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Following the route of the former Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Railway, the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail serves as a scenic oasis and community connector for residents living southwest of Albany. In 2018 the final section of the trail was paved; now, 9 miles of flat, asphalt-surfaced pathway is available through several of the state capital’s suburbs. Although largely traversing residential areas, the pathway offers views of picturesque bridges, creeks, and woodlands throughout. Watch for deer, turkeys, bald eagles, and other wildlife along the way.
Starting just south of Albany—where there’s a trail-specific parking lot—the trail heads west, quickly crossing under the I-87/New York State Thruway. This eastern end of the trail is not far from the Hudson River, and the trail’s grade gently climbs as it moves away from the river. A mile from the start, you’ll cross an old railroad bridge over Normans Kill (kill being a Dutch term for “creek”).
From the bridge, it’s 2.2 miles to Bethlehem Veterans Memorial Park, which includes several benches to rest and enjoy the peaceful setting. From Bethlehem west, you’ll also find three trailside workout stations. As you continue, the trail passes within blocks of the center of the pleasant hamlet of Delmar, which provides a variety of services, such as restaurants and shopping.
Artwork is being added to the trail, and as you pedal through Delmar, you’ll see a whimsical mural of bright flowers and trees painted by a local artist near the intersection of Adams Street and Hudson Avenue. A mile farther down the trail, as you travel under Cherry Avenue, you’ll also see the pillars of the overpass painted with floral motifs.
After continuing through Slingerlands, where there is a parking lot on Kenwood Avenue behind the Slingerlands Fire District, you have 3.7 miles more to go before reaching Voorheesville. At the end of the trail in Voorheesville, travelers will find a pavilion that harks back to the railway station that once occupied the space.
To reach the Albany trailhead from I-787 S, take Exit 2 for S. Pearl St. Merge onto Green St., and go 0.1 mile. Turn left onto S. Pearl St., and go 0.7 mile. A parking lot for the trail is just south of the intersection with Old S. Pearl St. and Kenwood Road. From I-787 N, take Exit 2, and turn left onto Vine St. Immediately turn left onto Green St., go 0.4 mile, and follow the directions above.
To reach the trailhead in Voorheesville from I-90, take Exit 1S and merge onto Adirondack Northway, heading south. In 0.8 mile turn right onto US 20 W/Western Ave. Go 0.2 mile, crossing over I-87/New York State Thwy., and make the next left onto Church Road. Stay on Church Road 1.5 miles, then turn left onto Johnston Road/County Road 203. Johnston Road becomes Normanskill Road and then Voorheesville Road/CR 306. Stay on these for a total of 3.5 miles. Turn right onto Grove St., and drive 0.2 mile, almost to the end of Grove, near the train tracks. The parking lot and rail-trail pavilion will appear on the right.
My son and I stopped to the Voorheesville trailhead which is considered the end of the trail. We biked from here to the start of the trail in what's considered Albany. This is a great trail. From the beginning in Albany to Voorheesville is slightly uphill going but the way back is more of downhill feel (this coming from my 12 year old son). He did say this is one of his favorite trails we've ever done! They have bikers tools and air pumps at the beginning of this trail which is cool. Lots to see also along this trail. Will definitely make the travel to do this trail again! As described it is 9 miles each way.
The waterfalls near the eastern (Albany) terminus are beautiful. Going east to west (Albany to Voorheesville) you gain elevation, but the trail is never more than a 5% grade and usually less. There's an air pump for your bike tires at the eastern terminus.
We had been waiting for the new paved section of trail to open connecting Slingerlands to Voorheesville. It opened and they did a terrific job. There is limited parking at the Port of Albany trailhead but it’s a great ride of about 9.5 miles from there to Voorheesville. At the Voorheesville end the trail ends at a small park that has a new gazebo where an old railway station used to be.
I love this trail and ride it 3 - 4 times a week. The western section from Slingerlands to Voorheesville is not yet paved, but is rideable with a fitness or mountain bike.
There is a parking lot on South Pearl street, the eastern end of the trail. There are bike tools and a pump located at this lot, as well as CDPHP rental bikes.
I and my dog usually turn left on the trail out of Delmar, towards the South Pearl trail head. Within a few minutes, you feel as if you are in the middle of the forest - it's peaceful, with lots of wildflowers and wildlife. I regularly see deer, turkeys, and once, a bald eagle.
I feel fortunate to live so close to this wonderful resource, and greatly appreciate the time and resources that went into creating it.
We started our ride at the South Pearl St. parking lot, which is a terminus of the trail. It is located right outside the "hood" in Albany. If you need water before your ride, there's a convenience store about a half mile north of the parking lot.
This is a nice ride, which skirts the river at first then passes through neighborhoods. There are only a few street crossings.
