The Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating, maintaining, promoting, and improving the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Highland, New York.
The story of the HVRT starts with a mysterious fire and ends with a small town and group of founders who believed in the Rail Trail concept and the value it would bring to the community. In the 1970s, the railroad bridge to Poughkeepsie burned and led to a redirection of rail traffic.
The railroad tracks and the old bridge fell into disrepair. Over the years, there were hopes of making it a vital link in the Hudson Valley Trail system and ultimately the bridge becoming Walkway Over the Hudson.
Today the Hudson Valley Rail Trail stretches 7.1 miles through forests, over Black Creek, and under two spectacular stone-arch bridges. Connecting the towns of New Paltz and Highland, the rail-trail follows the former right-of-way of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. Two cabooses, one dating to 1915 and the other to 1926 offer a nod to the corridor’s railroading past, and the one closest to Walkway Over the Hudson serves as a miniature seasonal museum.
HVRT is proud to be a part of the Empire State Trail that stretches from New York City through the Hudson Valley and north to the Adirondacks and west to Buffalo along the Erie Canal.
HVRT is managed by the HVRT Board and association on behalf of the Town of Lloyd.
A Brief History of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail ~ New York
By Claire R. Costantino and Joe Bigelow
Lying quietly to the west of the mighty Hudson River in the Mid-Hudson Valley is a quiet jewel stretching lazily from the hamlet of Highland westward toward New Paltz. The sun sparkles off the nearby creeks and ponds, the forest climbs the surrounding Illinois Mountain, and the pleasures of enjoying the tranquil beauty and splendor of the countryside on a broad and level pathway awaits you.
This pleasant family-friendly boulevard thru nature is better known as the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, created, supported, and maintained by the forward-thinking people of the Town of Lloyd in Ulster County. The trail stretches 7.5 miles, from its connection to the Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland and meanders up and through the hamlet of Highland then heading west joining up with Route 299 and the connections of the Empire State Trail.
Ray Costantino, a member of the Highland Rotary Club and Community Service Project Chairman, brought the idea of converting the abandoned rail bed into a rail trail to the membership of the Highland Rotary Club. Two other Highland Rotary Club Members, Everton Henriques, and John Canino embraced the idea and lent their support to the project and the creation of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Association, which was named by the Town of Lloyd Town Board to serve as managers of the newly created Hudson Valley Rail Trail.
The Hudson Valley Rail Trail is a very easy family-friendly walk. With the opening of Walkway Over the Hudson in October 2009, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail connects to the Empire State Trail creating a network of miles of trail.