Major Segment of Empire State Trail Opens in Putnam County

MTA Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi is joined by other Putnam County officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Maybrook Trailway on Mon., January 4, 2021. The 23-mile trail segment parallels a disused section of railroad track, and is part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail.
(Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)

MTA Metro-North Railroad officials last week announced the completion of the Maybrook Trailway, a 23-mile segment of the Empire State Trail Putnam and Dutchess counties.

The Maybrook Trailway is a vital link in the Empire State Trail, launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo as the longest state bike and walking pathway in the nation, spanning 750 miles from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo.

The segment was built by Metro-North with $42 million in state funds. It runs alongside an unused railroad line owned by Metro-North known as the Beacon Line, formerly owned by the Maybrook Railroad Company. 

“Governor Cuomo’s vision of a state-spanning trail a reality, and for giving new life to this area along Metro-North’s Beacon Line,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “This project ensures that outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the trailway for decades to come. Metro-North is proud to have played a role in the creation of this trailway. Healthy, socially distanced outdoor recreation never seemed more important than it does now.”

The trail is an eight to 10-foot-wide, asphalt-paved path. Essentially free of hills, the non-motorized trailway is designated for shared use by bicyclists, runners and walkers of all ages and abilities, and in winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers. Along the route, the trailway winds through rural landscapes and wooded areas featuring seasonal waterfalls and crosses the Appalachian Trail.

The new trailway’s southern trailhead is in the Village of Brewster in Putnam County. It runs northwest to the hamlet of Hopewell Junction in Dutchess, passing through the towns of Southeast, Paterson, Pawling, Beekman and its northern trailhead in East Fishkill. In Brewster, the trailway connects to the existing Maybrook Trailway, a 5.5-mile scenic route along the East Branch Reservoir in Southeast, and Putnam Trailway that connects with Westchester County’s North County Trailway enroute to New York City.

The Metro-North station in Brewster provides access to the trailway, as does the northern terminal of the 1 line at 242 St-Van Cortland Park. New York City’s largest portion of the Empire State Trail – The Hudson River Greenway – can also be reached by numerous subway stations and bus routes in Manhattan from the Battery to Inwood

“We are especially grateful to Metro-North Railroad, which built the 23-mile Maybrook Trailway from Brewster to Hopewell Junction despite facing difficult financial times,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Metro-North has always been a good partner to the county and, once again, the railroad has shown its commitment to Putnam residents. The new Maybrook Line section of the Empire State Trail is an amazing asset and a great way for cyclists and walkers to see the natural beauty that Putnam County has to offer.”

Putnam County Legislator Joseph Castellano added, “The trailhead at Tonetta Lake in the Town of Southeast is surely the most beautiful section of the trail, which runs alongside lakes, forests and rolling hills. The Maybrook Trailway not only expands the opportunities for outdoor recreation in town, it will benefit businesses in the Village of Brewster.”

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