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11. Mountain Road in Greenville to the Basha Kill
This section is a mixed bag of woods roads, abandoned rail beds, ridgetops and wetlands. The section begins with the trail passing through the 435-acre Ridgeview parcel which was acquired in 2012 by OSI, NYNJTC and OCLT, and in 2015 was transferred to the State. It is now part of Huckleberry Ridge State Forest. The trail follows woods roads across the ridge and passes by three secluded ponds. It then reaches an abandoned section of Shin Hollow Road, which is a nice woods walking section. Here the Long Path is joined by the SRT.* The trail soon leaves Shin Hollow Road and begins a gradual descent to Guymard Turnpike, paralleling the Conrail Port Jervis line in the woods. After crossing Guymard Turnpike at a bridge over the railroad, the trail descends to the abandoned Erie Port Jervis line. It continues north on the rail bed, which it follows to NY Route 211. The trail crosses Route 211 and heads north on Orange County Route 61 (Otisville Road), descending below steep cliffs on the right. The road passes over the top of the western portal of the Otisville tunnel of the Conrail Port Jervis line. The trail then turns right into the woods and climbs steeply to a viewpoint. It continues for nearly two miles through the woods before it descends and reaches Otisville Road again. The trail turns right, then right again onto Indian Orchard Road (which becomes South Road when it enters Sullivan County), and in a few hundred yards the trail turns left into the woods and reaches the Basha Kill Rail Trail. The trail follows the abandoned "Kingston Line" of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway (O&W). While the 5.5-mile walk along the Basha Kill** is straight and level, it is a wonderful area, with many fine views across the Basha Kill, one of the largest wetlands in southern New York. In the springtime the Basha Kill fills with runoff from the nearby Catskills and Shawangunks to form a giant lake. At that time of the year, sections of the trail may be flooded. If this is the case, South Road, which parallels the Basha Kill Rail Trail nearby, can be followed to bypass flooded areas. In the summer the Basha Kill is a large wetland with many channels that are perfect for canoeing, and because it is a stop-off point on the Shawangunk migration routes, it is a splendid area for bird watching.
Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 16 (Harriman). Take NY Route17/future Interstate 86 west to Interstate 84 in Middletown. Take Interstate 84 west to exit 2, Mountain Road. Turn right on Mountain Road and continue about 1.5 miles to no. 1032. The main gate of Ridgeview is opposite no. 1032.
0.00 Mountain Road, a few hundred feet south of the Ridgeview main gate. (41.391987°, -74.599519°)
2.00 End of paved portion of Shin Hollow Road, just west of the railroad bridge, 0.35 miles south of the LP/SRT junction (41.40448°, -74.61631°)
3.45 Guymard Turnpike and rail bridge. (41.42695°, -74.59694°)
7.65 NY Route 211 and Otisville Road. (41.47619°, -74.55412°)
10.10 DEC parking area, Otisville Road and Indian Orchard Road. (41.49960°, -74.55219°)
10.35 DEC parking area. (41.50248°, -74.54892°)
10.85 DEC parking area. (41.50829°, -74.54424°)
11.90 DEC boat launch parking area. (41.51591°, -74.53713°)
The trail passes through DEC state forest parcels between between miles 0.00 and 2.00, and miles 2.4 and 3.15. At mile 5.25 more DEC land can be found to the east of the trail. Camping is also allowed in the Gobblers Knob section (mile 8.40), but the stream on this parcel is seasonal.
0.00 The Long Path passes around the main gate of the Ridgeview parcel and goes up an old road.
0.25 The trail passes an gravel pit on the right, soon followed by an old spring house on the right. On the left are a couple of woods roads that go to and around two of the ponds on the property.
0.45 The Long Path crosses a gas pipeline and continues on a woods road. A couple of logging roads go right but the trail continues on the old road. A pond appears on the left.
1.05 Pass a woods road on the left that leads to a dam between two ponds. Proceed straight ahead.
1.30 At a split in the road the trail makes a left turn, passing a very nice viewpoint on a pond, then the trail turns right again. The trail now continues slowly downhill all the way to Shin Hollow Road, passing several old roads on both sides.
11.1 Pond in Ridgeview estate. 2012 [JAKOB FRANKE]
2.00 The Long Path reaches Shin Hollow Road and the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT), and turns right. Shin Hollow Road is a woods road that is passable to jeeps heading to hunting camps along the ridge. The SRT (blue blaze) and Long Path are co-aligned from here for the next 34 miles.
2.15 A gravel road leads right uphill. The Long Path continues on Shin Hollow Road for another 150 feet, when it turns left into the woods and parallels Shin Hollow Road. After another 300 feet, the trail descends gradually on a faint old logging road. The trail turns right and parallels the ridge north.
2.50 The trail crosses a stream at the head of a beautiful waterfall. Above the waterfall is a nice place for lunch in a deep hemlock grove. The trail continues north through the hemlocks, gradually descending to just above the railroad tracks. The trail is on state land in the section from mile 2.40 to 3.15.
3.05 The trail crosses a stream above a second waterfall and continues north in the woods, just above the railroad tracks.
