Ten National Recreation Trails to Check Out in New York

In honor of the International Trails Symposium and Training Institute, being held in Syracuse, New York this month, we have put together a list of ten National Recreation Trails to visit in New York State. These are just a sample of the dozens of NRTs located in New York State, so get out there and explore.

 

View from the Wilkinson Trail, located in Saratoga National Historical Park.

by Taylor Goodrich, Communication and Media Specialist, American Trails

Erie Canal Heritage Trail

Length: 65.30 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Rail Trail
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

More than three-quarters of the 365-mile long, off road Erie Canalway Trail between Albany and Buffalo is open for recreation. Walking the Erie Canalway Trail offers a glimpse of what walking across the state with a canal boat in tow might have been like. The trail is open to hikers, joggers, and bicyclists, as well as cross-country skiers in winter. Some sections are suitable for in-line skating.

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Riders enjoying the Harlem Valley Rail Trail - Dutchess County.

Riders enjoying the Harlem Valley Rail Trail - Dutchess County.

Harlem Valley Rail Trail - Dutchess County

Length: 10.70 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway, Rail Trail
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is a paved bicycle/pedestrian path built on the railbed of the old Harlem Line of the New York Central Railroad that connected New York City and the Town of Chatham. It is ideal for runners, bicyclists, walkers, roller-bladers, cross-county skiers, wheelchair users, hikers and dog walkers who enjoy combining the quiet beauty of rural landscapes with healthy exercise.

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Historic Champlain Canalway Trail

Length: 6.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway
Agency: City, Town, or County
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Historic Champlain Canalway Trail in the Town of Halfmoon is approximately a six-mile segment of a 58-mile long Canalway Trail corridor. The Town of Halfmoon participates in an on-going planning effort coordinated by the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program with the goal, "To complete and promote an attractive and continuous route for the Champlain Canalway Trail from Waterford to Whitehall, including historic towpaths, community attractions, and parallel on-street bicycle routes." The six miles of trail are located in a rural setting, with the trail bordered by farm fields, wetlands and wood lots.

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Paddlers take in the beauty of tidal wetlands on the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail.

Paddlers take in the beauty of tidal wetlands on the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail.

Hudson River Greenway Water Trail

Length: 256.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Water Trail, National Water Trails System
Agency:
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Hudson River Greenway Water Trail extends from the edge of the Adirondack Park at Hadley, NY, and the head of the Champlain Canal at Whitehall, NY, to Battery Park in Manhattan, a total of 256 miles. Designed for the day-user as well as the long-distance paddler, it includes 94 designated access sites. Day use attractions include wildlife marshes, islands, historic sites, cities, downtowns and hiking trails.

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Chenango Canal Towpath Trail

Length: 6.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

Today, 130 years after it was shut down, just one 5-mile-long segment of the original canal remains intact and carrying water. And along that historic stretch of canal, occupying the original towpath once plod by mules pulling canal boats, runs the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail. Easily accessible from U.S. Route 20 in Bouckville, where the Chenango Canal Association maintains a museum/visitor center during the warmer months, the level, 12-foot wide, unpaved trail is ideal for walking, jogging, horseback riding, bicycling (when the surface is dry), and cross-country skiing. Three geocaching locations also are in place on it.

But the trail along the placid canal waters and adjacent Woodman Pond near its southern end, invites visitors to tarry, observe the abundant birds and other wildlife, fish for trophy-sized trout, contemplate the marvel of the canal's construction, and even imagine the sights and sounds of boats heading for the locks that would lower them more than 700 feet to the Susquehanna.

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Martin Van Buren Nature Trails offers informative and interactive educational programs.

Martin Van Buren Nature Trails offers informative and interactive educational programs.

Martin Van Buren Nature Trail

Length: 3.70 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Backcountry, Greenway, Nature Trail, Snow Trail
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Martin Van Buren Nature Trail comprises 70 acres of land across from the Martin Van Buren Natural Historic Site. The four trails that cut through the park are organized by a color coded trail system and total 3.7 miles in length. Trails lead to a meadow, a stream and a marsh and exhibit various species of trees, shrubs, flowers and wildlife. The trail has gentle slopes for easy walking/hiking.

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Long Path through Mine Kill State Park

Length: 5.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Backcountry, Nature Trail, Snow Trail
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Long Path through Mine Kill State Park offers hikers an amazingly diverse blend of scenery and terrain ranging from spectacular viewpoints overlooking the Schoharie Creek and Blenheim-Gilboa Reservoir, to picturesque ravines shrouded in hemlock and white pine.

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The Sackets Battlefield's annual War of 1812 living history event.

The Sackets Battlefield's annual War of 1812 living history event.

Sackets Harbor Battlefield History Trail

Length: 0.75 miles
Loop Trail? Yes
Type: Greenway
Agency: State
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site (NY) is recognized by the National Park Service as a top national War of 1812 site. A history trail provides visitors recreation, plus a historic preservation learning venue. Ten interpretive panels along the loop trail tell the site’s story, the pivotal role played during the War of 1812 and Navy presence afterward. The trail unifies the 70 acre significant historic site core.

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Wilkinson Trail

Length: 4.20 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Greenway
Agency: National Park Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

The trail follows sections of the 1777 road system and traverses various British Military positions. There are a series of interpretation stations en route. Some steep grades and slippery slopes when wet.

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Beaver Lake Nature Center Trails System - Foxes near trail. Photo by Friends of BLNC.

Beaver Lake Nature Center Trails System - Foxes near trail. Photo by Friends of BLNC.

Beaver Lake Nature Center Trails System

Length: 10.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Type: Nature Trail, Water Trail
Agency: Nonprofit
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? No

This is a 10 mile trail system exploring various habitats, including a 3 mile canoe route including a water trail exploring a swamp. This trail offers a unique opportunity to experience a water trail and a walking trail all within ten miles, while taking in the beautiful atmosphere and viewing the wildlife and breath taking nature offered along the trail.

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About the Author

Taylor Goodrich started with American Trails in January 2018 as Communication and Media Specialist. Taylor currently lives in Dallas, Texas, which is also where she grew up and where she attended the University of North Texas receiving her degree in History. While in college she started doing freelance work editing and writing, and also got into graphic design and discovered she loves the creativity and craft of digital arts. After college she traveled quite a bit, and lived in both the Pacific Northwest and in New Mexico, and while in both of those places took full advantage of what the outdoors had to offer. After moving back to Texas she started moving towards doing graphic design, social media, and communications work full time, and she has contracted with several companies from tech startups, to music festivals, to law firms, to grow their social media and digital communications presence. Taylor loves hiking and kayaking especially, and is glad to be working with an organization that fights for further accessibility and stewardship of our nation’s trails. She feels very lucky that in this position she will be able to use her professional skills and passion for something she is also very personally passionate about, and in helping to grow American Trails.

Contact: taylor@americantrails.org


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