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HomeHikingExcessive View Tunnel – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Excessive View Tunnel – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest


October 22, 2022 – Wurtsboro, NY

Problem: Simple

Size: Roughly 2 miles

Max elevation: 810 ft.– whole elevation achieve roughly 150 ft.

Route sort: Out and again

Free map: Shawangunk Ridge Path Map – 2016

Purchase Map (Paper & Avenza): Shawangunk Trails Map 106B – 2019

Trailhead parking: 26 VFW Highway, Wurtsboro, NY 12790

Filth parking space for about 10 automobiles – No restrooms on website

Please Be aware: It’s not secure to enter this tunnel as a result of it has not been maintained because the 1950’s, it’s flooded and there’s the hazard of falling particles together with different hazards when exploring deserted locations. It is usually rumored that individuals have drowned within the tunnel. 


Overview:

The Excessive View Tunnel, also called the Shawangunk Tunnel or the Bloomingburg Tunnel, was accomplished in 1871 by way of the Shawangunk Mountains by the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad (NY&OM), predecessor of the New York, Ontario & Western Railway (NYO&W or O&W). At 3,855-foot in size, Excessive View is the longest among the many 4 tunnels on the O&W.

High View Tunnel

Excessive View Tunnel

Though the tunnel is positioned on property owned by the New York-New Jersey Path Convention, the Excessive View Tunnel is adjoining to Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest the place there’s trailhead parking for the Lengthy Path/SRT on VFW Highway. Because the the hike begins and ends in Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest, I named it as a part of the state forest with a view to make it simpler to establish its location.


Historical past:

The New York, Ontario & Western Railway (O&W, NYO&W) was a regional railroad that related Oswego, New York to Weehawken Terminal in New Jersey. On the finish of the nineteenth century, the O&W Railway was one of the best ways for New York Metropolis passengers to make their option to the Catskill Mountains. It’s the first notable railroad in America to have its mainline completely deserted.

New York, Ontario and Western Railroad

New York, Ontario and Western Railroad

In 1868, the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad (Midland), predecessor to the O&W, started constructing its mainline from Weehawken, New Jersey to Oswego, New York. The route chosen would go by way of the Shawangunk Ridge through a tunnel between Wurtsboro on the west and Bloomingburg on the east. Building started in 1868 at each ends of the tunnel. Three years later, Midland accomplished the Excessive View Tunnel after excavating by way of 3855 toes of Shawangunk Grit. When the employees lastly met within the center, to everybody’s delight they have been just a few toes aside.

The Excessive View Tunnel operated from 1871 till 1957 however not with out its issues, primarily water and falling rock. Whereas Shawangunk Grit is impervious to water, the open seams working by way of the grit are good waterways. As soon as deserted, the tunnel continued to tackle water with nobody taking steps to dewater the tunnel. In the meantime, NYS Route 17 was constructed over the Excessive View Tunnel and, at one level, future plans referred to as for a ramp immediately over the North Portal. These plans have since been scrapped.

In 1980, presumably in response to rumors of a drowning within the Excessive View Tunnel, an try was made to seal the North Portal. Regardless of efforts, the portal wasn’t utterly sealed and the ensuing massive particles pile within the entrance of the North Portal allowed much more water to gather within the tunnel (the crest of the tunnel is close to the South Portal which is non-public property). An early 1970’s view of the masonry North Portal exhibits already some deterioration had taken place. This offers indication that maybe as a lot as twenty toes was collapsed and excavated within the try and shut off entry.

High View Tunnel - 1970's

Excessive View Tunnel – 1970’s

The New York Division of Transportation grew involved that the upper water ranges (estimated at 13 toes in some locations) may weaken the tunnel, posing a menace to Route 17 (I-86). The DOT cleared the particles from the North Portal in 2006, thereby lowering the water stage to about 3 toes nearest the North Portal.


Hike Overview:

I visited the Excessive View Tunnel in 2016 and determined to pay it a return go to. Not a lot has modified since then, however the deserted railbed appears to have taken on extra water or at the very least it appeared that approach. On this go to, we couldn’t get as near the tunnel as final time because of the quantity of water close to the doorway of the north portal of the tunnel. A lot water that Gaia GPS has it listed as “Excessive View Tunnel Outflow Stream” on its on-line maps. Though I had on waterproof boots, the water was a lot deeper than the highest of my boots. Additionally the bottom was muddy sufficient in locations to suck the boots proper off your toes in the event you stepped within the improper spot.

High View Tunnel

Excessive View Tunnel

The hike begins at VFW Put up 4947 which is the previous Mamakating Depot for O&W Foremost Line and is on the identical grade because the Excessive View Tunnel. Lengthy earlier than O&W trains stopped working in 1957, the corporate had closed the Mamakating Depot. The constructing was in disrepair when VFW Put up 4947 bought it for his or her base of operations.

Mamakating Depot

Mamakating Depot

VFW Post 4947

VFW Put up 4947

There may be parking alongside the left facet of the constructing as you drive in. DO NOT block the gate or the doorway highway. There’s a scrap yard close to the doorway to VFW Highway that has a number of barking canine of varied sizes. We heard them barking as we started the hike, and as we have been returning to the parking space, two medium sized canine approached us barking, however retreated as soon as I yelled at them. Only a heads as much as be vigilant in the event you resolve to go to.

