Catskill Scenic Rail Trail

New York Rail Trails
Catskill Region, NY

The Catskill Scenic Rail Trail makes an ideal family mountain bike excursion that is spectacular during the fall foliage season in New York State.

Scenic, Historic, Family Friendly Biking

Trail Description
Directions to Trailhead

Click for general trail map

Roxbury to Grand Gorge Map (PDF)

Location: Stamford, Hobart, South Kortright, Roxbury. Delaware & Schoharie Counties, NY. Western Catskill Mountains

GPS: 42.4089742 -74.6217312
(Stamford Depot, Stamford, NY)

Altitude: 1,778 ft. ft (542m)

Bloomville to Roxbury
Trail Length: 24 miles

Roxbury to Grand Gorge
Trail Length: 5 miles

Trail Surface: Crushed stone, dirt, cinder

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Use: hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. No ATV's or motorized off-road vehicles permitted.

Caution: Multi-use rail trail. Be careful at road crossings.

 

Bike Wheel Image

Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.

General Introduction

The non-profit Catskill Revitalization Corporation (CRC) owns, operates and maintains The Catskill Scenic Rail Trail, a 45 mile linear park. Twenty-six miles are used as a four season recreational trail by hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and cross-country skiers. The route travels on the railbed of the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad and connects with hundreds of miles of trails in other systems. This 26 mile section of the rail-trail is nearly flat, with a firm, well-drained cinder surface. Distance markers along the route let you know how far you are from the next trailhead.

The trail parallels the West Branch of the Delaware River in NY, passing through forest, farmland and the historic villages of Stamford, Hobart and South Kortright before bending south past Grand Gorge to the village of Roxbury and the Catskill Rail Trail eastern terminus on Route 30 South.

There are beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and undulating river valleys. The very gentle grade makes this the perfect family mountain bike excursion. Riders of all ages and abilities will enjoy this easy, scenic bike ride in the western Catskill Mountains. In the fall, the Catskill Mountains resonate with New York State's legendary fall foliage colors.

A shuttle service to the Catskill Scenic Trail is available from the Plattekill Mountain Resort, where you can also rent mountain bikes by the hour or by the day. The resort features over 60 miles of lift-served mountain bike trails and is host to a series of USA Cycling sanctioned mountain bike races during the warmer months.

Catskill Scenic Rail Trail Description

Roxbury To Grand Gorge

By Eileen Catasus-Chapman (October 6, 2013)

Yesterday we biked the Roxbury to Grand Gorge leg of the CST. We parked at the foot of Hardscrabble Rd. just beyond Hubble Corners at the CST sign.

It's a beautiful stretch along the Delaware River (which is more of a stream up here–dotted with beaver dams and huts), not quite as open as th e rest of the trail, but affording nice views of the mountains here and there. The trail itself is grassy so there is some friction making for a decent workout. It is mowed so it isn't too bad. You ride behind a small factory (plastics?) and a burned out tire distributors, and at times you are close to highway, but these are minor quibbles compared to the beauty of the woods and mountains. It's 5 miles to Grand Gorge 10 miles roundtrip.

We continued a little beyond to where the trail crosses Rt. 30 and goes behind ONC BOCES. This part of the trail is probably the toughest in the entire system. It is very rough, muddy and rutted. It is true mountain biking. It even has a one-plank bridge. (All that remains of a small bridge over a depression in the trail.) After ~1.5 miles the trail emerges and crosses Rt. 23 just past Grand Gorge.

The trip back was notable for the views of Irish and Shultice mountains with the wetlands created by the Delaware in the foreground. The fall colors were a little past peak, but brilliant here and there with orange leaves paving the way at times. As a bonus we saw a beaver!

Many thanks to Eileen for the update and her map!
Download Roxbury to Grand Gorge Bike Route Map (PDF)

Trail Highlights & Nearby Points of Interest

Historic Train Depots

Historic Stamford Train Depot

The Historic Stamford Train Depot at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and South Street in the Village of Stamford, NY sits at the base of 3,241 ft. Mount Utasyantha.

It now serves as an information center and houses the Catskill Revitalization Corporation, which owns and manages the Catskill Scenic Trail as well as the nearby Delaware and Ulster scenic railroad.

Location: 21 Railroad Ave, Stamford, NY 12167 GPS: 42.4089742,-74.6217312

Roxbury Station (Ulster and Delaware Railroad Depot)

The Ulster & Delaware Historic Assets Conservancy Trust purchased the depot in 2000 and leased it to the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society.

It is part of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad and Mill Complex. The depot features an 1890's waiting room and tick office and stained-glass window trim. Interpretive display kiosks, maps and diagrams, and scale dioramas illustrate the history of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad era and of the station during various eras.

Location: 101 Bridge Street, Roxbury, NY GPS::42.284582 -74.568748

Scenic Viewpoints & Fire Towers

Mount Utsayantha Fire Tower

Located in Mt. Utsayantha Mountaintop Park, Delaware County. The tower is owned and managed by the town of Stamford. The Historic Stamford Train Depot sits at the base of Mt. Utsayantha.

The tower offers great views of the surrounding mountains, hills, and valleys. See Historic Train Depots above for location.

