Zim Smith Trail

New York

Zim Smith Trail Facts

States: New York
Counties: Saratoga
Length: 7.5 miles
Trail end points: Ballston Spa and Coons Crossing Rd. (Halfmoon)
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Crushed Stone, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6032552
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Zim Smith Trail Description

Considered "the backbone" of an emerging network of trails in Saratoga County, the Zim Smith Trail, sometimes called the Zim Smith Mid-County Trail, connects the towns of Halfmoon, Round Lake Village, Clifton Park, Malta and Ballston Spa.

The best place to start is at Malta's Shenantaha Creek Park, about 2.75 miles south of the northern terminus. The park offers convenient access to the rail-trail and is an appealing destination in its own right. The park's picnic tables, playground equipment, tennis courts and volleyball net could turn an exercise session into a full afternoon's outing. here are also public toilets and a drinking fountain.

As you enter the trail from the parking lot, turn left to head toward the village of Round Lake and Halfmoon. The rail-trail is, for the most part, wooded with a few homes visible beyond the trees as you leave the park. The trail rolls gently downhill, with pretty views into a ravine to your left, and a slope rising to your right.

About 1 mile south of the park, the trail passes under Interstate 87, the Adirondack Northway. Nearing Round Lake, the trail is more settled, and you can see backyards and horse pastures through the trees.

A handsome white frame church, other period buildings and a welcome sign signal your arrival in Round Lake Village. Treat yourself to a spin around the quiet streets of this Victorian hamlet and its ornate gingerbread cottages. The village was a Methodist camp meeting site that swelled with thousands of visitors each summer. The 1885 Round Lake Auditorium, at 7th and Wesley streets, is home to a 34-foot-tall, historically significant pipe organ. The auditorium is still in use—not for delivering sermons but with a lively performing arts program.

From Round Lake Village the trail crosses over Route 9 and through a portion of the town of Clifton Park. The trail turns east upon leaving the park. A pond on the south side of the trail signals the end of the developed trail at Coons Crossing Road.

Parking and Trail Access

For the Shenentaha Creek Park trailhead in Malta: from I-87 take Exit 12; go around the circle and west on Route 67. Continue on 67 until it intersects East Line Road at a traffic light. Turn left on East Line and go about 0.5 mile, watching for the park entrance on your left. Follow the entrance road to the parking lot and trail.

Zim Smith Trail Reviews

We have walked this trail numerous times and just love it.
Bikers need to either use a bell or announce "On your left" when coming upon walkers/joggers.
Wish there were mile markers from end to end.

I was there yesterday and entered the trail in Round Lake near Leah's Bake Shop. We rode north for a little bit but found the trail was closed for construction. Not being familiar with the roads in the area, I am not sure how much of it was closed but it was after the highway overpass.

It is a beautiful ride with lots of nice places to stop for refreshments. The Village of Round Lake is lovely.

Great bike trail to chill and ride down on a nice day

Accordion

This is a great trail. The surface goes from paved to crusted stone. Both are equally smooth. It's easily ridden on a road bike. A journey on this trail makes for a nice fall foliage ride. Also, the quaint town of Round Lake is worth a stop.
We rode from the Oak St. parking area (on-street) in Ballston Spa. If you GPS 198 Oak St., it takes you right there.

Not sure if this has been mentioned in previous comments, but the trail was extended another couple of paved miles to the north to Oak Street in Ballston Spa. There is on street parking on this dead end lane.
There is also a two mile spur trail, signed, about midway which runs through the woods to US Route 9.
I concur with the many reviews I have read, the trail is well maintained and is fairly well shaded.

Perfect day, with no negatives. Trail is not completely paved. But these areas are smoother (like glass)than a lot of paved roads. Would not attempt with a road bike tire of 23mm, if wet. No issues dry.

Great trail. It is a bit short if you're into long bike rides, as in more than two hours. However, most of it is paved and wide. So, it's perfect for safe multi use.if you're familiar with the eire canal trail, you'll enjoy this one.

Fantastic Trail, a great portion of it was shaded which works really well for those hot summer months! Would highly recommend!

I took my dog to this trail yesterday. overall the trail was very nice. It was well maintained, and pretty enjoyable!

My only complaints are about a family who's home is near the trail they had two dogs running off leash and it really made the experience unpleasant for me

Also I found a tick on my dog as soon as I got home so watch out for that!

I'll definitely visit this trail again!