This can be a comparatively straightforward and easy out and again hike. If you happen to so select, you possibly can stroll again down VFW Highway, bypassing the path and cross the highway to succeed in the deserted railbed. I selected to make use of the SRT/Lengthy Path south to succeed in the highway and a brief part of the railbed between the VFW and the highway to return to the parking space, to get rid of the highway stroll.

High View Tunnel

Excessive View Tunnel

As you possibly can see from the elevation graph, it’s a comparatively stage hike.

elevation profile - High View Tunnel

elevation profile – Excessive View Tunnel


The Hike:

Stroll to the again of the parking space in direction of the gate. past the gate is the continuation of the deserted railbed heading north. To the correct of that concrete block are three white blazes on a tree. That’s the begin of the Connector Path that results in the co-aligned Lengthy Path/SRT. The White Path climbs for about 400 toes till its terminus at a T-intersection with the Shawangunk Ridge Path (SRT). Flip proper on the junction and observe the SRT south because it weaves its approach by way of the woods.

VFW Road trailhead parking

VFW Highway trailhead parking

White Connector Trail - Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

White Connector Path – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

White Connector Trail - Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

White Connector Path – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Long Path/SRT - Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Lengthy Path/SRT – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Long Path/SRT - Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Lengthy Path/SRT – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

In about 350 yards, the SRT reaches Sullivan County Route 171 (Mamakating Highway). Right here the Lengthy Path/SRT turns proper and begins a highway stroll, however you need to fastidiously cross the highway. This can be a hairpin curve the place automobiles velocity by with a restricted sight distance so be alert when crossing right here.

Long Path/SRT - Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Lengthy Path/SRT – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Instantly throughout the highway is a bridge abutment that supported the railroad bridge. To the left of the abutment is an entry highway that results in the deserted railbed. Observe the highway up the hill and switch left, heading south.

Sullivan County Route 171 - Mamakating Road

Sullivan County Route 171 – Mamakating Highway

Access Road to abandoned railbed

Entry Highway to deserted railbed

Abandoned railbed - High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

As soon as on the railbed, it’s a few 0.7-mile, largely flat stroll to the north portal of the Excessive View Tunnel.

Abandoned railbed - High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

In one other 350 yards or so, on the left, there’s a concrete phone sales space. The C.F. Massey Firm, primarily based in Chicago, manufactured these enclosures for any variety of functions, similar to phone cubicles, outhouses, watch shanties, and oil storage sheds.

Abandoned railbed - concrete telephone booth

Deserted railbed – concrete phone sales space

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

Not removed from the concrete phone sales space, there are nonetheless some concrete footings that supported the sign towers.

Abandoned railbed – concrete footing

Deserted railbed – concrete footing

A brief distance later, because the railbed approaches a rock minimize, there are some leaning bushes and warning is suggested when strolling beneath them.

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

After passing by way of the rock minimize, you’ll arrive on the Excessive View Tunnel Outflow Stream. This stream flows out of the north portal and programs downhill to your proper. Do your finest to maintain your toes dry on this space.

High View Tunnel Outflow Stream

Excessive View Tunnel Outflow Stream

On the correct facet of the railbed is an outdated explosives journal, used for the “day storage” of explosives. The strong stone partitions, inward opening metal door, and flimsy wooden roof have been designed to comprise any unintended blast and direct it skyward. It was used through the tunnel’s building, and presumably in later years to assist clear the frequent cave-ins that occurred.

Abandoned railbed – explosives magazine

Deserted railbed – explosives journal

The water will get deeper and the grip of the mud will get stronger as you close to the tunnel.

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

That is about so far as we obtained on at the present time. I didn’t need to threat shedding a boot or getting water excessive of my boots.

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

The picture under is from 2016. It was taken from about the identical spot because the picture above. Discover the row of rocks within the foreground lined throughout the railbed. These similar rocks at the moment are underwater within the picture above in 2022.

Abandoned railbed – High View Tunnel

Deserted railbed – Excessive View Tunnel

High View Tunnel

Excessive View Tunnel

High View Tunnel

Excessive View Tunnel

Since we didn’t get as shut as I might have appreciated, I included a picture from 2016 of the inside of the tunnel.

High View Tunnel - 2016

Excessive View Tunnel – 2016

From right here it’s only a matter of retracing your steps again to CR 171 (Mamakating Highway) and thoroughly crossing the highway. As an alternative of taking the Lengthy Path/SRT, we discovered the deserted railbed on the north facet of the highway and adopted that again previous the VFW, to the parking space, the place the hike started.

Access Road to abandoned railbed

Entry Highway to deserted railbed

Abandoned railbed on north side of CR 171 (Mamakating Road)

Deserted railbed on north facet of CR 171 (Mamakating Highway)

Abandoned railbed on north side of CR 171 (Mamakating Road)

Deserted railbed on north facet of CR 171 (Mamakating Highway)

VFW Post 4947

VFW Put up 4947


Evaluation:

A brief hike, but it surely could possibly be made longer by taking the deserted railbed north from the VFW or for a tougher hike, you possibly can take the SRT/Lengthy Path north in Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest. The tunnel itself makes for focal point in addition to the remnants of the railroad that when handed by way of right here.

Professionals:

Excessive View Tunnel, railroad ruins, secluded space.

Cons:

Quite a lot of water close to the north portal of the tunnel.


Take a hike!

High View Tunnel – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest

Excessive View Tunnel – Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest


Sources:




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