, we turned Left (west), up and over a little hill to the Eastview Park & Ride.
From the Eastview Park & Ride, we crossed west over Neperan Rd (extension of Rt 100C) onto another paved trailway -- Tarrytown Lakes extension -- up a little hill and alongside a pretty lake and rode west on this to its end on nice asphalt.
new pavement sections on South County Trailway in 2006, south between Farragut Parkway and the New York City Bronx boundary.
August 2006: see discussion on NYC.bicycles under the subject "N/S Trailway to Croton, OCA Back"
July 2006: see discussion on NYC.bicycles under the subject "S. County Trailway Extended"
Chris, June 2006: North-South connection
Rode from Barney Street to Route 119 on June 9, 2006 and the section from Route 119 to Warehouse Lane remains missing. According to the latest map from Westchester County Parks, a detour route is in the design stage.