Feature: Heritage Trail (Orange County rail-trail)
Distance: 11.40 miles
USGS Map Quads: Monroe, Warwick, and Goshen
County Map: http://www.orangecountynyparks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/herit-trail.pdf
This section follows the Heritage Trail — a 10-foot wide trail on the right-of-way of the former Erie Railroad. The trail currently extends for 11.85 miles from the Town of Monroe to Hartley Road in the Town of Goshen, near the City of Middletown, and it features sections of both asphalt and limestone surface. It winds through a bird/wildlife sanctuary and passes historic landmarks, murmuring streams, rolling meadows and friendly communities. Trail users may enjoy biking, walking, rollerblading and nature study, as well as shopping and dining in the local villages. Goshen is the picturesque county seat of Orange County, and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame (open seven days a week) is definitely worth a visit. Access points to the trail are in Monroe, Chester and Goshen, all with convenient parking. There are bicycles for rent in Monroe and in Goshen, and there is a motel in Goshen. The Green Onion, located just off the Heritage Trail in Chester, hosts evening events and a farmers market every Saturday during growing seasons.
Take the New York StateThruway to Exit 16 (Harriman). Proceed west on NY Route17/Interstate 86 for three miles to Exit 129. Turn left on Museum Village Road and turn left again onto Orange and Rockland Road immediately after crossing over Route 17, into a commuter parking lot and Park & Ride.
0.00 Commuter parking lot in Monroe, off Exit 129 on Route 17. (41.34678°, -74.19807°)
4.15 At the Chester Depot Museum in the Village of Chester, off Exit 126 on Route 17. (41.36258°, -74.26969°)
8.30 Parking lot at the end of St. James Place in the Village of Goshen, off Exit 124 on Route 17. (41.40023°, -74.32294°)
11.40 Hartley Road, at the end of this there is aparking area 200 feet south of the trail. (41.40903°, -74.37190°)
0.00 The trail makes a sharp right onto the Heritage Trail, which is an Orange County paved (asphalt) rail-trail.
0.75 The trail crosses underneath Route 17. Just before the next bridge is a small cemetery (Tuthill Cemetery? Oxford Depot Cemetery?) on the right-hand side of the trail.
1.10 The Highlands Trail leaves the rail-trail immediately after passing the cemetery, and continues on Conty Route 51 (Craigville Road). The LP continues on the rail-trail. The trail passes through farmlands.
2.60 The Heritage Trail passes the old Camp LaGuardia. This used to be a New York City homeless shelter, but it is currently being redeveloped.
3.70 Near Chester, there is a black soil district north of the trail, known for its onion farms.
4.15 The trail passes through the Village of Chester, which has eateries and ice cream stores.
9.1 and 9.2 Village of Goshen. 2012 [JAKOB FRANKE]
8.30 Reach the end of the paved section of the Heritage Trail in the Village of Goshen. There is a creamery right next to the trail, and there are restaurants, shops and the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame (open seven days a week) in town. This museum is well worth a visit. The trail turns right onto St. James Place, then turns left onto South Church Street.
8.50 At the light, the trail crosses Route 207 and follows the second road left (West Main Street) for about 0.5 miles.
9.00 The trail turns sharply right onto a driveway, across from St. John's Cemetery.
9.05 The trail immediately turns sharp left onto the rail-trail, which is paved with crushed limestone at this end.
9.45 The trail crosses underneath Route 17, goes by a sewage treatment plant, then passes by attractive wetlands and ponds.
11.40 The trail reaches Hartley Road, to continue to the next section cross the road and continue on the Heritage Trail.
9.3 Heritage Trail west of Goshen. 2012 [JAKOB FRANKE]