|Walden–Wallkill Rail Trail|
A section of the rail trail in the town of Shawangunk.
|Length||3.22 mi (5.2 km)|
|Use||Walking, jogging, bicycling and dog walking|
|Hazards||Paved section may be unsuitable for horseback riders|
The Walden–Wallkill Rail Trail, also known as the Jesse McHugh Rail Trail, is a 3.22-mile (5.18 km) rail trail between the village of Walden in the town of Montgomery and the hamlet of Wallkill in the town of Shawangunk. Montgomery and Shawangunk are located in Orange and Ulster counties, respectively, in upstate New York.
The trail, like the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to the north, is part of the former Wallkill Valley Railroad's rail corridor. The land was purchased by the towns of Montgomery and Shawangunk in 1985 and converted to a public trail. The portion of the trail in Shawangunk was formally opened in 1993 and named after former town supervisor Jesse McHugh. Plans to pave the trail between Walden and Wallkill were discussed since 2001, and the route was finally paved between 2008 and 2009. The trail includes an unofficial, unimproved section to the north of Wallkill, and is bounded by NY 52 and NY 208.
The trail begins at the 9.4-acre (3.8 ha) Wooster Grove Park in the village of Walden, near NY 52. There is a visitor center for rail trail users at the park. The park also contains Walden's former train station, which has since been renovated as a recreational facility.
The trail continues 1 mile (1.6 km) north from the trailhead before reaching Lake Osiris Road, continuing another 1 1⁄4 miles (2.0 km) to the Montgomery–Shawangunk town line. Once in Shawangunk, the trail passes by the Borden Estate, a mansion built in 1906 by the granddaughter of Gail Borden. In 1854, Gail Borden patented the process for creating condensed milk; the Borden family subsequently owned a series of milk companies. The mansion is now used by the School of Practical Philosophy for philosophy classes.
About 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km) from the town line, the trail reaches its Wallkill trailhead bordering NY 208, directly across the street from the Shawangunk police station. The paved section between Walden and Wallkill is flat, with only a 3% grade. A portion of the former corridor in central Wallkill has since been converted to a road.
An unimproved northern section in Wallkill extends 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) from the intersection of Railroad Avenue and C. E. Penny Drive to Birch Road. Birch Road marks the border between the former corridor and two state prisons. This section passes through private hunting grounds and is "unmarked and has no signs" but is "arguably ... the most scenic" portion of the former Wallkill Valley rail corridor, featuring "splendid" views of the Shawangunk Ridge to the west.
While the total length of the trail is officially only about 3 miles (4.8 km), the inclusion of the northern section increases its length to about 4 1⁄2 miles (7.2 km). The trail is used for walking, jogging, bicycling and dog walking.
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