From one terminus to another, this is a mostly shady trail, with exception of a mile of a half mile of so in the Curtis Lumber Industrial area. Observe caution at the intersection of Eastline - a very busy area. Terrain is easy. A lovely side trip is into Round Lake Village to admire the small gardens and small Victorian homes. Leah's Cafe where the bike trail crosses Curry Rd. is a charming spot for a break. Great birding along the swampy area near the Coon's Crossing terminus. Courteous cyclists and walkers everywhere. If you're squeamish about snakes, be aware that in the area between Shenantaha and Ruhle Rd. you can count on seeing them on the path on the Fall. My only negative comment is that from one end to the other, I can count on passing through at least five areas with a strong sewage smell. It has been that way for five years with no improvement or resolution.

We have young kids, ages 1-6 and we enjoyed biking on this trail in small sections. There were plenty of stopping points including a playground and a park and a Stewarts for a snack. Just a good trail for inexperienced riders and a leisurely bike ride.

Half paved, half gravel. Gentle grades with some nice scenery. Not dangerous for little children (or adults!) and a generally very pleasant (but not exciting) biking experience offering great exercise in a pleasant environment. I look forward to biking here again soon.

The trail has some nice scenery - ravines at Shenantaha Creek Park and a pond near the trail’s end at Coon’s Crossing that was stunning in the fall (late afternoon). I posted the photo in the gallery. Easy and flat... folks along the way all very friendly !

More PICs and an pld Railroad map on my blog:
http://rc-pedalpoint.blogspot.com/2013/11/zim-smith-trail.html

My family and I enjoyed a very nice day riding on the Zim Smith Trail. We had great weather with a nice breeze, which always makes a big difference. The bugs were not bad at all on this occasion. My daughter was the only one who complained a bit, but we discovered that she was wearing a perfume/body spray that I'm sure contributed to the problem. The sewer smell from a previous listing was present in one area, but tolerable until we could pass through. We peddled south from the Shenantaha Creek Park down to English Rd, total round trip approximately 9 miles, total time with breaks about 1hr 15min. Overall we were very satisfied, and agreed we would return again.

My wife and I tried this trail this past Saturday. Unfortunately we have encountered the worst insect situation ever. We are not strangers to dealing with insects on our biking adventures, but nothing can compare to what we discovered on this trail.

We parked in Shenantaha Creek park and tried riding in both directions from the parking lot. Both attempts ended with the same result: eventually we came across a wooded area that had a strong smell of sewage and were brutally attacked by swarms of brown insects which had a wingspan of about 3/4 inch. As we were riding I could see a brown cloud of them chasing my wife. This felt like a scene from a horror movie.

I do think that this infestation is related to the sewer smell rather than to the simple fact that the path runs through woods. Once we rode past the village of Round Lake and off the section where the asphalt ended, I actually saw a sign that said something about the sewer. I stopped to make a picture of the sign, but insects took this opportunity to attack me with all the viciousness they could muster. Therefore I had to hop back on my bike and pedal to get out of there as fast as I could.

The next day we rode Warren County Bikeway, which turned out to be completely insect free, even though the terrain was similar. In fact, none of the trails we rode recently were this bad. We go on Saddle River Park trail often: commonly there are swarms of small insects near water, but they never chased us. One weekend ago we tried the Dutchess Rail Trail - even though it was also hot and humid we encountered curious individual insects and not aggressive swarms.

This leads me to believe that the problem is individual to the Zim Smith trail rather than the season or the terrain. Even though the scenery is nice and the pavement is in good condition - even the non-paved section is comfortable to ride on a road bike - we will avoid this trail.

This trail is very pleasant and scenic. It's mostly flat and well paved. We got on by parking at Shenantaha Creek Park, off of Eastline Rd. Biked south to just past Round Lake: nice trees, safe crossings, some scenic water and bridges, mostly flat. Biking around Round Lake was fun too. Unfortunately, signage is not very clear. The path goes north to close to Ballston Spa, but coming from Ballston Spa we could not find the beginning ... I ended up getting back on the path at the Underpass Rd, and then followed the path north to the end, where it ended up at Oak St off of East High. So: if you come from Ballston Spa: go east on East High, turn right on Oak St (right after the railroad overpass), and just follow that to the end and you'll see the start of the trail. No signage though! Also, the map currently on TrailLink does not show that northern section.

This truly is a great trail; very picturesque. The best section by far is that south of Shenentaha Creek Park, which winds its way mostly through dense woods and some wetlands, and also past the village of Round Lake (which is made up of dozens of Victorian cottages - a wonderful village to cycle around in for a short diversion from the trail).

