15. Berme Road to Riggsville

Features: Road walk
Distance: 12.30 miles
USGS Map Quads: Napanoch, Kerhonkson
Trail Conference Map: Trail Map 104 (Shawangunk Trails), and Trail Map 146 (Catskill Trails)

General Description

Currently this entire section is on roads but as soon as the DEC approves a Unit Management Plan for Vernooy Kill and Sundown state forests most of this section will get off the roads. The Long Path heads west on Berme Road to Port Ben, a hamlet in the town of Wawarsing, then turns north onto Port Ben Road and crosses the Rondout Creek. After the Long Path crosses US Route 209 it turns north on Lundy Road, then east on Rouge Harbor Road, and north again on Cherrytown and Upper Cherrytown Road to Riggsville. Although this is currently a roawalk there are many fine views and interesting features along the way and traffc volume is low on most of the roads.

Access

Take the New York State Thruway to Exit 19 near Kingston, then take NY Route 209 west through Kerhonkson, to Wawarsing. In Wawarsing, immediately after crossing the Vernooy Kill, turn left on Port Ben Road, and after crossing the Rondout Creek turn left onto Berme Road. Port Ben Road and about half a mile of Berme Road are marked with LP Aqua blazes. There is little parking available where the trail reaches Berme Road.

Camping

On DEC land.

Parking

0.00 There are plans for a small parking lot along Berme Road (41.75375°, -74.33943°) but until that has been built there is only room for one or two cars along the road. More parking is available along Foordemoor Road at the bottom of the Mine Hole Trail (41.75966°, -74.32420°) and near the Rondout Creek (41.76285°, -74.33401°), both about one mile away from the Long Path.
2.80 Old quarry off Lundy Road. (41.76811°, -74.37085°)
12.30 Parking area at entrance to Catskill Park on Upper Cherrytown Road. (41.86395°, -74.34630°)

Trail Description

0.00 The Long Path turns left (west) onto Berme Road and in 150 ft turns right, crossing the canal bed of the old D&H Canal.* The trail then turns left again and follows an overgrown railroad bed. Be careful, there is poison ivy present! In a few tenths of a mile the trail crosses a bridge across an old waste weir.

0.40 The trail reaches the end of Towpath Road and continues along the road. The third house on the right is across from the site of Lock 26 of the D&HCanal and is the improved locktender house.

0.55 Cross Port Ben Road and continue on Towpath Road which turns sharply right in a few hundred feet. On your left is the historical Port Ben railroad station.

0.60 Turn left onto Port Ben Road toward the bridge across the Rondout Creek. For the next half a mile the road passes farmland with great views on both sides of the road.

1.40 Turn right onto US Route 209 and cross the Vernooy Kill. The Wawarsing post office is on the right, next to the stream.

1.50 Turn left onto Lundy Road. Be careful, Route 209 is a very busy road.

1.80 Pass the last house on the left. The Vernooy Kill is on the left side of the road.

1.90 DEC land starts on the right. In the next half a mile there are a dam and rapids in the Vernooy Kill and opportunities for swimming. Both Lundy Road and Rouge (Rogue?) Harbor Road are very low traffic roads.

2.75 Cutler Road on the left crosses the stream. Future plans have the Long Path cross the Vernooy Kill here and then proceed north to the Vernooy Falls.

2.80 There is parking in an old quarry on the right.

3.10 Pass the first of two old homestead sites on the left. The second one is in another 500 feet on the left.

3.60 Turn right onto Rouge Harbor Road (unpaved). The property on the south side of the road is privately owned.

3.90 A large fence appears on the right (south) side of the road.

4.30 The end of the fence.

4.50 DEC lands start on the left (north) side of the road.

4.80 DEC lands start on the right (south) side of the road.

15.1 and 15.2 Turner cemetery off Rouge Harbor Road. 2011 [JAKOB FRANKE]

5.05 A tree on the left contains an old sign (facing east) pointing south to Turner Cemetery. About 300 feet off the road, just to the east of a stone wall, are two head stones.

5.60 End of the DEC lands.

5.80 J&J Road on the right. Rouge Harbor Road becomes paved.

6.20 Woodland Valley Ridge Road on the right. The traffic increases.

6.50 The end of Rouge Harbor Road. Turn left onto Cherrytown Road.

7.80 Pass Water Falls Road on the right – Cherrytown Road turns left.

9.00 Pass Baker Road on the left.

9.10 When Cherrytown Road ends, the trail turns left onto Upper Cherrytown Road. As it makes the turn, houses are on the left and a garage is on the right.

