Officially named the Orange Heritage Trail, but unofficially and simply called the “Rail Trail” by those who live in the area, this 15 mile route stretches from Monroe, NY to Goshen. The mostly paved and flat trail passes through Monroe, Chester and Goshen. There are multiple uses for this trail as outlined below:
Walking and Running: One of the most obvious uses is to take an afternoon stroll or a healthy run. The trail is relatively easy to access, with various parking areas in Harriman, Monroe, Chester and Goshen. The relative flatness and multiple shady areas makes it a fun place to run.
Bicycling: Bicyclists use this trail often. Going from end to end would provide a nearly 30 mile round trip ride. Please note that if you start at the south end, and work your way north, the return route is almost all slightly uphill (you can’t see the incline, but you’ll feel it!). Starting in Goshen and going south, then turning around and finishing on the slight decline is a little easier. Equipping your bike with a warning bell would be a great idea so you can navigate if necessary around joggers.
Dog walking: The rail trail is a great place to take your dogs for a walk (just remember the doggie poo bags!). The dogs will meet other dogs, and they go nuts smelling all the past visitors.
Historical aspect: Along the full length of the trail are not only corn and wheat fields, but a few historical stops: There is a saber fighter jet in the Monroe Airplane Park, a restored stone train station and museum in Chester, as well as a cemetery from the 1800s along the way.
Participate in marathons and other races: There are often races and charitable walks that start at the Park & Ride in Monroe. 5K runs happen throughout the year.
Flora and Fauna: If checking out plants and animals is more your style, there are various trees, flowers, berries, birds and butterflies for investigation. In fact, there are some of the biggest examples of poison ivy I’ve ever seen (I’m allergic and keep an eye out). The poison ivy is off the trail though, so as long as you stay on the trail, you’ll be safe. It’s the non-attack kind.
Picnics: Another fun idea would be to start on the north end, and bike down to the Monroe gooseponds area for a picnic.
Cross Country Skiing: In the winter, the trail is not cleared of snow. Usage declines dramatically although there are still some people who continue to walk through the winter. However, because it’s basically snow covered, the trail becomes a great place for cross country skis.
The bottom line, there is plenty to do year-round on the Monroe NY to Goshen NY Heritage Trail. Take advantage of the gorgeous Fall weather we’ve been having and get out there and check it out!
Originally published in ActiveRain.