The Sullivan O&W Rail Trail is comprised of a series of rail trail segments created along the route of the old “New York, Ontario and Western (O&W) Railway,” a mixed passenger and freight line that crossed rural upstate New York, connecting Oswego on Lake Ontario with the New York metropolitan area. When the O&W stopped running in 1957, primarily due to sharp declines in the transport of coal and dairy, the rail corridor was subdivided and sold to multiple private owners. Since then, pieces in varying lengths have come into public ownership and developed as rail trails, typically associated with the town, village or hamlets they run through.
Currently, there are developed sections of Sullivan O&W rail trail in the communities of Mamakating, Woodridge, Hurleyville, Liberty and Parksville. Together they account for XX miles of the 50-mile main O&W rail corridor that runs through Sullivan County. (An additional O&W spur runs from Monticello down to Port Jervis, but no rail trail development has yet occurred in this area.) Trail length, surfacing, width and other design features vary from segment to segment, ranging from the 1.3 mile cinder trail in Parksville to Hurleyville’s 5.4-mile “Milk Train Trail,” of which 3.5 miles are ADA compliant. In Mamakating, branches of the O&W intersect with the D&H Canal towpath trail, enabling longer trips.
A feasibility study for connecting the existing disparate rail trail segments into a contiguous, regionally-scaled facility has been completed, and there are ongoing efforts to plan, secure funding and acquire the rights-of-way to build out the trail. Modern development, such as the expansion of State Route 17 into a future interstate highway, has made a complete build out along the old rail corridor an impossibility, so on-road connections are also being planned. On-road travel can also be used to go from segment to segment until new sections of off-road trail can be developed, or to create a loop with off-road segments.
Existing sections of the Sullivan O&W Rail Trail include:
Parksville (1.3 miles, cinder surface)
Liberty (2.5 miles, multi-surface)
Hurleyville to South Fallsburg (5.4 miles, multi-surface)
Woodridge to Mountaindale (4.4 miles, multi-surface)
Phillipsports to Wurtsboro
Bashakill area trails
Please refer to the trail listings for more information on these segments.