Appalachian Trail Community: Harlem Valley (Dover & Pawling, NY)

The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community™ (HVATC) was born of a unique partnership between the towns of Dover and Pawling, in Dutchess County, New York. One of 48 A.T. Communities, we serve as a portal to a section of the Appalachian Trail just 65 miles north of New York City.

The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is our management club, one of 31 organizations which maintain the 2,190 miles of Trail from Georgia to Maine. We have established partnerships with the National Parks Conservation Association, Dutchess and Oblong Land Conservancies, Groundwork Hudson Valley, Hike for Mental Health, The Nature Conservancy, Schaghticoke First Nations, Harlem Valley Homestead and Brookby Farm.

We also partner with the veterans service organizations Sierra Club Military Outdoors and The Mission Continues.

Proximity of the Appalachian Trail to the Metro-North Railroad Harlem Line connects this outstanding recreational resource to approximately 8 million people in New York City, allowing the area to become a “backyard” for our neighbors to the south. HVATC considers Metro-North a significant partner in offering urban residents affordable access to the natural resources of the Harlem Valley. MNR provides public access to public lands.

Looking for other outdoor recreation activities in the Harlem Valley? Additional trails include the Dover Stone Church, Pawling Nature Reserve, Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge (Nellie Hill Tract,) Lakeside Park and the nearby Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. The Ten Mile River is stocked with rainbows by NYS DEC; the Great Swamp is magical for canoes and kayaks; West Mountain State Forest (Dover,) is a Multiple Use Area where you can hunt, fish, camp, mountain bike, ride on horseback, cross-country ski; the Harlem Valley Rail Trail offers 10.7 miles of a paved path for biking and walking. Cyclists bring your bikes on the train and enjoy our rolling hills dotted with farms worked for five generations to those started by young people leaving urban areas to combine farming with other rural experiences. Birders bring your binoculars: the AT is Ground Zero for bird migration and the Great Swamp is in the Atlantic Flyway for waterfowl.

The highly visible A.T. Boardwalk over the Great Swamp in Pawling is a testament to the efforts of the many area volunteers who had a positive impact and now experience the pride of ownership. The multi-year project to upgrade the walk over NYS’s third largest freshwater wetlands included over 45 volunteers, who contributed over 3,000 hours, and has attracted many new visitors to the Harlem Valley.

The early history of the Harlem Valley, also known as the Oblong, shows that the hills and valleys were areas of open forests, thick swamps and sparkling waters inhabited by members of the Schaghticoke and Pequot Tribes. Colonial settlement under the first land patent in eastern Dutchess County was established in 1704. After the Revolution, municipal divisions were established and the Pawling Township encompassed modern day Dover. In 1807, the New York Legislature separated 26,000 acres from Pawling to create the Town of Dover. Members of the Schaghitcoke First Nations are an important part of the Harlem Valley Community.   

We appreciate the Trail’s beauty and cultural heritage. HVATC is committed to outreach and education so that others may enjoy it now and for years to come. Input from community to better meet the needs of day, section and thru-hikers is welcome. You can help us by taking this survey.

To volunteer, or inquire about the Trail and points of interest in the small, rural towns in the Harlem Valley, please contact [email protected].

Will you help us help you by taking this quick survey?

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A.T. Train Stop/Boardwalk to Dover Oak (A.T. stop is weekends only – during the week you can take the train to Pawling or Harlem Valley/Wingdale.)
Nuclear Lake

HVATC Large Map

HVATC Small Map for printing

HVATC’s home base is Native Landscapes, at the crossroads of the A.T. Boardwalk, RT 22 and Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Valley Line. Native Landscapes Proprietor, Pete Muroski, co-founder and member of the HVATC Board, offers rest and rejuvenation to thru-hikers just a few steps north of the RR crossing. 

Pawling is home to the only railroad stop on the Trail, and Metro-North makes regularly scheduled weekend stops at the A.T. Boardwalk.

HVATC Media:

Dutchess Tourism presents Research Report; Appalachian Trail Top Destination, Pawling Record, April 2019
Hikers Enjoy Trail Magic Day, Pawling Record, August 2018
HVATC Brochure 2018; Trail Day, Saturday, October 13, 2018 
National Trails Day 2018 Pawling NY
HVATC Co-Hosts National Trails Day 2018 event
“Thanks to all who keep the Appalachian Trail accessible,” PoJo, Aug 2017
Majestic Maintenance ATJ Summer 2017 Article
Harlem Valley A.T. Community Receives Dutchess Tourism Award of Distinction
"National Parks and A.T. deserve support" Millerton News, Nov 2016
HVATC Trail Day, Millerton News, Oct 2016
Floral Fireworks, AT Journeys, May/June 2014
A Tale of Two Towns, AT Journeys, Jan/Feb 2014
Not Bogged Down, AT Journeys, July/Aug 2012

Application, 2012
HVATC Letters of Support
Town of Dover 
Town of Pawling