The trail is about half paved and half mixed surfaces. When the pavement ends, there's a short segment of large gravel rocks, which can be avoided by going on the adjacent road at the "No Thru Traffic" sign. It'd be wise to avoid this segment on a road bike. It then becomes a mixture of dirt and crushed gravel.
The scenery is nice and the leaves are now displaying their colors. It is a good connector between Albany and Voorheesville, where the trail ends at a large gazebo-like structure and wooden train to play on. This area appears to be in the process of completion.
what a great trail..... beautiful surface, great views, very well maintained, hazard areas are fenced off, many beautiful garden/park type entrances...what's not to like! AND at the half way mark you can get an ice cream at stewards in delmar...my kind of trail....
The trail is restored and paved from the Slingerlands parking lot to the Port of Albany (5 miles). It is a fabulous addition to the area.
The trail between Delmar and Albany has seen a lot of progress since the last poster. There are 2-3 sections that are now paved and most bridges have been renovated (the one over the normanskill is completed). I have hiked the length of the trail summer and winter and find it very nice for being so close to my home in Delmar.
It is not very used and the only issue yet to be resolved is the rt 85 bridge/barricade that is very complicated. I just walk down to rt 85 by the firehouse and then pick it up again on the other side. It's not that busy of a road except during rush hour, but I would not cross it on skis.
Although some of the trails seems to border on suburban back yards, a lot of it is rural and peaceful, especially from rt 85 to voorheesville and the section after Delmar, before the normanskill bridge.
Nice ski Trail abruptly ends in Slingerlands,A LOT of parked vehicles by fire station/ village deli (large moving truck crossed right in front of me and would not
yield as I walked with skis from what seems to be where
trail ends (Deli/barbershop) parking lot)other than that seems to cut through some desolate to peoples back yards really straight to Delmar,are snowmobiles allowed? saw tracks. got some nice winter shots can I post them here?
The Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail is entering a period of accelerating development.
On October 30, 2014, Albany County selected a low bidder for the construction work which will lead to a 10-foot paved path from South Pearl Street in Albany to a location west of Delaware Avenue in Delmar by Fall of 2015.
Development of the Trail from Delaware all the way to Voorheesville continues at a good pace.
In tandem with Trail work, planning and team-building is underway in the City of Albany on an exciting project. It will create the Albany South End Bike Way Link -- a connector between the Rail Trail and the newly expanding multi-use path in Albany's Corning Preserve ... and New York State's network of biking and walking paths.
Visit the Friends of the Rail Trail's Flickr site at: http://flickr.com/friendsoftherailtrail
Visit the Albany South End Bike Way Link's Flickr site at: http://flickr.com/albanybikewaylink
I walked the entire length from Port of Albany to Voorheesville in pieces in 2009, and rode from Voorheesville to the Normans Kill in October 2014.
It's a nice trail, some of it is quite suburban, some a little rural.
A lot of work has been done on the trail in recent years, but there's more to be done.
Even so, I'd recommend it.The surface is fairly smooth and very flat. Most of the rough patches of railroad ballast have been smoothed out and the brush cut way back. The bridge over the Normans Kill has no deck, which is why I walked it but did not ride it.
We have walked 3 different sections(Voorheesville, Slingerlands and Delmar) with our 2 year old twins, we found it enjoyable and easy for them to walk on their own or us to carry in backpacks. Hoping we can get to the other sections before the weather turns :)
The trail head is about 1/4 mile from my home and we have used it a lot.
I am thoroughly enjoying it. I do not find it noisy except when CSX train pulls through village (on nearby tracks) or as you approach the bridge over Route 155.
Besides walking and jogging,I have trail biked & cross country skied it to Slingerlands end.
Parking area is being prepared now at Voorheesville Ave.
So glad this is accessible to us and look forward to it's completion to Albany.
As it currently exists, this trail is pleasant but mediocre. Traffic is heard during most of it, with the exception of about 1/3 mile, which goes through some nice woods. The best part is the western half. None of the trail is paved, but traveling it is easy.
Currently, bikes are not permitted, though I have no idea why. Although inappropriate for a road bike, an ATB would have no problem here. A small section of it (the section through the woods) is on a filled embankment. with perhaps a 20-30 foot drop off to either side. But the RR bed at this point appears to be 12 - 15 feet wide, flat, with no obstructions, and with dense vegetation on either side of the trail at the edge of the drop offs. I'm sorry to say, but anyone on a bike who is dumb enough to fall off the trail and down the embankment is more to be pitied than censored. There is nothing else on the trail that could even remotely be considered a hazard.
Refreshments are available at either end. (On the western end, there is a deli located in the building that houses the barber shop. It's not obvious from the trail.)
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