MOHAWK-HUDSON BIKEWAY NORTH LETTERBOX;

ROTTERDAM-COHOES, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Letterbox Planted:      June 29, 2005

Updated:                        July 18, 2015

Length:                         Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway North; 25.7 miles

                                       Kiwanis Park to Alexander Street parking lot; 23.5 miles

                                       Kiwanis Park to western terminus; 2.2 miles

                                       Colonie Town Park to Letterbox; 0.2 miles

                                      Cohoes Heritage Trail; 1.6 miles

Difficulty:                    Northern section: Moderate. Mostly paved trail with some on-road detours. Mainly flat except for a hilly section and a steep detour section.

                                      Central section: Easy. Paved, flat rail trail. 

                                      Eastern section: Easy. Paved, flat rail trail.  

                                      Cohoes Heritage Trail: Moderate. Route consists low traffic on-road sections, paved/stone-dust sections and a short section of paving stones and grass. Some hills.

Directions:

To start from Kiwanis Park; Take exit 26 off of I-90 to Route 5S. Follow Route 5S to Kiwanis Park on your right.

To start from the Lock 7 parking lot; Take exit 6 off of I-87 to Route 7 west. Route 7 is known locally as Troy Schenectady Rd. Travel about 3 miles west on Route 7 to Rosendale Rd on the right. There will be a Lock 7 sign here also. Follow this road down and bear left at the sharp curve. River Rd heads right, but you continue left. Travel about 1 ¾ miles to a sharp left in the road. Here, travel straight onto Lock 7 Rd. The first parking lot is on the right next to the Bike Path. The second parking lot will be on the right for the Lock and the third lot is up the hill at the boat launch. A paved path takes you from the boat launch parking lot to the bike trail. Turn right onto the bike path and see clues.

To start from Niskayuna Lions Park; Take exit 6 off of I-87 to Route 7 west. Route 7 is known locally as Troy Schenectady Rd. Travel about 3 miles west on Route 7 to Rosendale Rd on the right. There will be a Lock 7 sign here also. Follow this road down and bear left at the sharp curve. River Rd heads right, but you continue left. Immediately look right for the park entrance.

To start from the Colonie Town Park Trailside parking lot; Take exit 7 off of I-87 to Route 7 east. Then take Route 9 north and look for Old Loudon Rd on your left a few miles up. After turning up Old Loudon Rd, take you’re second left onto Schermerhorn Rd. Take this road to the parking lot on your left where the trail crosses.

To start from the Alexander Street parking lot; Follow I-787 north from Albany past Route 7 and take your first left on Tibbits Ave to Cohoes Rd. Head right and take your first left on Bridge St. Turn right on Lincoln Ave, then left up Alexander St. Follow to a small parking lot at the end of the road. 

To start from the Cohoes Falls parking lot [Cohoes Heritage Trail]; Follow I-787 north from Albany to Cohoes. Cross Route 32 to New Courtland St which turns into Mohawk St. After a mile look left to spot the parking lot for Cohoes Falls.

The Canalway Trail is a network of approximately 300 miles of multiple-use trails across upstate New York. The trail follows the towpaths of both active and historic sections of the New York State Canal System, such as the Erie Canal and Old Erie Canal, as well as, adjacent abandoned rail corridors such as the former West Shore Railroad which was chartered December 5, 1885 , as successor to the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railway. Called in its day "the eighth wonder of the world," the Erie Canal remains one of America's best known and enduring icons. A marvel of nineteenth-century engineering, the canal, begun in 1817, followed a path already popular to westward-moving Americans, following the Mohawk River through the Appalachian Mountains and then on to Lake Erie. Building the canal was a tremendous feat. Workers had to dig a 363-mile ditch that was 40 feet wide and four feet deep, through rocky hills and swamps and across rivers. What's more, this ditch had to slowly rise 565 feet on its way from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, which it did through a series of locks. Derided as "Clinton's Ditch," after New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, within months of the canal's opening in 1825 the doubters were proven wrong by the canal's overwhelming success. The canal gave rise to additional connecting canals, including the Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca, and Champlain, the last of which actually opened before the Erie Canal. For more information visit; CANALWAY TRAIL or NY CANALWAY SYSTEM

The Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway connects Albany and Schenectady Counties in New York 's Capital district of upstate New York. The trail is part of the state-wide Canalway Trail. Parts of the trail travel along sections of the old Erie Canal, while other sections run along abandoned rail lines such as the Penn Central Rail Line. This was America 's first inter-city rail route and had the world's first steam passenger train. This section runs from Rotterdam Junction to Cohoes alongside the Mohawk River and sections of the Old Erie Canal, as well as following the old rail bed. The southern section is disconnected from this section by a long on-road detour. See; Mohawk Hudson Bikeway South . To the northwest you can access the Canalway Trail; Amsterdam-Utica via an on-road detour. For more information visit; MOHAWK HUDSON BIKEWAY .

Starting from Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam:

Note; The trail travels west alongside a section of the former Erie Canal Towpath for 2.2 miles, crossing Route 5S followed by Mabie Lane before currently ending next to an active railroad line. A tunnel underneath the RR tracks is planned to be constructed in 2015. Currently, as of August  2015, the only way to connect to the next section in Rotterdam Junction is to backtrack to Mabie Lane for an on-road detour. See Map. The Rotterdam Junction section travels 1.4 miles west from Iroquois St to Main St (Route 5S). Another gap of approximately 5.7 miles exists west from Main St to the Canalway Trail; Amsterdam-Utica just off Route 5S

Heading east from Kiwanis Park; The trail brings you through open fields near the highway interchange. At 0.4 miles, the trail continues straight, bearing right would take you up to the Route 890 bridge over the Mohawk River to Wyatts. You travel underneath this bridge and the trail travels above the river with some great views. This part of the trail is rolling hills. You come to Lock 8 and a parking lot at 2 ¼ miles. The locks along the river are operational and if you hang around long enough you might get to see them in operation. Just after 2 ½ miles will be a side path on your left that brings you to a viewing platform overlooking the river. You can see the dam next to Lock 8 if you look upstream. The trail pulls away from the river and you'll come to yellow building with the number 23 at 2.8 miles. The remains of an Erie Canal Lock are located here. You come to another parking lot near I-890 after 3.1 miles. You pick up your river views again after 4 miles and if you look across the highway, you'll see the massive GE building. The trail then descends closer to the river and you pass by a picnic area. You'll come to Columbus Drive Circle after 5 miles. The trail continues left around the circle. You pass by Gateway Landing, which contains a pier and pavilion, and head up to State St (Route 5) at 5.3 miles.

Note; A gap in the trail currently exists through the Schenectady section as of July 2015. You have two route options from here:

Option A:

Hang a right and cross over the Western Gateway Bridge. There is a sidewalk over the bridge into Scotia. After crossing over the bridge, turn right down Schonowee Ave in front of "Jumpin Jacks Drive In" and the paved trail picks again once you pass it. A good spot to grab some chow. Another paved trail follows along on the opposite side of the road next to Collins Park. On your right will be Freedom Park with its outdoor stage, picnic tables and bathrooms. There are also historical markers along the trail here. The trail ends across from Kiwanis Way, where you can turn left and check out Collins Park & Lake if you wish. Continue on-road along Schonowee Ave (low volume traffic) and then turn left when it ends on Washington Ave. Take your next right down Iroquis St (you'll see a green bike route sign) and follow to where the trail picks up again. This section of the trail consists of old pavement and stone dust. You cross an open field following the power lines and at 6.5 miles go underneath a railroad bridge. At about 7 ¼ miles you cross over Johns Canal Bridge, a replica canal bridge. The trail ends again at 7 ½ miles next to the Freeman's Bridge.

Note; Right simply takes you under the bridge to the opposite side.

Use the sidewalk to cross over this bridge into Schenectady. After crossing over, turn right and a trail will take you underneath the bridge and out to Maxon Rd Ext. Use Caution exiting the trail as it is overgrown and ends right at Maxon Rd. Again, Use Caution crossing over Maxon Rd as there is no cross-walk and very little shoulder. Travel right through the gravel lot, then utilize the narrow shoulder or grassy medium along Erie Blvd. Turn left up Seneca Street, cross the RR tracks and you'll return to the paved trail at 8 miles. Head left.  

