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Hike the Wallkill Valley Loop (Trail)
|Description||The Wallkill Valley Loop (WVL) is a 117 mile long hiking route that circles the Wallkill River valley using the existing trail right-of-ways of four different long distance hiking trails. This is a virtual route; there are no signs along the way that indicate you are following the WVL.|
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The Wallkill Valley Loop (WVL) is a 117 -mile long hiking route that circles the Wallkill River valley using the existing trail right-of-ways of four different long distance hiking trails. This is a virtual route; there are no signs along the way that indicate you are following the WVL. Instead, the guide linked on this page provides details on how to follow the route. The purpose of this route is not to create a new trail: it is to provide an easy way to see what is already out there! In this vein, there is also a how-to guide for preparing for the trip and hiking the Loop for people who are new to the world of long-distance backpacking.
While hiking the Wallkill Valley Loop, you will be using segments of a variety of different trails. Most famous of these is the Appalachian Trail, which traverses the Appalachian Mountains from the summits of Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, almost 2,200 miles of contiguous trail! Moving in a clockwise direction, a hiker following the WVL would next visit the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. This path connects the Kittatinnies in NJ to the northern Shawangunks in Ulster County. Branching from the Shawangunk Ridge Trail is the Long Path, roughly 350 miles of marked trail from Altamont (near Albany) to Fort Lee, NJ and the George Washington Bridge. Finally, the Loop is closed by following the Highlands Trail from its intersection with the Long Path back to the Appalachian Trail. Though not yet complete, the Highlands Trail is well on its way to connecting the Hudson and Delaware Rivers by way of footpath.
Why hike the Wallkill Valley Loop? It is a chance to explore your region and discover the natural treasures that have been hiding in your own backyard and to see your neighborhood from a different perspective. It is a chance to wake up in the woods in the morning and walk to town instead of driving. It is an occasion to soak up the region's rich historical character and beautiful vistas. It is a quiet escape from everyday life and a rigorous challenge for all ages. This route is a good start for long-distance hiking neophytes while providing interesting hiking for veteran backpackers as well.
The Wallkill Valley Loop is just the starting point for an exploration of the great hiking treasures locally and nationally. Perhaps your sample of life on one of the four component trails will inspire you to hike their divergent pathways and experience a myriad of new challenges and discoveries...