The last 3 miles of the trail south (east) of Rt. 9 are hard-packed gravel. Though unpaved, it's very smooth, and should offer no obstacle for road bikes. Indeed, I passed several people on road bikes on that section of the trail.

The total length of the trail is now 8.8 miles. It has been extended north from what is indicated on the map on this web site, to just outside Ballston Spa, a bit shy of E. High Street. Ballston Spa is a great village, containing dozens of large, restored Victorians in its Historic District. There are also numerous shops and restaurants in the downtown area. However, traffic is very heavy, and it is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

When is the Zim Smith Trail going to be fully marked??....I start out at Coons Crossing and the mile markers are only marked to Round Lake...It would be nice to mark the whole trail to Ballston Spa.

This is one of my favorite trails for biking, running and rollerblading. The northern end was completed last fall and now connects to Ballston Spa. I can now bike to my favorite tea house up there! Some paving has gone on south of Round Lake to just before the bridge at Rt. 9. I hope that is the end of the paving in that direction as the firm gravel trail at the southern end is wonderful for running. There is a nice connection about a mile south of Round Lake that leads into the trails in the Usher's Road State Forest. This is about a 2 mile loop with bridges over the small stream and very nice walking/running along the forested route. The road from the southern entrance to the trails can be followed further south up into the hills in the town of Halfmoon for a nice ride/walk/run (albeit somewhat strenuous on the initial climb) with excellent views to the east of the rolling hills east of the Hudson and the Berkshires and Green Mountains in the distance. In the spring when the orchards on the hills bloom, the combination of fragrance and sunrise over the mountains cannot be beat.

I was on the trail yesterday and work is being done to extend the trail from underpass rd to Balston Spa. The bridge north of Underpass rd is paved and paving has been done north of the Bridge. Work has been done at the end of the trail. I havn't been able to find out when it will be formally opened

Hello,

I am an avid horseback rider, and recently spoke with the Cornell Cooperative extension equine division and they said that the trail was open to horses. We have ridden the trail twice this year, and it is beautiful! There is limited parking, you might find some in Malta, and in Halfmoon. There is enough space for 1 trailer at the trail head in Ballston Spa, right on underpass road. The CCE told me that the only thing that we as horse people have to respect is that we need to stay to the side of the trail so as not to drop any 'presents' for the other passer-bys. That, and most of the trail is asphalt, so I would much rather walk on the grass anyway. So if you are a horse person, check it out! And please, respect the trail and use common sense so not to ruin it for others. Thank you and happy riding!!

The trail is open from underpass rd in Balston spa to coons crossing. There appears to be a bridge north of underpass rd that is still not completed. Once the bridge is completed the trail will be about an other mile longer into Balston Spa. The completed trail is 7.5 miles long and is very well maintained. There are few road crossings. Unfortunately there are no signs directing people to where the trial begins.

Fall 2008 - After all of the construction being done on the I87 bypass, the bike trail is finally open again. The original trail has been regraded and fully paved. In addition, the trail has been extended to the North for approximately another mile. However, this new section of the trail is unpaved but hard packed. Still road bikes and mountain bikes can easily ride the additional section of the trail. For additional details on the trail, see my previous post for a great ride on the Zim Smith Mid-County Trail.

I found this trail on Trailink, and decided to check it out. Unfortunately, it appears that it's under construction -- it looks all ripped up, and there are large orange signs that say, "Trail closed." Perhaps they are paving the entire thing?

Maybe someone can post here when it's up and running again.

This is one of my favorite trails. The trail begins in the town of Round Lake which in and of itself is a nice addition for riding the quiet streets of a quaint old town. The town takes you back in time. There is parking at the beginning of the trail. Going North out of town the trail is asphalt all the way to the end on Route 67 and passes a town park approximately 3.3 miles where there are public bathroom facilities, picnic tables, and plenty of parking. This trail is great for families with small children since the roads that the trail crosses have limited traffic.

In 2007 this trail was expanded going South out of town. The surface of the trail is hard packed and easy to ride with mountain or road bikes. The trail crosses Route 9 over an old rail trestle and goes south of the Lake and then towards the east ending on Route 67 (south). There are no bathroom facilities in this direction but again is a great ride for families with small children since this section of the trail does not cross any roads. At this end of the trail there are no parking facilities.

For the more adventurous rider, you can safely add additional miles to your ride by going out of town on Curry Avenue, left on Washington Avenue/Herlihy Road bear right on Wood Road which then parallels the Northway Route 87 all the way to Route 9. This back road has very limited traffic and is a well maintained paved back road.

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