Option B:

Hang a left and follow the paved trail alongside State St. You'll come to Washington Ave at 5.4 miles where the paved trail currently ends. Map board located here. Turn left and travel on-road (residential) along Washington Ave. Historic section of town. Lots of old brick and stone buildings. Brown Canalway signs along your detour. Turn right on Union St and a cross-light will take you over busy Erie Blvd at 6 miles. travel underneath several RR bridges and turn left on Jay St and you'll pick up the paved trail on your right at 6.2 miles. You'll come to Seneca Street at 7 miles. 

 

From Seneca Street [Option B mileage]; This section of old rail trail is paved, straight and flat. Cross a bridge over Route 146 at 9.6 miles. Great views of the river from here. Just shy of 10.6 miles the trail turns sharply and goes up a steep hill. This is a bypass around the GE Research & Development lot, as well as the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. This is the only tough section of the trail. You emerge from the forest in an open meadow and at 11.3 miles pass by a path on your right that leads up to a pavilion of some sort. The trail then takes you up and down past the GE entrance to the Blatnick Town Park entrance at 12.7 miles. A parking lot is located here. Do not continue straight, but instead turn left and follow the road up past the ball fields on your right. You pick up the trail here and take it down to a sharp right hand turn. A gate blocks the old trail that went down alongside the river; instead you head across a field with great river views to a steep descent down to the rivers edge.  You now enter a flat, wooded trail that parallels the river. Continuing along the trail, you'll come to a paved path on your left at 14.1 miles that will take you to the Lock 7 parking lot. After checking out the Lock, continue along the trail and you will travel under a red bridge (Ferry Rd) at 15.3 miles. Another ¼ mile brings you past an old railroad mile marker, S9, meaning Schenectady 9 miles. At 16.3 miles you come to Niskayuna Lions Park. Here you'll find an old Railroad Station, beach, bathrooms and a parking lot next to the Mohawk River. Continuing east the Mohawk River is on your left along with some marshes. At 16.7 miles, you cross over the town line for Cohoes and leave the river view for a bit. You cross a bridge at 18.3 miles and get the best open views of the river on this section of the trail. Another ¼ mile takes you across Forts Ferry Rd and away from the river into a shaded woodland section. Hold your nose at 19.4 miles as you pass by a sewage treatment plant. There will be a steep hill descent that ends at Island View Rd after 20.3 miles. Here begins a short 0.5 mile on-road section along a quiet residential road. Turn right and follow the well signed road. Travel underneath I-87 Bridge and go up a short hill. This brings you to Dunsbach Ferry Rd. The paved trail picks up again across the street. You'll pass through a sub-division before returning to the rail bed at 21.1 miles. Head left.

Note; Heading right takes you back out to Dunsbach Ferry Rd.

You come to the Colonie Town Park Trailside parking lot at 21.9 miles. Across the road to the left is the park entrance. Follow the trail straight across the road, where it runs alongside the Town Park. You'll pass by a small path on your left that leads into the park, then another dirt path on your right that leads up into the woods. Keep going and look for another side trail on your right at 22.1miles. This will be directly opposite the parking lot for the Town Park, with the tennis courts behind them. The pool will be to the left and the ball fields to the right of this parking lot. From this path, continue 6 paces (2 steps = 1 pace) along the bike trail. Turn right and face the woods. Just behind a three-trunked-tree will be a 10 foot stump. About halfway up the stump will be a hollow cavity with rocks inside. Reach over the rocks and remove the top rock. This is weighing down the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway Letterbox, so please replace the rock when you’re through. Continuing along the trail, a path to your left goes to the ball fields and then you cross over a culvert. A tunnel takes you below Route 9 at 22.5 miles. Note the old railroad mileage marker at 23.2 miles. You come to Manor Ave in Cohoes at 23.7 miles where you'll find a map board. 

Note; You can detour down Manor Ave to view Cohoes Falls and follow a trail past sections of the old Enlarged Erie Canal before rejoining the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway further south. You'll bypass only a mile of the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway. See; COHOES HERITAGE TRAIL below.

