Date: July 5, 2015
Distance: 14.45 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 131 feet
Our Bicycling Time: 2 hours 14 minutes round trip
Kendra has a lot of homework for her summer classes. Mountains of reading and volumes of writing, which means she’s usually working while I am with the kids. This weekend she studied from home, so Addison and I went on an adventure while the twins were napping! We stopped at one of our new favorite spots for lunch, the Otter Creek Bakery, followed by a long ride on the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail.
The trail, on the former Washington Branch of the Delaware & Hudson railway, runs 19.8 miles through Vermont. Unfortunately, it is split into a Northern and Southern section on either side of the 15 miles of the line that weave through New York; that land fell under private ownership after the branch was retired. We chose to bike the northern section and parked at Castleton State College.
Addie helped me get the bikes ready – for our longer rides, she uses a trailer bike attached to mine. We packed our snacks and water, and set off toward New York. The trail quickly narrowed from a wide path of packed dirt to a single tire track. Grass brushed our toes as we sped through woods and wetlands, and alongside farms.
I was surprised by the number of people we passed on the trail. Most were biking, but there were a couple of runners and walkers, and two women preparing to hike El Camino de Santiago. We spotted about an equal number of people and cows as we sped over small wooden bridges and across country roads.
While biking, we spotted horses, cows, bulls, chipmunks, and even a bunny! Addie was delighted with the experience – she kept saying, “I’m mountain biking!!!” There were definitely spots of rocky mountain-bike terrain on the trail – we could never take the twins in their Thule Coaster on this trail.
We turned back once we hit the second trailhead in Poultney. We both wanted to continue the two miles to the New York border, but I knew that would tack on another 30 minutes to an already long ride, so I played it safe and we headed back to Castleton.
There are two trailheads for the northern section of the Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail – one at Castleton State College and a second in Poultney village next to the old train station on Depot Street.
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 a row of designated D&H trail spaces.
Parking in Poultney: Parking is on-street at the trailhead. Take Rt. 30 into Poultney, and turn onto Church Street. The trailhead is on the left in .2 miles.