Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail

Note: As of our June, 2015, we have resurrected our efforts! This site does not yet reflect this new status. Furthermore, we have expanded the scope of our efforts to include the entire Saratoga to Tahawus Corridor. A 90-mile trail from the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail to the heart of the Adirondacks. Our Facebook Page Facebook Page has the latest information. We'll get around to this old website later.

This proposed trail will follow the rail corridor that was used to support a mining operation in the central Adirondacks. It begins in North Creek and follows the Hudson River until crossing a long bridge just downstream of the Gorge Section. It then runs in the valleys formed by the Boreas River and its tributaries. The trail rejoins the Hudson in Newcomb for the final run to one of the most fascinating places in the Adirondacks - Tahawus. This is the site of old iron mines, a ghost town, the southern trailhead to the High Peaks, and the very source of the Hudson River.

This corridor is awesome! Take the tour!

The completed trail would be the only major “bike trail” within the Adirondack Park, providing a much-needed opportunity for cyclists, both visiting and resident. As a public multi-use trail, the goal is to appeal to the broadest number of people. The trail will be a boon to the health and economic stability of Adirondack residents.

We began this effort in June, 2009, and attempted to acquire the corridor from the owner, NL Industries, the owner of the former mine in Tahawus. Our plans were thwarted when Iowa Pacific Holdings - a short-line railroad that won the franchise to operate Warren County’s tracks to the south - purchased the Tahawus corridor in late 2011. Their stated intention is to haul tailings from the mine in Tahawus, and perhaps material from Barton Mines if they develop a product based on their tailings.

It is not at all certain that Iowa Pacific will be successful in this enterprise. If they are very successful in Tahawus, the tailings pile will be depleted quickly. Accordingly, they may find themselves with a non-producing asset in the reasonably near-term, and the corridor may become available for trail conversion again. On the other hand, Iowa Pacific stated that their goal on the county-owned line was to develop freight business, that carrying passengers would be unprofitable. After a year of operations, the opposite has occurred; this may be their unstated intention for the Tahawus line as well.

The silver lining in recent events, however, is that some legal uncertainties about trail use are being settled favorably by Iowa Pacific’s activities. And in order to gain New York’s blessing, Iowa Pacific promised to cooperate with the Rail Banking Statute when they eventually abandon the line - no later than 2062 when the ROW on state land expires. This statute allows trail use when abandoning a railroad corridor would otherwise result in reversion to adjoining property owners.

So, our effort at this point is to keep the idea alive, maintain a formal organization that can take action, and be prepared for the next opportunity. Trail projects often spend a lot of time in this sort of situation, with an uncertain outcome. In our case, given recent events, we’ll have to wait, but we don’t have the uncertainty - this corridor will become a trail someday.