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Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail

Central Vermont

Historic / Family
Trail Description

Location: West Rupert to Castleton. Rutland and Bennington Counties.

Directions: Northern trailhead: Parking at Castleton State College. Drive west on US Rt.4 from Rutland, exit 5 to Rt.4A west. After .5 mile turn left into college entrance (Seminary St.). Turn right into visitor parking area. At end of lot are row of designated D&H trail spaces.

Parking is also available in appropriate public parking locations in the Villages of Poultney and West Pawlet.

Trail Length: 19.8 miles

Trail Surface: Ballast

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Trail Use: Bicycling, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobile, cross country ski

Caution: Multi-use recreational trail. Ride responsibly. Use caution at road crossings.

 

Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail Map

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

The Trail:

The historic Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail straddles the border between Vermont and New York and is ideal for a family mountain bike tour that travels through scenic farmland and rural villages. Two impressive rail bridges can be seen along the way.

The two sections of the trails in Vermont are separated by 15 undeveloped miles in eastern New York State (not yet developed for recreational use). It follows the old railroad bed of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, connecting Rutland, VT with Albany, NY.

The two nearly 10 mile sections pass through a rural scenic area with views of nearby hills, open farmland, forests, wetlands and villages. The flat grade, smooth ballast and cinder surface and wood-decked bridges of the northern section make this a great ride for cyclists of all abilities (as long as you ride a mountain bike). There is a bridge with a stream running underneath that makes a lovely place to stop (just south of Poultney) for a break or lunch.

The surface of the southern section is more varied and rough with original ballast, gravel and grass and can become quite narrow. Watch for wildlife such as beavers, herons, and ducks along the way. The variety of trees, shrubs and wildflowers provide a summer habitat for many songbirds.

 

Historical Note:

The Delaware and Hudson Railroad, locally known as the “Slate Picker”, played a vital role in the slate industry of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Roofing slate was moved to markets across the north Atlantic region by rail. Trucks, highways, high freight costs, decline in the slate market and loss of passenger service all contributed to the decline of the railroad. The line was abandoned in the early 1980s. Some impressive rail bridges (Poultney and West Pawlet), train stations and vestiges of old industry can be seen along the way.

 

 

For More Information:

State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
RR 2 Box 2161,
Pittsford VT 05763

Phone: (802) 483-9374

 

 

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