Yes, we just moved to Purchase, NY a minute ago. So I’m new. But I’m also jonesing to get my #MTB on. As I’ve searched for an optimal writing environment, I’ve also searched for some single track. I’m not disappointed. I’m fascinated both by the first places I’ve found with the history.
The ‘Old Put’ was the Putnam Division of the New York and Northern Railroad line. It ran passengers and freight from the Bronx to Brewster from 1872 until 1970. That’s when I was born. But let’s not focus on that.
Here’s some historical pictures of this railway – Click Here.
In the 80s, while I sported MC Hammer pants, New York was converting this old railway to trailway. A part of the Rails to Trails movement. The first section was from highway 117 to the Briarcliff Manor Public Library. About a mile from Pleasantville and The Black Cow Coffee Company where I write.
Today, this North County Trailway is about 22 miles from Mount Pleasant to Putnam County. On the south end it connects to the 14-mile South County Trailway. On the north it connects to the 12-mile Putnam Trailway. In total this system offers just nearly 50 miles for tour bikers and walkers.
Graham Hills County Park is 430 acres beside the North County Trailway. It is the site of a small settlement associated with Graham Station on the Putnam Division. Created in 1931, it was named after Isaac Gilbert Graham, who lived here and was a doctor in the U. S. Revolutionary War.
The main attraction is about 9 miles of intermediate to advanced single-track trail. I love the diversity of riding available here. There’s well contoured hard pack and some crazy rocky sections. Some rocks are unavoidable, but others are set up as 2- to 4-foot challenges you can navigate around. There’s only about 375 feet of elevation change between the lowest and highest sections.
Here’s the best map I can find digitally available – Click Here.
Confident bikers will find 3 black-diamond trails with rocky sections on some steep downhill. Intermediate riders will enjoy the blue trail out the parking lot. Follow the numbered junctions 1, 3, 4 and 6 to keep from getting turned around. From there I take the climb to the left and get that over with for a nice cruise, following the sun around the hills.
My favorite part is just downhill from the parking lot. It’s a confusing section. The trail makes many loops around stone walls that survive the Graham Station settlement. I don’t know the exact motivation for these leftovers. In other places farmers created them as they cleared rock from the soil so they could dig into the ground. I love the hard work they represent, the technique that varies from one area of the country to the next, the fact they remain 85 years later.
And I don’t mind breaking a sweat on some rock. But while there won’t be so much to show for it, I’d prefer to do it with a bike or some climbing gear. It’s just a different way to explore this adventure of life.
Check out my Meerkat stream at Graham Hills and watch for more live streams from my adventures. – Click Here.
For more history on the Putnam Division of the New York & Northern Railway, the Westchester Guardian is currently running a series entitled “Remembering the ‘Old Put’”! Click Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 and scroll down to read.