MOHAWK TOWPATH SCENIC BYWAY:
CLIFTON PARK & HALFMOON, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: September 23, 2017
Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway; 28 miles
Crescent Trail; 1.8 miles
Mohawk Towpath Byway Trail; 6.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat, stone dust trail.
From Route I-87 take exit 8.
For the Crescent Trail; Travel east on Crescent Rd/Crescent Vischer Ferry 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 Mohawk Towpath Byway Trail [Eastern End]; Travel east on Crescent Rd/Crescent Vischer Ferry Rd. Take your first right on Dunsbach Rd, then a right on Clamsteam Rd. Follow to Towpath Rd. The Clamsteam Road parking lot is straight ahead.
For the Mohawk Towpath Byway Trail [Central/Western End]; Travel west on Crescent Rd for 2.2 miles. [Central End] Turn left down Van Vranken Rd, then right on Riverview Rd. The Vischer Ferry Preserve parking lot is on the left. Head right to access Clutes Dry Dock. [Western End] Continue west on Riverview Rd to Vischer Ferry and head left. Take your first left down Ferry Dr to the Ferry Drive parking lot .
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; Waterford-Halfmoon and its northern route follows the Flight of Locks Trail located in Waterford, the Crescent Trail located in Halfmoon and the Mohawk Towpath Byway Trail located in both Clifton Park and Halfmoon. For more information visit; MOHAWK TOWPATH SCENIC BYWAY , FRIENDS OF THE MOHAWK TOWPATH BYWAY & OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL 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 2.3 miles where you can head back to the parking lot.
TOWPATH BYWAY TRAIL:
Starting from the Clamsteam Road parking lot;
A sign board, picnic tables and informational sign are located here.
You'll also find a stop along the Mohawk Scenic Byway Audio Tour
(518-649-9990) here. The wide stone-dust trail travels above the Mohawk River.
I believe the Old Erie Canal along this section is filled in. Come to
Towpath Rd after 0.25 miles. I-87 lies straight ahead covering the old
canal so you'll need to detour left on-road (low volume traffic) along Towpath
Rd traveling underneath the highway. A ramp on your right at 0.4 miles will then
take you up and over a berm bringing you down to the Old Erie Canal.
You'll spot lots of turtles and Blue Herrings. Follow the Towpath west and
across a bridge at 0.8 miles. Right is Wagers Pond and left leads to the Mohawk
River. Pass by an old stone bridge abutment at 1.2 miles. Check out the
stonework of the old canal as well. Just past here across the canal is
You'll also find a stop along the Mohawk Scenic Byway Audio Tour (518-649-9990) here. The wide stone-dust trail travels above the Mohawk River. I believe the Old Erie Canal along this section is filled in. Come to Towpath Rd after 0.25 miles. I-87 lies straight ahead covering the old canal so you'll need to detour left on-road (low volume traffic) along Towpath Rd traveling underneath the highway. A ramp on your right at 0.4 miles will then take you up and over a berm bringing you down to the Old Erie Canal. You'll spot lots of turtles and Blue Herrings. Follow the Towpath west and across a bridge at 0.8 miles. Right is Wagers Pond and left leads to the Mohawk River. Pass by an old stone bridge abutment at 1.2 miles. Check out the stonework of the old canal as well. Just past here across the canal isClutes Dry Dock-1825 area. You can access this area off Riverview Rd. Pass by a second old stone abutment before coming to an intersection at 1.9 miles. Sign board here.
Note; Right takes you over the canal and out to Riverview Rd. You can then travel on-road along Riverview Rd to check out Clutes Dry Dock-1825 after 0.8 miles. Informational sign, picnic table and canoe dock.
The old Towpath straight ahead is not developed so head left along the stone-dust trail. This takes you south through Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve. Cross a bridge, pass by some open grass areas (overlooks for the Mohawk River) and pass a large brown structure before the trail turns north along a causeway. Return to the Old Erie Canal at 2.9 miles.
Note; Straight takes you over the canal, via the old Whipple Iron Truss Bridge, to the Vischer Ferry Preserve parking lot. Map board located here.
left along the Towpath a causeway takes you between the canal and a large marsh.
Pass by two more old stone abutments. Head into the woods and you'll pass by the
old Lock 19, an 1842
double chamber lock at 4.3 miles. Come to another intersection at 4.5 miles. A
gravel road heads left, continue straight along the stone-dust Towpath. You'll finally get some views of the Mohawk River and the canal will be
along your right again at 4.9 miles. You come to the Ferry Road parking lot at
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 through
scenic Vischer Ferry and back
to the Vischer Ferry parking lot.
Continue straight along the Towpath
as it travels alongside the river and up to the Vischer Ferry Power Plant.
This section consists of hard packed dirt and gravel. You
then travel up a steep road to the Sugar Hill Road parking lot at 6.4 miles. An overlook of the Mohawk River, dam and Lock
7 across the river are 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. The on-road sections travel along low
traffic roads with little or no shoulders.
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