Two Rides on the Hudson Valley Greenway

With such a warm, sunny summer, PTNY staff have been enjoying their time exploring parks and trails around the state. Last month, Dylan Carey, PTNY Greenway Trail Program Director, took two days to bicycle two sections of the Empire State Trail’s Hudson Valley Greenway Trail.

The rides will help with the promotion plan for the PTNY’s upcoming Cycling the Hudson and Champlain Valleys guidebook, and to scout out locations for PTNY’s upcoming 2023 Cycle the Hudson Valley bike tour.

Kingston to New Paltz (20 miles)

I started the first trip on the north side of Kingston, at a new parking area for the Hudson River Brickyard Trail in East Kingston. From there, I headed south through the newly established Sojourner Truth State Park. This park is largely still under construction, with only the Brickyard Trail and a few other shorter trails open for public use. However, the trail was an enjoyable ride, passing by the remnants of former brickmaking and ice harvesting industries, and with views of the Hudson River available throughout. The roughly 1.5-mile stretch is paved with very minor rolling hills until the end, when the pavement gives way to a few hundred feet of gravel. Riders will need to take to the sidewalk at the gated entrance to the private, luxury Hutton Brickyards camp facility.

Past the end of the Brickyard Trail, the Empire State Trail follows city streets through Kingston’s Ponck Hockie/Kingston Point neighborhood. Streets through this area were very low traffic, with good quality paved surfaces. The most significant place for caution is along East Strand Street, where railroad tracks used by the Trolley Museum of New York cross the road at an angle. For cyclists, it’s always safest to cross railroad tracks at as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. The Empire State Trail is also unfinished through this section, while Phase 2 of the Kingston Point Rail Trail is currently in design. The safest option is to walk your bike on the sidewalk that rises to meet U.S. Route 9W.

At Garraghan Drive, the Kingston Point Rail Trail begins. This roughly 1-mile long paved trail gains about 150 feet in elevation out of the Rondout Creek valley, and curves through city streets, including on a bridge over Route 9W and then through a short brick tunnel that passes under Delaware Avenue. The trail ends at Foxhall Avenue, and the ride continues on city streets for the next 2.5 miles. Of note are two separated cycle-tracks that provide for safe, convenient cycling - one on Broadway, and the second on Greenkill Avenue. The Greenkill Avenue Cycle Track ends at a busy, confusing intersection with traffic entering from multiple directions. The Empire State Trail runs along NYS Route 32 (to the left of the Stewart’s Shops). This section runs along a fairly busy roadway with little space provided for cyclists, and is only appropriate for advanced cyclists comfortable riding with traffic.

Wallkill Valley Rail TrailThe majority of the ride followed the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, a 21.5-mile stone-dust surface trail that runs from Kingston south past New Paltz into the town of Gardiner. Roughly 13 miles is part of the Empire State Trail; from New Paltz south, the trail is not part of the EST route. Three main attractions stand out from the northern half of the trail. The first is the Binnewater area, where numerous remains of former Rosendale Natural Cement mines can be found. In addition to the stunning industrial architecture, the caverns that were excavated to extract the raw limestone have openings alongside the trail. While closed to the public, the caverns do provide blasts of cool air to trail users passing by. The second notable attraction along the Wallkill is the iconic Rosendale Trestle. Soaring 150 feet over the Rondout Creek, the Rosendale Trestle runs for 940 feet just outside of its namesake village. The trestle provides expansive views of the nearby countryside. The final bridge, the Springtown Bridge, is less stunning in its setting, but may be more famous, as a result of its use as a filming location for the movie “A Quiet Place”.


The Wallkill Valley stretch of the Empire State Trail ends in the village of New Paltz, where a block away from the trail is Historic Huguenot Street, a preserved set of seven houses built in the 1700s by early settlers. A National Historic Landmark, the site today serves as an innovative museum, preserving and interpreting the region’s history dating back to the French Huguenot settlement and before, when the area was inhabited by the Munsee Lenape people. New Paltz is a perfect place for a break for lunch, before turning back to return to your starting point (as I did), or continuing on for a longer ride south.

Hopewell Junction to Whaley Lake (12 miles).

Hopewell_Junction.jpgI started the second Hudson Valley ride in Hopewell Junction, at the point where the William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail ends and the Maybrook Trailway begins. Hopewell Junction is an ideal place to begin a ride, with a nice parking lot and numerous trailside amenities - including restrooms, beverages, a small museum, and even a mobile bike shop with bikes available for rent and bike repair assistance available.

Heading south on the Maybrook Trailway takes you on one of the newest sections of the Empire State Trail, as this trail wasn’t finished and opened to the public until December 2020. The Maybrook Trailway is unique among the many trails that constitute the Empire State Trail, as it’s the only trail that is a “rail with trail,” as the Metro-North Railroad’s Beacon Line runs parallel to the trail for its entire stretch (although don’t expect to see any trains passing by as the line hasn’t seen regular traffic for many years).

The Maybrook Trailway is a fairly quiet, rural trail, with lush greenery on either side. However, the trail is by no means boring, as the line passes over the Appalachian Mountains - as such, the line follows a steady incline, gaining about 600 feet in elevation over the nearly 12 miles. Near the peak, the trail crosses the route of the Appalachian Trail - so watch out for long-distance hikers!

Whaley Lake provides a nice break to stop for a snack or for lunch, as the trail runs right along the lake’s shore and offers otherwise inaccessible views. For those seeking a longer ride, the Maybrook Trailway continues an additional 12 miles to Brewster, as part of the Empire State Trail, and is slated to be extended an additional five miles beyond the Empire State Trail to the Connecticut border.