Outdoors: Ashokan Rail Trail worth the trip

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We had been just a mile into our bike ride on Saturday when a police vehicle appeared on the embankment above us. I kept riding, but the officer who’d stepped out of the vehicle shouted, “Hey!”

Time to quit. I knew specifically what the difficulty was. The Ashokan Rail Trail, which officially opens nowadays (Oct. 18), was closed to the public final Saturday. An individual had observed us out on the trail and named the authorities.

Fortunately for us, in anticipation of just such an encounter, I had gotten permission to preview the trail just before its opening. Even much better, I had that permission in writing. I showed my letter to the officer and he let us go on our way.

I do not know if the police stopped everyone else more than the vacation weekend, but we had been undoubtedly not the only folks out on the trail on Saturday. And who could blame the people who jumped the gun?


The Ashokan Rail Trail, positioned in Ulster County close to Kingston, delivers a secure and accessible way to access a spectacular organic resource. It runs along the northern shore of the Ashokan Reservoir, one particular of various tightly controlled reservoirs to supply drinking water for New York City.

Although the 12-mile-lengthy Ashokan Reservoir is circled by Routes 28 and 28A, most of it cannot be observed from the roads. Prior to the rail trail opened, guests could stroll along the reservoir at the Olivebridge Dam or through a two.five-mile-lengthy promenade on the southern shore. Activities like fishing and boating are permitted by permit only, having said that, and hiking on city-owned land is commonly restricted to places away from the water.


Ulster County Deputy County Executive John Milgrim mentioned the new rail trail opens up the northern shore for much more recreational possibilities for the initially time in 100 years. Walking, biking and other non-motorized utilizes are permitted, but guests are essential to keep on the trail unless they have a permit. Simply because it is a reservoir and the water requires to keep clean, swimming — by folks or dogs — is prohibited.

The rail trail begins at Basin Road in West Hurley, just a handful of miles west of Kingston. Only the eastern nine miles of the trail will be accessible as of Friday – one more two.five miles of trail on the western finish in Boiceville is nonetheless beneath building.

We began our ride at the Woodstock Dike Trailhead, a half-mile from the Basin Road terminus. Till the Ashokan Station Trailhead in Shokan and the Boiceville Bridge Trailhead open, hopefully later this year, Woodstock Dike will be the very best spot to access the trail.



Just a mile along the path from the trailhead, guests attain the Glenford Dike. Right here, the raised bed of the trail, constructed on what was as soon as the Ulster &amp Delaware Railroad, delivers expansive views more than the reservoir and the surrounding Catskill Mountains. On Saturday, the trees had been vibrant with colour, the sky a backdrop of blue. We got off our bikes and leaned on the wall to soak in the beauty.

Following the Glenford Dike, the trail enters the woods and views are much less impressive. It is nonetheless a good ride. The trail is compacted crushed stone, ADA compliant and appropriate for use by strollers, wheelchairs and road bikes. It is also just about fully flat, but benches, a raised boardwalk and quickly-to-be-installed interpretive indicators assistance maintain it fascinating.

We stayed away from the section of trail nonetheless beneath building close to Boiceville, but pictures guarantee much more spectacular views, with components of the trail operating close to the water.


Additional expansion of the trail is feasible — ideally. it will hyperlink to Kingston, as nicely as the Walkway More than the Hudson and other regional trails. For the close to future, having said that, the 11.five miles are somewhat marooned in between two rail operations: the Catskill Mountain Railroad runs tourist trains along a section of rail to the east and Rail Explorers USA runs rail bike excursions along rails to the west.


Ulster County constructed the trail in partnership with the New York City Division of Environmental Protection. Milgrim mentioned County Executive Patrick Ryan, who took workplace this summer season, created opening the trail for the fall foliage season a priority.

The forecast for this weekend appears quite very good. If you’d like to do some leaf-peeping and are in the mood for exploring a new trail, the Ashokan ought to be a quite very good bet.

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