OSI’s River-to-Ridge Trail showcases how protected land not only safeguards our natural resources and provides terrific recreational opportunities, but how it can also strengthen communities and support local economies.
The trail, a scenic and recreational off-road loop, was created by the Open Space Institute in partnership with Mohonk Preserve, and with support from the Butler Conservation Fund. It meanders through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, connecting New Paltz directly to the Shawangunk Ridge and 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve; the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail; and the Empire State Trail.
A vision, fulfilled
The first step in our goal of creating the River-to-Ridge trail was protecting the land. A series of OSI acquisitions along the Wallkill River and adjoining agricultural flats, totaling 360 acres, set the stage for the construction of the River-to-Ridge Trail.
In developing the route, OSI gave careful consideration to avoiding sensitive wetland areas by constructing culverts, accommodating neighboring farming operations, choosing proper trail materials and design and identifying designated parking options.
The River-to-Ridge Trail marks another milestone in the long legacy of the Shawangunk Ridge carriage roads and trails that have provided pathways to nature for over a century. It is our hope that like the carriage roads, the Trail will continue to serve the community for generations to come.
Getting There & Trail Map
The River-to-Ridge Trail is located less than two hours from New York City in the heart of the Hudson Valley. The trail begins on the edge of the Village of New Paltz just west of the Carmine Liberta on Route 299. The trailhead and parking area is located at 41 Springtown Road, New Paltz, New York 12561. Trail Map available here.
Honoring the Land's Earliest Inhabitants
OSI's Land Acknowledgment Statement at the River-to-Ridge Trail:
It is with gratitude and humility that we acknowledge that we are standing on the ancestral homelands of the Munsee Lenape, the indigenous people whose lands extended throughout the Hudson and upper Delaware valleys, stretching from western Connecticut to eastern Pennsylvania.
The Munsee people who lived in the lower Wallkill Valley cultivated crops, harvested the land and water for fish and game, and engaged in far-reaching networks of trade and diplomacy, all the while fostering deep reverence for the land and water that sustained them.
Archaeological evidence from the area surrounding the River-to-Ridge Trail indicates widespread, continuous occupation of the immediate area for at least 9,000 years.
Like so many indigenous people of that time, the area’s Munsee people, also referred to as the “Esopus” in colonial written records, were forcibly removed from their lands to territories in the west.
Today, the Munsee people’s continuing Tribal Nations reside in Oklahoma, Ontario, and Wisconsin and are known as the Delaware Nation, the Delaware Tribe, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.
These communities maintain a deep connection to their ancestral homelands and share an enduring commitment to protecting it. We pay honor and respect to them and their ancestors as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.
OSI in the Region
Over the past four decades, OSI has protected nearly 33,000 acres on and around the Shawangunk Ridge, in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster counties—a total more than twice the size of Manhattan. This work, achieved with the support of local partners and generous donors, has expanded parkland, created trails, preserved local viewsheds, and protected vulnerable farmland and wildlife habitats.
Committed to protecting the 50-mile Shawangunk Ridge and improving public access to protected lands, OSI is also supporting the creation of a local rail trail network, rebuilding Victorian-era carriage roads, and adding a visitor center to Minnewaska State Park Preserve. In partnership with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, OSI also restored the Rosendale Trestle.