The Rosendale Trestle was originally opened in April 1872 to serve the Wallkill Valley Railroad along its line from New Paltz to Kingston. The bridge was built of iron, in five spans, supported by heavy stone piers and abutment, along with iron columns. At the time of its construction, it was the highest span bridge in the United States. The bridge was rebuilt in 1895 to address safety concerns associated with the new steam locomotives as well as longer and heavier trains.
After over a century of service the Rosendale rail line closed in 1977. The bridge was then sold to a private businessman in 1986 and briefly used for commercial bungee jumping. Ulster County seized the property in 2009 for delinquent taxes, and subsequently sold the property to the Wallkill Valley Trust and Open Space Conservancy.
Due to the many years of prior neglect, the bridge underwent extensive renovations in order to ensure its safety for the public. The Rosendale Trestle officially reopened to the public in June 2013. Today, the 940-foot trestle is part of the popular 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail that runs from Gardiner to Kingston.
Rising 150 feet above the Rondout Creek, the trestle provides amazing views of the Rosendale hamlet, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Joppenbergh Mountain and the surrounding countryside.
The 500-foot Joppenbergh Mountain, despite what would be its diminutive size in other locations, seems to fit perfectly in Rosendale, providing a dramatic backdrop as walkers and bikers cross the Rosendale Trestle on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The mountain was actively mined in the late 19th century for dolomite, which was used to manufacture natural cement. Visitors can take an easy hike to the top of Joppenbergh Mountain for a birds-eye view of the Rosendale Trestle.
The Rondout Creek, underneath the trestle, flows 63 miles from its origin on the col between Rocky Mountain and Balsam Cap to its confluence with the Hudson River at the city of Kingston.
The village of Rosendale is beautifully situated along the Rondout Creek and at the base of Joppenbergh Mountain. In addition to the trestle, Rosendale is also home to the equally interesting Snyder Estate and the Widow Jane mine, The 1850 House Inn, the Rosendale Theatre and several shops and restaurants.
The parish at St. Peter’s Church was established in 1855 to meet the religious needs of the rapidly growing population of Rosendale that was closely associated with the cement industry and the Delaware & Hudson canal. The church building was constructed 20 years later in 1875-76, with the first service taking place on Christmas Day, 1876. The church, over 150 years later, continues to play an active role in the Rosendale community.
Parking for the Rosendale Trestle can be found at the Binnewater Kiln parking area on Binnewater Road, off of Route 213, north of the trestle. Parking for the hike up Joppenbergh Mountain can be found at Willow Kiln Park, just off of Main Street, in the village of Rosendale.