MOHAWK TOWPATH SCENIC BYWAY:

CLIFTON PARK & HALFMOON, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      August 3, 2009

Length:                Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway; 28 miles

                              Crescent Trail; 1.8 miles

                              Towpath Trail; 3.5 miles (That I have done. Not sure of total length)

                               Towpath Trail; Short Loop; 4.5 miles. Long Loop; 6.8 miles. 

Difficulty:            Crescent Trail; Easy. Flat, stone dust trail. 

                       Towpath Trail; Moderate. Mostly flat single-track and gravel road trails. One very steep road section. Loops back on-road.                          

Directions:

From Route I-87 take exit 8.

For the Crescent Trail; Travel east on Crescent Rd. Just before Route 9 take a right on Canal Rd for the Crescent Park parking lot or continue across Route 9 to the Terminal Rd parking lot.

For the Towpath Trail; Travel west on Crescent Rd. Look for Vanvranken Rd on your left. Take it down to Riverview Rd and turn right. The Vischer Ferry Preserve parking lot is on the left.

The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway follows both the Erie Canal and the Mohawk River from Schenectady to Waterford, highlighting the canalís cultural sites. The Byway is a road route, but includes trails that follow the route. Along its southern route you can follow the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway North . Its eastern route follows the OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL . And its northern route follows the Flight Lock Trail located in Waterford, the Crescent Trail located in Halfmoon and the Towpath Trail located in Clifton Park. For more information visit; MOHAWK TOWPATH SCENIC BYWAY .

CRESCENT TRAIL:

Starting from the Terminal Rd parking lot; The paved trail starts at the eastern end of the parking lot. An informational sign tells the history of the Crescent Aqueduct, which carried the Erie Canal over the Mohawk River from 1825-1915. The trail travels underneath the Route 9 bridge, where a fishing pier and bench overlooks the Mohawk River. The trail then turns to stone-dust as it travels alongside the river. You'll come to the Crescent Park parking lot at 0.3 miles. Picnic tables, benches and another informational sign board are located here. The trail continues between the river and Canal Rd. A cross-walk takes you across Canal Rd at 1.4 miles where the trail pulls away from the road and into the woods. After crossing over a wooden bridge another parking lot will be on your left. The trail returns to Canal Rd next to the junction of Beech Rd at 1.8 miles where it currently ends. To loop back, take a left and travel on-road along Canal Rd (low traffic) and along the river. This will return you to the stone-dust trail at 2 1/4 miles where you can head back to the parking lot.   

TOWPATH TRAIL:

Starting from the Vischer Ferry parking lot; A sign board and picnic tables are located here.

The Towpath Trail travels from Towpath Rd in Halfmoon west through Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve and out to the Lock 7 Dam in Vischer Ferry following the Old Erie Canal. (Currently, as of March 2016 they are reconstructing the Towpath from Towpath Rd to Clutes Dry Dock-1825 area). I havenít checked out this section yet. Between Clutes Dry Dock parking lot and the Vischer Ferry parking lot the trail travels along both sides of the old canal. I havenít checked out this section yet. Finally a gravel trail follows an access road from the Vischer Ferry parking lot south towards the Mohawk River before looping northeast up to the canal and Riverview Rd. I havenít checked out this section yet.

Follow the trail up and over the canal via the old Whipple Iron Truss Bridge.

Note; Heading straight takes you to the southern edge of the preserve where you can loop northeast back to the canal and Riverview Rd.

Turn right and travel down to the base of the bridge to the Towpath Trail. Head left (west) along the single-track, hard packed trail that follows a causeway between the canal and a marsh. There are some bad "root" sections making for a bumpy ride. The marsh turns to forest at 0.9 miles and you'll come to an intersection at 1.2 miles. Continue straight and you'll come to the overgrown Lock 19, an 1842 double chamber lock. At 1.6 miles you'll hit another intersection, this time a wide gravel road.

Note; I believe left loops back along the southern edge of the preserve by the river. I havenít checked out this section.

Head right for a much easier ride. At 2 miles you'll finally get some views of the Mohawk River and the canal will be along your right again. You come to the Ferry Road parking lot at 2.3 miles (A ferry used to cross the river here from 1790-1922).

Note; You can loop back on-road from here by turning right up Ferry Rd, then right along Riverview Rd and back to the Vischer Ferry parking lot for a 4.5 mile loop.  

Continue straight as the trail travels alongside the river and up to the Vischer Ferry Power Plant. You then travel up a steep road to the Sugar Hill Road parking lot at 3.5 miles. An overlook of the Mohawk River, dam and Lock 7 across the river is located here. You can then loop back on-road by heading out Sugar Hill Rd, turning right on Riverview Rd, traveling through the Vischer Ferry Historic district and returning to the Vischer Ferry parking lot for a 6.8 mile loop. The on-road sections travel along low traffic roads with little or no shoulders.  

HH

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