 

Things To Do

Bikes, Barges & Trains Excursions

Delaware and Ulster Scenic Railroad

The Delaware and Ulster Scenic Railroad is an excursion train that combines rail ride nostalgia with scenic rides through New York's legendary Catskill Mountains. Trains embark on scenic round-trips between Arkville, NY and Roxbury, NY. Trains leaves from the Arkville, NY station.

Bikes, Barges & Train Excursions: Delaware & Ulster Railroad

Historic Districts & Architecture Walking Tours

Roxbury Historic District

First listed on the State & National Registers of Historic Places in 1986 and expanded in 2003. In 2004, the hamlet of Roxbury, NY was designated a “Preserve America Community” by the National Park Service.

The district encompasses the ENTIRE area developed as the hamlet of Roxbury from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.

The railroad-related buildings at the southwestern corner of the district includes the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Depot and Mill Complex. These are a group of frame buildings lining the tracks opposite Bridge Street.

Ulster & Delaware Railroad & Mill Complex

These include: The Ulster and Delaware Railroad Passenger and Freight Depot (built c.1872, remodeled c.1889-1894), Robinson and Preston Steam Flour and Feed Mill (built 1880s), Slauson-Decker-Sheffield Company creamery (built 1870s), and the ice house, apparently used by the creamery and possibly built by the railroad company, and the George M. Orr Blacksmith Shop.

The Ullster & Delaware Railroad Depot is the earliest structure in the complex. It is dwarfed by the mill and creamery, which reflect the railroad's primary use after the route was established.

A trail leads from the depot to Kirkside Park.

Kirkside Park

Kirkside Park, laid out in the first decade of the twentieth century, straddles the East Branch of the Delaware River adjacent to Helen Gould Shepard's summer residence, Kirkside. The park includes two bridges, pathways, a small island, a rustic style gazebo, and plantings.

Woodchuck Lodge (c. 1908-1921)

Woodchuck Lodge was Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. This was the summer Catskill residence of John Burroughs (1837 – 1921), a teacher, naturalist, a journalist and one of the country's great nature writers. He has been credited as the originator of the nature essay as a literary form.

He was born on the family homestead in Roxbury, NY, and worked on the farm as a boy. After college he became a teacher and later worked as a Treasury clerk in Washington, where he met and became friends with Walt Whitman.

His writings on the outdoors and the phenomena of nature in common, everyday landscape environments influenced millions of readers. His messages of land stewardship and his quiet warnings about the potential impact of unchecked development and resource consumption resonate today.

In 1899 he served as the historian on the Harriman Expedition exploring the coast of Alaska with conservationist John Muir, artist Louis Agassiz, photographer Edward Curtis and a host of scientists. He also accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on a trip to Yellowstone, Wyoming in 1903.

Teddy Roosevelt, wrote of Burroughs:

"It is a good thing for our people that you should have lived.”

A DAY WITH JOHN BURROUGHS (Video)

From the American Museum of Natural History Library, Special Collections. Recorded in 1919 at the Lodge.

 

Woodchuck Lodge is a classic Catskill country house. Of equal or perhaps even more significance is the integrity of the surrounding landscape. Above the house is a wooded hillside, once an orchard. A natural spring supplies the house with water. The remainder of the land is relatively open fields and meadows delineated by drylaid stone walls and tree lines. Near the property is a tract owned by New York State that contains a memorial with paths lined with wildflowers.


Tours: There are very few amenities which include a picnic table. Your cellphones won't work, however you can enjoy the peace and quiet and observe the natural world that inspired John Burroughs. Tours take place the first weekend of every month, May through October, Saturday and Sunday, 11-3.

Location: 1633 Burroughs Memorial Road, Roxbury, NY

Website: Woodchuck Lodge

 

Museums

Old Stone Fort Museum Complex

The Old Stone Fort Museum Complex celebrates and preserves the rich, historic legacy of New York’s beautiful Schoharie Valley. Buildings rescued, preserved and now standing on the complex include the Warner House (1830), The Lacko Dutch Barn (1860), The Ingold-Schaeffer New World Dutch Barn (1780), the John I. Jackson law office (1830), The Oliver Schoolhouse (one room 1863) the Old Stone Fort and more.

The fort was built in 1772 and was originally a church. During the American Revolution it was fortified by enclosing the building in a within a wooden stockade.

Location: 145 Fort Road, Schoharie NY 12157

Website: Old Stone Fort Museum Complex

Historical Notes

The Railroad was chartered in 1866 as the Rondout & Oswego and eventually became the Ulster & Delaware in 1875. Crossing the dramatic scenery of the Catskill Mountains it was called the most scenic line in the east and helped create the Catskill tourist trade. It also transported agricultural products, lumber, bluestone and coal. Its use faded with the introduction of automobiles and trucks.

Directions To The Catskill Scenic Rail Trail

The trail also parallels New York State Routes 10 and 23 and there are several access points.

Recommended parking:

From Exit 20 (Richmondville) off of I-88. Drive south on Rt.10 to Stamford (20 miles). Turn southeast on Rt.23 for .3 miles, then head west-southwest on Railroad Ave. Park at the old train station on Railroad Ave or

From Exit I-87 (New York Thruway) at Catskill. Head west on Rt.23 to Stamford and follow above directions.

More information

For other long distance multi-use rail-trails in this region see New York Rail Trails

Catskill Revitalization Corp.
Box 310
Stamford, NY 12167

Phone: (800) 225-4132

Website: Catskill Scenic Rail Trail

Return To Top