Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest, NY

Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest - New York New Jersey Trail Conference

GPS Coordinates 41.577162, -74.464917

View Larger Map
Parking at the VFW Post looking back at the entrance drive.

Shawangunk Ridge Trail Map 3 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest, NY at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.7 miles

Continuing beyond the VFW Post, to the left is the abandoned rail bed with is the return route, to the far right, the three white blazes indicating the start of the connector trail to the Shawangunk Ridge Trail/Long Path.
The trail switchbacks up ...
... to the ridge.
Route 17 in the distance.
Looking back to the south.
The trail descends then ascends to the ridge of the mountain ahead.
A pretty creek crossing before ascending.
Kohl's warehouse down below.
The mountain we just came from behind us.
There is lead contamination in the area from tailings from old lead mines.  These warning signs are so far away from the trail I needed the 35x zoom to read them.
The Catskills in the distance but unfortunately they were under low cloud cover.
The best shot I could get when the clouds lifted a bit before covering the mountains again.
Looking back at Kohl's warehouse with the airport next to it.  It was a very windy day so that might be why no planes were flying.
A fire tower up ahead which runs near the trail beyond where there hike is going.
Break time.  We had to find a sheltered spot since it was too windy at the open views.
One final look at the partially cloud covered Catskills before descending.
The one on the right grew right through a hole in a dead leaf,
A pretty creek crossing.
Hoping this is far enough away from the lead contamination.
On the other side of the creek a yellow-blazed trail leave to the right and follows the creek for a bit.  This trail leads to a parking lot less than a mile away.
After the yellow trail intersection, the blue circle blazes become the Long Path aqua blaze.
The trail crosses Ferguson Road; here we turn left.
It's about a 3/4 of a mile road walk on Ferguson Road with a few cars passing.  The worst part is all of the garbage dumped on the side of the road and off the road down into the woods.  I have never seen anything quite like it and it really put a damper on an otherwise lovely hike.
Turn left just beyond an abandoned mustard-colored house at this old red structure ...
The left at the yellow gate on to the abandoned rail bed, which for the most part is a gravel road that doesn't much resemble a rail bed.
This is how you can tell you are on the rail bed.
A couple of unattractive pits along the way...
... littered with shotgun shells.
There are some interesting parts like the old stone farm wall on the left and cascades along the way.
Several paths join in from the left which I think might connect back to the Shawnagunk Ridge Trail/Long Path.
Down below the canal with the D&H Canal Path which I was thinking might have been a better option as most of the rail bed was not that nice.
Passing through the section where the runoff from the lead mines would be heading downhill and again the signs were so far away they required 35x zoom to be read.
Finally the gravel stops and it looks more like a rail bed.
And a garbage dump.  I have never seen so many dumped couches, mattresses, televisions and tires.
Back at the VFW Post.
Helmeted Guineafowl along the road on the drive out.  We really like them because they eat ticks!
Back at home, a bath and blow dry to get rid of any lead she might have picked up.

[  0.00]  Continue towards abandoned rail bed then right right on white-blazed trail
[  0.15]  Left on aqua-blazed Long Path/Shawangunk Ridge Trail (blazed blue through state forest)
[  1.65]  Cross woods road
[  1.90]  Cross woods road
[  2.30]  Cross woods road
[  3.95]  Rock hop creek and continue on blue; yellow to the right leads to parking lot
[  4.20]  Turn left on Ferguson Road
[  5.35]  Turn left on paved road at mustard-colored house with red barn
[  5.45]  Turn left at yellow gate on to abandoned rail bed
[  6.40]  Woods road goes to the left
[  7.30]  Trail comes in from the left
[  7.65]  Gravel road with yellow gate and stop sign goes left
[  7.90]  Footpath to the left with no motorized vehicles sign
[  8.70]  Back at parking

for jerseytrekker:


  1. You have an outstanding blog for hiking. So informative and wonderful images to give the viewer a real sense of what the hike will be like.

    1. Thank you, Lesley! So glad the info is of help.


  2. What a wonderful hike! You have a perfect hiking partner too. It was a beautiful trek, but youre right, the garbage really is a buzzkill. Have you ever been on Waterloo Valley Road? That place is freaky with all the garbage and hillbilly looking dwellings. anyway, really enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Pat! Yes, she is the best hiking partner EVER! Always willing to go, never complains, knows exactly what to do and does it. I have not been to Waterloo Valley Road and based on your description, probably not something to add to the bucket list :(


  3. I have gone on this trail starting in Wurtsburo. From Wurtsburo to Ellenville we call that trail the "mattress trail" due to all the garbage. The trail isn't monitored enough- seems to be a hangout for teenagers with lots of beer bottles. Once in Ellenville, it is cleaner - the views are very pretty there

    1. Yes, I hiked out of Ellenville a couple of weeks ago and not one single mattress :)


  4. jerseytrekker says:
    Based on your comments about the trash on the railbed, we decided to take the canal path back. Just follow Ferguson Road to 209, then make a left and walk down about 100 yards to the gate
    on your left (there is no sign). The canal path is beautiful. Right before you get to the gate at the end of the canal path, make a sharp left and bushwack on State land to the railbed which is about
    200 feet away. Only problem is that the railbed ended at 171, not the VFW, so we had to walk
    uphill on 171 a couple hundred yards to the VFW. Was there some side trail you took to the VFW?

    1. You must have hit a different rail bed or a woods road since the one I was on led straight to the VFW.

  5. jerseytrekker says:
    It was definitely an abandoned railroad we hiked because of the terrain cuts and the ballast, but when I looked at the USGS map for Wurtsboro, there is only one abandoned railroad shown. Makes me want to go back and hike it backwards. Thanks for all of your blogs.

    1. EveryTrail has been down so I can't get my track. I have it on Google Earth but don't know how to get it back into a file I can upload elsewhere. That will teach me to not save my tracks myself! I did a screen shot of my track on Google Earth and will paste right after the hike summary so you can see it. I am guessing you came out at McDonald Road/Leadmine Road from the canal path? I see a faint line from there that runs east of what looks like a swamp and goes straight to 171 just west of the VFW. I bet that McDonald Road once went straight across the tracks but it looks like it ends at private property now.


  6. jerseytrekker says:
    I checked the USGS quadrangle for Wurtsboro again and it shows my railbed but not yours, so I am thinking there must be two railbeds...this will remain a mystery for now