3.45 The trail crosses Guymard Turnpike near a bridge and follows the tracks just inside the woods. After about 0.1 miles, the trail descends into a hollow, which was formerly a passing track for heavy freight trains. After crossing the hollow, the trail climbs up to an abandoned rail bed and continues north along it. The remnants of a lead smelter are nearby.
3.85 To the right is a short gravel road that connects to Guymard Turnpike and was once the tunnel portal for the freight siding. The trail continues north along the original Erie Railroad Port Jervis line, which was the original route through Otisville Notch. When the Otisville Tunnel was constructed, a new line was constructed at a lower elevation and the original line, which the trail follows, was abandoned. The original line intersects the new line just south of the Guymard Turnpike bridge. The trail continues north along the rail bed, which is passable to passenger cars, and is lined with trees on both sides.
4.75 The trail passes the remnants of some old structures.
5.25 To the right are two trails: the Graham Fire Tower Trail (red blazes) and the Ravine Trail (white blazes), which are both almost one mile long and lead to the top of the ridge where there is a fire tower. The trails form a figure eight and are in Graham Mountain State Forest.
6.45 The Marcy-South power lines follow the rail bed north. Where the power lines intersect the rail bed, there are views across the Neversink Valley.
6.90 The Marcy-South power lines turn left and descend off the ridge. The trail continues along the rail bed as it continues north through the woods.
7.65 The rail bed reaches NY Route 211 in Otisville Notch. The trail turns left, crosses Route 211, and continues on Otisville Road (Orange County Route 61) north, descending below steep cliffs on the right. The trail passes over the top of the western portal of the former Erie Railroad's Otisville Tunnel. This line is still used daily for both passenger and freight service.
7.95 Turn right off Otisville Road and begin the steep ascent to the top of the ridge (Gobblers Knob), first continuing north, then sharply turning right (south).
8.10 Reach the top of the ridge. There is a short side trail to the right with a view south and west over the valley of the Bashakill and Neversink. The trail turns sharply left and follows the ridge to the north, then starts to descend through a young forest and levels off as it passes through a boulder field. The trail turns left, and gradually descends again.
8.80 Cross an old woods road and continue through saplings.
8.90 Reach another woods road and follow it to the right, gradually ascending.
9.15 When the trail levels turn left off the woods road, and start to descend. Cross a couple more woods roads while descending.
9.85 Reach Otisville Road and turn right.
9.95 The trail turns right on Indian Orchard Road, which will become South Road in Sullivan County, and passes a parking and fishing area on the left side of the road.
10.10 The trail turns left into the woods just past the parking area, and reaches the Basha Kill Rail Trail in about 0.1 mile.
10.20 The trail turns right on the Basha Kill Rail Trail. The rail trail is the remnants of the Port Jervis to Kingston branch of the New York, Ontario & Western Railroad (O&W). Built in direct competition to the D&H Canal, which was on the western side of the Basha Kill, it was abandoned when the O&W went bankrupt in the early 1950s. The trail is unmarked except for an occasional blue DEC disc, Long Path aqua blaze, or Long Path disc. The Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area is a huge wetland in the floodplain of the Basha Kill stream. The walk along the Basha Kill is a beautiful one. While the trail is level, there is much to see along the way. There are views across the Basha Kill toward the Catskills and east to the Shawangunks. The Basha Kill is home to many migratory birds and there are bird-feeding stations along the way. One can put a canoe into one of the many channels for a lazy trip through the wetland, or to find a location to fish. In the springtime, the Basha Kill fills up with the runoff from the mountains and becomes a large, shallow lake. In the summer, it is a green wetland, a rich home to aquatic life.
10.35 The trail passes a DEC parking area on the right.
10.85 The trail reaches another larger DEC parking area near a bridge. This area is prone to flooding and being overgrown. The trail turns left across a bridge, veers right, and crosses a bog bridge. The trail then reaches a woods road, turns left, and follows the woods road. The trail is marked with blue DEC discs.
11.2 Basha Kill. 2008 [JAKOB FRANKE]
11.35 A viewing stand offers great views over the Basha Kill.
11.55 The trail reaches the rail trail again, and turns left. The trail crosses a small bridge where there are views across the Basha Kill. Beyond here, the trail passes through a white birch forest.
11.90 The trail reaches a large parking area with a boat-launching site to the left. From here one can launch a canoe or other non-motorized boat in a side channel of the Basha Kill. From the side channel there are many interesting routes to either canoe or fish. Section 12 starts here.
* The Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT) starts at the Appalachian Trail at High Point, NJ and heads north to Rosendale, NY, following the Shawangunk Ridge for nearly 80 miles. The trail is blazed with blue discs on DEC land and blue 2"x3" blazes on private land. Where it is co-aligned with existing trails only an occasional circular SRT disc will be found. Use sections G1-G2 in reverse to head south from here to High Point where, at the intersection with the Appalachian Trail, you can then proceed to Harriman State Park to rejoin the main Long Path, or continue south along the Kittatinnies.
** The Basha Kill is also spelled Basher Kill, Bashakill, and other variants with approximately the same pronunciation.