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The Waterford segment of the Champlain Canalway Trail begins on the Mohawk River at the Old Champlain Canal Lock 4 and continues north following the old canal towpath past Lock 7 to Upper Newtown Road on the line between Halfmoon and Mechanicville.
The southernmost section, south of the Erie Canal Lock 2, is currently in bad shape and desperately in need of maintenance. The section north of Lock E2 is in much better shape having been resurfaced in October 2021 as far as Lock 5, along with the opening of the section between Lock 5 and Upper Newtown Road.
The trail crosses the Erie Canal in downtown Waterford. The trail splits and a short section runs south along the east side of the canal and passes the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center (1 Tugboat Alley,). This short spur connects with the Black Bridge Trail (part of the Empire State Trail) at the corner of Second Street and Front Street. The trail will be extended north of Upper Newtown Rd as far as Mechanicville (and a connection with the Zim Smith Mid-County Trail) with grading.
This trail can be accessed easily from the Black Bridge Trail (just follow the street or canal side path up the hill to Lock E2) and parking areas on that trail. Street parking is available in Waterford near Lock E2. There is a dedicated parking lot at the northern terminus on Upper Newtown Rd in Halfmoon. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
The CDTA's public transit system provides access to the trail. Visit the CDTA website to plan your trip and refer to the TrailLink map to find your most convenient transit stop.
The key to enjoying this trail is knowing what to expect. It is a packed gravel trail that is a little washed out in some places. They did pave some of the hills, too. Since it is gravel, there isn’t as much traffic as a lot of the other rail trails in the area. The Waterford part ends at the lock. The lock welcome center has restrooms when it is open. When we stopped there on a Sunday, they had live music and food. We saw lots of dragon flies, chipmunks and other wildlife on the ride. The Cohoes side is not as well maintained as the Halfmoon side. The openings to cross the road are a bit narrow and the signs are covered in graffiti. The Cohoes side could use a face lift, but I would not skip it.
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