Terry Gordon Trail

New York

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Terry Gordon Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Clinton
Length: 1.6 miles
Trail end points: Jay & Hamilton Streets and Nevada Oval East (in former USAF base)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017712
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Terry Gordon Trail Description

This multi-use community trail is a hit with locals, and it appeals to visitors—especially those with a yen for military history. Plattsburgh, New York, has figured in this country's war history from the American Revolution and the War of 1812 to the Cold War.

The Terry Gordon Trail (a.k.a. the Terry James Gordon Recreational Path) is part of Plattsburgh's developing network of on- and off-street bike routes and a river walk. Built adjacent to the Canadian Pacific Railway's still active main line along Lake Champlain, this rail-with-trail begins with a magnificent view of the lake and the Green Mountains of Vermont in the distance. Near the start, a stone monument dedicates the trail to Terry James Gordon, CITY COUNCILOR, COURT CLERK, HISTORIAN, RUNNER.

Traveling south, you'll be tantalized by glimpses of sparkling Lake Champlain to your left, while on your right you have a clear view of the community. Watch for the buildings of the U.S. Oval National Historic District, formerly Plattsburgh Air Force Base, which closed in 1995. The brick dwellings that once housed high-ranking officers are now private homes. At mile 0.9 you'll see the old stone U.S. Armed Forces Barracks, built in 1820. Ulysses S. Grant lived in one of these while stationed here as an army lieutenant. Just beyond, an overpass connects to the lakefront and a fishing pier.

At trail's end you can return the way you came. Or, better yet, vary your route by following bike route signs north, mostly off-road and along U.S. Route 9, to Clyde Lewis Park. You'll see an old cemetery that is well worth exploring, signs for the War of 1812 Museum and the venerable barracks from a different vantage point. Then cross the park to pick up the rail-with-trail and return to your starting point.

To make a day of it, get your hands on a map of Plattsburgh's connecting bike routes and historic attractions. Contact the Community Development Office for a map.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the northern endpoint from I-87, take Exit 36 and follow State Route 22 for about 2.5 miles until you reach a fork. Take the right fork at South Peru Street and go about 0.8 mile to U.S. Route 9. Follow Route 9 north about 0.5 mile. Turn right onto Hamilton Street and follow it for two blocks. The trail begins on your right, with a few street parking spots at the trailhead.

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