September 2011: A segment of the trail in the Fort Hunter area in eastern New York is closed until further notice because of the effects of flooding from tropical storm Irene. The adjacent roadway, Route 5S, is also closed. Long distance trail users should consider alternate routes, such as Route 5 on the north side of the Erie Canal from Fonda to Amsterdam. Please use caution if cycling the eastern portion of the canal corridor. Contact Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
for more information.
The diverse Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail is a rail-trail traveling through five municipalities, connecting ten parks, paralleling two rivers and offering dozens of scenic views. It is a mostly continuous asphalt trail with some on-road sections. The trail is the easternmost stretch of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
, which traverses the state from Albany to Buffalo. The segment between St. Johnsville and Cohoes is known as the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway (named for the two rivers it traces) and is a treat of woods, meadows and rivers interspersed with city and suburban neighborhoods. One of the on-road detours is through Schenectady's well-preserved historical Stockade district.
Built in a piecemeal fashion in the late 1970s and early '80s, this trail is still called by a different name in almost every town. In addition to referring to the map, you can get a detailed trail map, as well as a regional bike map, free from the Capital District Transportation Committee.
A good place to start is Albany's popular Corning Riverfront Preserve, easily accessible from Interstate 787 South and close to the trail's southern end. Head 0.5 mile to the trail's start at Riverfront Amphitheater and Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge, where you are rewarded with striking views of downtown Albany. Then turn around and head north with the interstate to your left and the Hudson River on your right. This portion of trail features woods and meadows, opening from time to time to river views.
After passing under I-787 at mile 4.8, you are diverted on city streets for about 4 miles. The bike route is well signed and manageable for cyclists used to riding with traffic. Don't miss the museum at the Watervliet Arsenal if you want to check out the country's oldestand still operatingweapons plant. On Dyke Avenue in Cohoes you cross marshland associated with the Mohawk River, which the trail roughly parallels from here to the end.
At about 9.5 miles, a short climb on residential Alexander Street takes you back to the railroad corridor. Here you get a bird's-eye view of the town of Colonie. The trail maintains a near-level grade in this pleasantly wooded interlude, with undulating lowlands and small hillsides around you.
About 1 mile after Colonie Town Park, the trail briefly deviates onto quiet residential roads to navigate around I-87. A short uphill takes you back to railroad grade and the trail. The first real view of the pristine Mohawk River and its wetlands at Delphus Kill comes as an awe-inspiring panorama just ahead. When you are ready to focus on the trail again, you will see woods, meadows and marshes, with occasional river vistas. The best of these is at Railroad Station Park (also called Niskayuna Lions Park) at mile 19.1. The community park is a popular trailhead, with bathrooms, picnic tables and benches. It's also a good spot to spy egrets and herons.
At mile 22.6, the trail forks, unsigned, diverging from its original alignment. Bearing left takes you on a short climb past Blatnick Park and ball field, an atomic research facility (the reason the trail diverged), and General Electric's Global Research facility before reentering the woods. Take care on this steep downhill.
By mile 26 the trail is approaching Schenectady, with urban backyards and church steeples piercing the horizon. When the trail crosses Nott Street at mile 28.4 there is a steep downgrade to the street. Once across Nott, you angle back to the rail corridor for a few blocks. The on-street portion begins at Jay Street in Little Italy. At mile 29 you enter the tree-lined Stockade Historic District, with restored Victorian period homes and churches along Union Street. Go left on Church Street (be alert because trees may obscure the trail sign), to State Street and turn right. At State and Washington streets, a bus stop on the Route 55 line offers the option to return to Albany; all Capital District buses have bike racks.
Stay on State Street for two more blocks until the bike lane turns right and continues for 0.25 mile, while passing under Route 5. Along the way are picnic tables and a platform for viewing herons wading in the inlet and boaters on the river. Just after you pass under Route 5, the dedicated rail-trail resumes to the right. The trail here is often wooded, with glimpses of the magnificent river. Ahead is an old lock for the original Erie Canal, and at mile 32.5, Lock 8, where modern-day boaters lock through to avoid the dam. Watching them is a popular pastime, made easy with trailhead parking.
In fewer than 2 miles you're at the Rotterdam Kiwanis Park trailhead with parking, picnic tables, pit toilets, a boat launch and great river views. From here west there is a 7-mile gap in the trail (on-road detour) to Amsterdam, where the trail picks up again and continues to Lock 17 in Little Falls. If you want to continue west on the Erie Canalway Trail, you can resume in Utica on the Port Byron to Utica
To reach the trailhead at Corning Riverfront Preserve, take I-787 South and exit for Colonie Street. Parking and the trailhead are about a thousand feet ahead on your left.
Rotterdam Kiwanis Park provides the closest trailhead parking for the trail's west end. To reach it from I-890, take Exit 1 and travel west on Route 5S. The park and trailhead are on the right in about a thousand feet.
We rode in early May and started at lock 16 in Mindenville and got just past the Little Falls boundary heading west. Lock 16 has about 8-10 parking spaces, but wasn't full. This is a great section of trail; a bit on the Mindenville end is next to the ...
We started this one on the Little Falls end. There was a small parking area behind some apartment houses at the trail endpoint. This part of the trail is paved. Initially it goes through a section that must have been blasted out to make the rail bed, ...
This is a nice trail for the first 8 miles and then it turns into city streets in Waterviliet (Waterford). From there it goes about 6 miles into Green Island and then back onto the trail. I would not recommend this part of the trail for famlies with little ...