Lehigh & Hudson River Railway

Lehigh & Hudson River Railway, Pequest WMA (4/20/2013)

Ever since hiking a snowy network of blazed trails in Pequest WMA back in February, 2010 it's been our intention of heading back to hike the railbed of the old Lehigh & Hudson River Railway which runs through the Pequest WMA.

So today we returned to hike the 4.2-mile stretch (twice). It's hike #20 ("Pequest Fish and WMA") in the book 24 Great Rail-Trails of New Jersey. We parked at the eastern end off Pequest Road in Townsbury and headed west all the way to the impressive abandoned viaduct just east of Route 31. This viaduct carried the now-defunct Delaware, Lackwanna & Western Railroad (D.L. & W.) mainline over both the Pequest River and the L. & H.R.

The first and last thirds of the bed we hiked traverse nice remote terrain with the middle third paralleling Route 46 very closely but the roar of the Pequest River is enough to buffer the sound of the sparse traffic on the road. This pre-Civil War railroad lasted until the 1960s and, according to the book, during World War II Franklin Delano Roosevelt's heavily guarded train from Washington D.C. to Hyde Park was a regular sight on this stretch. Loads (perhaps all) of the original signaling poles are still in place, something quite rare on rail trails, with even the lines still attached in a few spots.

Total distance hiked was 8.4 miles in under 3.5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Eastern trail head in Townsbury

Pequest River parallels

63 miles to Maybrook, 9 to Belvidere

Poles still in place

Old equipment box

Remaining glass insulator

Private drive crossing


Ties still in place!

Heading west

RR equipment

Sandy blow-down hopping

Interesting tree markings

Sandy damage? :)

Abandoned control boxes?

First bridge over ...

... the Pequest River

Giant steps

Bridge rivets

Mountain north

[Photo by Laura]

Trailside bamboo

Trail parallels ...

... lovely Pequest River

View west

Skunk cabbage

Spring has arrived

Cleared blow-downs

Colorful blooms

Parallels backyards

Claw of dead vulture

Second bridge over river

Fishing in the river

Remains of furnace

Continuing west


Blow-down remains

Lots of ties along the way


Windy path

Gorgeous ...

... swamp ...

... south

Swamp further west

Pequest River

Abandoned equipment

Heading to ...

... the L&HR viaduct

RR bridge goes through it

Some of the ties are crumbling

Passing through another arch

Fishing in the river

[Photo by Laura]

Viaduct looking east

RR bridge through the arch

Heading back to RR bed

Back east

Bamboo tip

Pequest from the bank

Blooms over river

[Photo by Laura]

Old fence slat and bamboo

House and barn in the valley

Sandy blow-down

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