12.30 The section ends at a DEC parking area on the right side of the road. To continue, turn left and enter the woods on a DEC snowmobile trail.

 * The Delaware & Hudson Canal was in operation from 1828 until 1899. Following its demise the O&W used the canal right-of-way, and its railroad bed is in some places on the towpah or in the canal prism.

Comment: Please be relevant, civil, non-commercial.

Gedalyamil's picture

Today was memorable. We will never forget it. A blissful morning turned into a cursed evening, until we were rescued. I parked at the Berme Road pullout for the start on Stage 15. My daughter Julia joined me. We left our home in NJ at 8:45 and were ready to hike by 10:30. This was the 3rd leg of the LP that Julia has joined me for. She has special needs. Have you noticed that a high proportion of special needs kids are overweight? I know they may have a slower metabolism, etc. However, sometimes I feel like so little is expected of them. The physical fitness bar is set too low. Julia walked the 12.3 miles quite easily. Yes, I picked this hike which was a road walk, but she could've done the Devil's Path too. Anyway, I just saying that special needs kids can do more than a walk around the block and hiking is a great sport to develop motor skills and confidence while opening up a new world just like it does for able folks. I really liked this hike!! I applaud the NY/NJ trail Conference for trying to get Stage 15 off road, but I didn't feel cheated one bit. The start of the hike along the Rondout Creek was lovely! Port Ben Road felt remote, the surrounding fields were fresh and open, and crossing the bridge over the Creek was an adventure as we had to crawl under the blockades. Julia and I felt like escaped criminals on the bridge. I'm not sure it's even open to pedestrians, but nobody arrested us. Lundy Road required some climbing, but also sported anglers decked in hip boots in the adjacent Vernooy Kill. Rouge Harbor Road was a classic Catskills unpaved woods road. I wonder who lives in the elaborate fenced estate. Its either rich people or government or both. Cherrytown Road, both upper and lower, were postcard bucolic!! Beautiful farms, cows, horses, both red and rustic barns. Julia and I strolled into the DEC Parking Lot at the Vernooy Falls Trailhead just past 4:30PM. The day was pleasant, but it had just started getting colder and flurrying snow. I had reserved a cab mid-hike and then called again 30 minutes before our finish. We didn't actually leave until nearly 4 hours later. The taxi driver from Ellenville wasn't able to get moving until 5:30, but he never arrived. I had no internet reception and didn't speak gibberish so I called my brother and asked him to please try to direct the cabbie by phone. My brother sent him our coordinates on Google Maps and directed him as best he could in Giberlish for 45 minutes. The message simple: drive up Upper Cherrytown Road (just 5 miles!!) and look for 2 shivering people. To no avail, it was unadulterated frustration. It was nearing 7PM and sunset. At the same time, I was dealing with considerable turmoil on the home-front. My wife was accusing me of daughter endangerment and my mother-in-law was egging her on. Between the mother, grandmother, and the cabbie from hell I was in a tough spot. Finally, my brother heroically drove from Callicoon, NY for 80 minutes to fetch us. Simultaneously, my son called Busy Bee cab company in Wurtsboro to save us. They both arrived at precisely the same time. The female cabbie in an old fashioned London-style taxi car and my brother in his Kids' Tesla. He even brought us food and drink. What a great brother!! We took the bananas, but drove back in the cab at 8:15PM because we owed her for the trip. I regretted bringing my brother back to this spot. Turns out there is something very spooky about Vernooy Falls for him. In 1995 his wife (my sister-in-law) signed a pre-nup that she would agree to hike once a year. That worked fine until circa 2002 when they took my niece baby Tami hiking in a brand new Kelty Baby Carrier at Vernooy Falls Trailhead. It was a perfectly azure sky blue day. Suddenly, rain, crying baby, and sister-in-law swears off hiking for life. And she hasn't hiked since! When Julia and I arrived home at 10:30, I went straight to fill in my daily LP tally sheet. Then I noticed, it was April Fools Day! Regardless, I had ambitious plans to complete the LP within the next month. I'll have to sort out some of the logistical issues. Taxi services are scarce in Catskill Park, and phone and internet can be sketchy. My general plan: park at the terminus, rather than the start, and take a pre-scheduled taxi to the starting point in the morning. You can't always rely on Elijah showing up in the mountains.
srtmaintainer's picture

Hi George, I am the Chair of the Long Path. Thanks for your trip reports, glad your enjoying the trail. I always advise everyone to leave their car at the end of the hike and get a ride to the beginning. The next two sections are tough for getting a cab. When do you plan to do 16?