Several years ago, the amazing Walkway Over the Hudson was unveiled and since then it has become a wonderful local resource as well as a significant tourist destination. The Walkway is the tallest and longest pedestrian bridge in the world and it's well worth a visit whenever you find yourself in the area. It was not until this fall, however, that the two preexisting rail trails on either side of the river were completely and permanently linked together to form a full 18-mile linear park that connects Dutchess and Ulster Counties.
I decided to mark this auspicious occasion with an end-to-end ride with a short break in the middle to enjoy some hot coffee and a seasonal treat. The Dutchess Rail Trail begins at the old Hopewell Junction train station so this is where I began my east-west journey after dropping my daughter off at a local high school to take her SAT II exams. The air was crisp and the skies were blue with a few colorful leaves still hanging onto the trees along the way.
The completion of this linear park required a few bridges and the purchase of a few miles of land from CSX. The next stage planned to enhance the bicycle infrastructure in the area involves building a massive elevator to connect the Walkway with the Metro North train station in Poughkeepsie 220 feet below. After crossing the Walkway, I found a nearby Dunkin Donuts and after enjoying a coffee and a pumpkin donut, I rejoined the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and rode the 10 miles to the trail's end in Highland. Rejoining local roads, I was home in no time.
Location: Highland, NY
Venue: Dunkin' Donuts
Carbs: Pumpkin donut