When the Mundane Becomes Treacherous

Trailsnob is an accurate word to describe me. I don’t try to hide it and appropriately so, because it’s pretty obvious. I’ve been fortunate enough to ride some world-class trails and it’s made me pretty jaded. Ignorance is bliss they say, and there’s some truth to that.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Rosendale Trestle Mountain Biking

Consequently, I’m not much of a “rail trail” rider. I like the idea of them and they have my full support, but there’s only a certain number of times I can ride in a straight line without any climbing before I lose interest. I still make it out a few times a year, mostly for A) transportation, B) because everything else is too wet or C) because my legs are thoroughly cooked.

The exception to this rule is when we get a little bit of snowfall. I’m a sucker for that Winter Wonderland stuff (in moderation) when mere inches of powder turns a rather ordinary ride into something pretty damn special (and particularly challenging when there’s a sheet of ice underneath it). Because of the aforementioned ice, singletrack is out of the question, as even the slightest incline had me sliding all over.

Walkill Valley Rail Trail Snow Mountain Biking

This trail, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, runs 20 some-odd miles from Wallkill, NY to Kingston, NY following…you guessed it…the Wallkill River. Most of the route is wooded on either side with a variety of different foliage, many parts encapsulated by a canopy of snow-capped evergreen branches – the kind of scenery that inspires classic northeast folklore.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Snow Shawangunk Ridge

When the trees do break, I’m gifted with spectacular views of the Shawangunk Ridge and a 180-foot tall railroad bridge affording a view of Joppenbergh mountain above and the hamlet of Rosendale down below.

Wallkill Rail Trail Town Rosendale Trestle Snow

The trail terrain itself is not particularly exciting apart from the aforementioned icy base and omnipresent XC skiiers (cordial folks by the way). The views however, make the effort worth it.