Trail Guide: Kingston Rail Trail to Hurley

A big part of our community’s health is our ability to safely travel throughout the city, especially without motorized transportation. Thanks to years of work from a diverse array of community partners, the City of Kingston currently is home to thirteen transit-related infrastructure projects underway that connect all four corners of the city with each other and our neighbors in the Towns of Ulster, Hurley and Esopus.

This post is a status update on the current state of just one of those thirteen projects: the Kingston Rail Trail (KRT), also known as the Hurley Rail Trail Connector. The KRT seeks to connect Uptown Kingston’s Washington Avenue to the Hurley Rail Trail, via a 1.8 mile trail with underpasses beneath the New York State Thruway and Route 209. Once the trail gets to the Hurley Rail Trail (also known as the O&W Rail Trail), pedestrians and bicyclists can travel up to 13 miles to get to the Towns of Marbletown and Rochester.

The project was first proposed by Ulster County back in 2008, as part of the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan (NMTP), but was delayed due to insufficient funding. The hope with the NMTP, as well as the Ulster County 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, was to establish a “multi-use trail system that would be comparable to an interstate highway system for bicyclists and pedestrians countrywide and connecting to adjacent counties.”

A public hearing was held in December of 2018, which laid out a final design report and work on the trail is expected in 2020. But the trail is already open for informal use by bikers and pedestrians at their own risk.

Interested in checking it out for yourself? Read on:

How to Get There

If you’re starting in Kingston, the trailhead is in the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel, at 487 Washington Avenue in Kingston, NY 12401. It is possible that in the future, a trailhead parking area will be developed along Washington Avenue.
If you’re starting in Hurley, the trailhead is a few hundred yards away from the parking areas on Route 209 for the Hurley Rail Trail.

Where to Park

If you’re a customer at the Super 8 Motel, or have permission from the staff, you could park in their parking lot. Otherwise, there is street parking available on some sections of nearby Washington Avenue and North Front Street, as well as municipal parking on North Front Street.
The Hurley Rail Trail has multiple dedicated parking areas on Route 209.

Be Careful

For now, the trail is still undeveloped, and has many spots that dip or rise unevenly. According to the most recent design presentation, it will be paved with asphalt pavement.

The Thruway Underpass

One of the most unique features of the trail is the I-87 underpass, which has become home to some beautiful graffiti. It’s not known what will happen to the art when the trail is fully completed, so make sure you check it out while it’s still there!

Road Crossing

Right after the Thruway Underpass, make sure you carefully cross the private road to continue on with the trail. When work on the trail is complete, this crossing will be decked out with signage and permanent markings.

Tall Grasses = Ticks

After you get across the road, the trail runs through some tall grasses. Due to a mild winter and a number of other environmental factors, 2019 is shaping up to be an extremely heavy tick season. If you’re hiking through the tall grasses, be sure to take precautions and check yourself thoroughly for ticks afterward.

In 2014, HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley put together a guide for protecting yourself from tick-borne diseases.

The Hurley Rail Trail

After 1.8 miles, you’ll get to a paved section of the Hurley Rail trail that runs alongside Route 209. It runs for about 13 miles continuously through parts of Hurley, Stone Ridge and High Falls, and then alternates between road and trail for another 14 miles through Accord, Kerhonkson, Naopnoch and Ellenville.

For the most up-to-date information on the Hurley Rail Trail, visit their website.

This trail guide will be updated once work on the trail is completed.

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