After crossing over Manor Ave you travel through a couple of tunnels until you reach an old railroad bridge over High St at 24.8 miles. 

Note; Just before the High St Bridge a spur trail on your left out to Garner St is where the Cohoes Heritage Trail rejoins the trail.

Cross the bridge and you'll pass by the location of the old High Street RR Station. There is a sign board here that gives you a bit of history of the area. Continuing along the trail you cross over Columbia St via an old RR bridge at 25.1 miles and finally arrive at the Alexander Street parking lot in Cohoes after 25.7 miles. 

Note; A gap currently exists between here and the southern section of the bikeway. To reach the next section you'll need to travel on-road about 4.6 miles. See map below for on-road route & Mohawk Hudson Bikeway South .

COHOES HERITAGE TRAIL:

The Cohoes Heritage Trail is a detour off the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway that allows you to check out FALLS VIEW PARK on the Mohawk River, as well as, some remaining sections of the old Enlarged Erie Canal and Clintons Ditch, its precursor. Your also able to check out the Harmony Mills Historic District. A few short hills are involved, as well as, some on-road sections (low traffic/residential). 

Starting from the Manor Ave/Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway intersection; Head left (east) down Manor Ave. This is on-road down a short hill (narrow sidewalk available). This brings you to N Mohawk St after only 0.2 miles. The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway also travels along N Mohawk St.

Note; If you head left up N Mohawk St it will bring you to views of a dam across the Mohawk River, as well as, the start of the "power canal" that diverts water from the river for power. This is about a 0.5 mile on-road detour.

Heading right along N Mohawk St a wide sidewalk is available. You'll come to the Falls View Park parking lot at 0.3 miles. Across the road is FALLS VIEW PARK [No biking allowed in the park] . There are informational signs giving the history of the area, a pedestrian bridge over the "power canal", picnic tables and overlooks of Cohoes Falls. After checking out the falls, return to the Falls View Park parking lot [Re-zeroing mileage] and head up the grassy knoll at the back of the parking lot. An old inlaid stone and grass path travels left past the remnants of Lock 18 which was part of the Enlarged Erie Canal. After the Lock, follow an asphalt path down to Church St. Follow Church St out to N Mohawk St and follow the sidewalk right past Craner Park. Turn left at the crosswalk over N Mohawk St and you'll come to School St. Head straight down School St where you'll pick up a stone-dust path that affords you a nice overlook of Cohoes Falls. The path then travels high above the Mohawk River and bringing you out to Cataract St. Head straight back out to N Mohawk St. Cross the street [Caution no crosswalk] and head left. This will bring you to Clinton's Ditch Plaza and the official start of the Cohoes Heritage Trail at 0.6 miles. Here you'll find a map board and informational signs. A grate lets you view Clinton's Ditch below. A paved trail, which turns to stone-dust travels up past Craner Park and alongside Harmony St past the old brick Harmony Mills. Come to Vliet St after 0.9 miles. 

Note; You may take a quick detour left down Vliet St to N Mohawk St (only 0.1 miles). Here you'll find the Harmony Mills Historic District. Beautiful old brick Harmony Mill buildings to your left and remnants of Clintons Ditch to your right. Clintons Ditch (1825-1842) was the precursor to the Enlarged Erie Canal (1842-1915).

Crosswalk over Vliet St where the paved/stone-dust trail continues. Pass by Lock 15 of the Enlarged Erie Canal and you'll come to another map board at 1.1 miles. 

Note; A spur trail on your left leads to Cayuga St and the Cohoes Community Center.

The trail ends at Standish Pl (low traffic) where the canal disappears. Follow this road out to Ontario St and head right up a small hill to High St. Turn right up High St, then right on Garner St. You'll come to a crosswalk that brings you to a short connecting path on your left leading to the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway at 1.6 miles [1.9 miles from Manor Ave/Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway intersection].

HH

CLICK HERE FOR MOHAWK HUDSON BIKEWAY MAP

CLICK HERE FOR COHOES HERITAGE TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR REGIONAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR CANALWAY TRAIL MAP

 

LETTERBOX LAST VERIFIED ON

JUNE 20, 2015

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