Basha Kill Area: Southern Loop

10.4 miles
VS - Very Strenuous
Location
Basha Kill

 
Trailhead GPS: Coordinates N41.5379 W74.5197

Getting There: Take Route 17/I 86 to exit 113 and head south on Route 209. After about 1.7 miles Haven Road appears on the left. Turn left here and drive to the parking area on the left to park.

Difficulty: This hike is rated VERY STRENOUS since it is over 10 miles long. Despite the length the hike is almost completely flat. Parts of the trail can be very wet and other parts are hard to follow.

Trail Surface: The trail on the eastern shore going is an abandoned railroad bed which is almost completely flat. This part of the trail is mostly packed dirt and gravel. The path to the tower is rougher with dirt and some tree roots. As the trail heads southwest along the railroad bed, it is very close to the marsh and can be very wet at times. Near the southernmost end the trail comes out onto local roads. As the trial return to the northeast, it follows the canal towpath which is a little rougher with dirt and stones and some tree roots.

Hike Description: Start your hike by walking southeast on Haven Road through the marsh toward the rail trail on the eastern shore. Turn left or northeast on the rail trail as soon as Haven Road clears the marsh. There is an access road to some parking areas which you may follow. The trail here is relatively firm even when it has been raining. After about a mile watch for a trail to an observation tower and turn left on this unmarked trail. Within .1 miles you will be at the tower which is more of an observation platform. There are nice views over the marsh to the north and west. Return to the main trail and turn right or southwest walking back to cross Haven Road. At Haven Road cross to the other side and follow the rail trail southwest. The trail can be VERY wet in places especially after it rains so you may have to cross from one side to the other or use the banks to make it through this area. The banks are covered in barberry and some other thorny brush so making progress can be slow and painful. The rail trail dries out after this but still may have a few muddy spots along the way. There are views of the marsh all along the way. The trail is extremely straight which is not surprising given that it is the old railroad bed. At 3.7 miles there is one of the larger parking areas just off South Road and near the Basha Kill Winery. The water is more open in this area and people like to canoe or kayak from here. When you leave the parking area, continue on the trail which is often wet and muddy. In about .4 miles the Long Path markings appear to head to the right off the rail trail but this may be a dead end. Continue to head south on the rail trail and watch for a sign that says “Long Path”. At about 4.3 miles the trail again may became wet and muddy. Turn left off the trail and walk out to the road. AVOID private property postings as there are a few in the area. Once on the road, continue south and at 4.5 miles the road will cross a small stream. Look to the left and see a beautiful waterfall. The posting in the area is unclear so read carefully before proceeding! Walk to the base of the falls and get a view of the water flowing down over a wall of rock. Walk back out to the road to continue. Walking on the road goes quickly and in about another mile at 5.5 miles into the hike there is a small parking area on the right with an observation deck. The deck gives a nice view of a stream flowing out of the Basha Kill. Turn right out of the parking area and walk to the intersection. Turn right on Otisville Road which runs out to Route 209. The D and H Canal towpath should intersect the road just before Route 209. If you cannot find the towpath, walk out to Route 209 and turn right on the road. Walk .2 miles on the road, to a sign for the Basha Kill and turn right down this dirt road. As you approach a flat area a path turns left across a field and into the trees. As you enter the trees and walk up a small incline turn right. This is the towpath. The canal and the towpath have an interesting history. The canal ran to the left or west of the towpath and in many places the canal is still very obvious. There are still stone walls on either side of the canal and even the trees that now grow in it cannot hide it. Head north and then east to get around a hill before heading northeast for most of the rest of the trip. The canal is now dry in most places but in some areas there is water which hints at the original purpose. In a few places you will see bridges of rock built across the canal. After the canal was no longer in use, these bridges were built across it to reach the towpath and the Basha Kill. At 7.5 miles a dirt road runs down to the Stonefield parking area and this continues for about .35 miles. Continue on the towpath when the road turns into a parking area and at 8.25 miles there will be a bridge that was built over the original canal. The span of the bridge no longer exists but the stonework that made up the abutments is still there. Also present are the stone walls that lined the lane that leads up to the bridge. A little further on the trail crosses a chasm on a wooden bridge. Just to the left is another stone bridge that crossed the canal. At 10.1 miles there is a gate which leads out onto Towpath Road. This short road soon intersects Haven Road. Turn right and walk .3 miles back to the car.

Terrain Difficulty
VS - Very Strenuous
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