Within the pages of Rail-Trails: New Jersey & New York, you’ll find exceptional trails offering views of some of America’s most iconic natural treasures, such as the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean coastline, the Adirondacks, the Finger Lakes and the Catskill Mountains. In this new guidebook, we highlight 58 of the region’s top rail-trails and other multiuse pathways, and as its editor, I’m thrilled to present you with this sneak peek of what’s inside. Rail-Trails: New Jersey & New York will be available this month, but here are few excepts and photos from the book to get your wheels turning!
Northern New Jersey’s Columbia Trail rolls along the South Branch of the Raritan River, passing through historical communities such as High Bridge and Califon as well as a steep, natural gorge. Spanning 15 miles, the crushed-stone pathway travels through mature deciduous and evergreen forests that create a canopy from the summer sun. White-tailed deer, raccoons and coyotes, as well as the occasional black bear, make their home here. Heading north, the trail passes farm- and pastureland.
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail
Spanning more than 70 miles, the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail is the longest completed multiuse trail in the state and described by many as the crown jewel of New Jersey trails. The trail is shaped like a V, with Trenton at its center. Along the route, history buffs will appreciate the 19th-century bridges and bridge-tender houses, remnants of locks, cobblestone spillways, hand-built stone-arch culverts, rail depots and historical railroad markers. It is also part of the Circuit Trails, an 800-mile trail network throughout the Philadelphia and Camden region.
Monroe Township Bike Path
The Monroe Township Bike Path carries visitors through the tranquil woodlands of the Glassboro Wildlife Management Area as it connects the southern New Jersey suburban towns of Glassboro and Williamston. The borough of Glassboro’s name reflects the glassmaking industry that thrived here throughout the 19th century. In fact, the 6.3-mile paved trail owes its existence to that boom. The route follows a former railroad line which served the many glass and bottle makers in the area. The pathway is also part of the Circuit Trails, an expansive regional trail network across nine counties, including Gloucester County.
Paulinskill Valley Trail
The Paulinskill Valley Trail follows a creek by the same name through a section of rural northern New Jersey with a strong German influence. In fact, the word kill is Dutch for “riverbed or stream channel.” German refugees from European wars settled along the Paulins Kill during the Colonial period, and their influence survives in communities along the 27-mile trail. Visitors will see plentiful wildlife, such as bears, bobcats, mink and deer, along the path, and sightings of more than 100 species of birds have been documented.
Sandy Hook Multi-Use Pathway
The Sandy Hook Multi-Use Pathway travels 8.7 miles alongside the picturesque beaches and historical monuments of New Jersey’s Sandy Hook peninsula. The pathway begins in the Gateway National Recreation Area and loops around historic Fort Hancock. Traveling south alongside Hartshorne Drive/Ocean Avenue, the route also offers beach access and unique glimpses of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the United States.
Erie Canalway Trail
When complete, the Erie Canalway Trail will run 365 miles in Upstate New York—from Buffalo in the west to Albany in the east—linking many other communities along the way, including Rochester, Syracuse, Rome, Utica and Schenectady. It follows its namesake canal, which opened in 1825, and along the way, you'll find numerous historical museums, canal locks and lift bridges. The route currently comprises nearly 292 miles of open trail and has a few remaining gaps. It’s also part of an even larger trail system, the developing 750-mile Empire State Trail, which will connect trails from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany to create the longest multiuse state trail in the country.
Great Gorge Railway Trail
Nestled between the Niagara River and the Niagara Scenic Parkway, the short but stunning Great Gorge Railway Trail offers unparalleled access and views of one of North America’s greatest and most famous natural wonders. Along the 1.2-mile walk, trail users will find multiple lookout points that deliver scenic vistas of the river, the falls and impressive bridges connecting the United States to Canada and the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Other highlights of the journey include remnants of the mills, factories and infrastructure that relied on the power of the falls during the height of America’s Industrial Revolution.
New York City’s High Line runs 30 feet above the bustling Manhattan streets and sidewalks below, which for trail lovers makes it an attraction in the same league as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. In fact, this celebrated urban park and aerial greenway joined Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2011. The 1.5-mile trail, developed on a former elevated freight line, offers more than just a place to walk on the Lower West Side. It’s a public park set amid brick buildings and glass-and-concrete skyscrapers where you can enter art museums, restaurants and hotels, or participate in an activity calendar chock-full of cultural events.
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
While the Wallkill Valley Railroad no longer carries fruits and vegetables from Ulster County to New York City, trail users can still discover small, family-owned farms and farmers markets serving up fresh produce, meats and locally made products and beverages along this 21.3-mile route. Today the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is popular among locals for walking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and it highlights the diversity that embodies America’s rich history.
William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail
The William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail is a local treasure in the Hudson Valley region of New York. The 13.1-mile trail runs through what seems like a perpetually green landscape of dense tree cover, linking Poughkeepsie at the Hudson River with smaller towns to the southeast. On its Poughkeepsie end, the Dutchess Rail Trail connects with the Walkway Over the Hudson, a stunning converted railroad bridge that takes trail users over the Hudson River and leads to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County. Together, the three rail-trails, which were welcomed into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame in 2016, offer a seamless, combined route of just over 20 miles. They are also part of New York’s expansive Empire State Trail.
Rail-Trails: New Jersey & New York Guidebook
Want to experience one of these amazing destinations? You’ll find maps, helpful details and beautiful photos of 58 multiuse trails in our upcoming Rail-Trails: New Jersey & New York Guidebook, available April 2019.Pre-Order Your Guidebook Today