OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL:

WATERFORD, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:      August 1, 2011

Length:                Old Champlain Canal Trail-Waterford section; 2.6 miles

Difficulty:            Easy. Flat, hard packed dirt and stone dust trail.                            

Directions:

Take I-787 north to Route 787 north to Route 32 (Saratoga Ave) across the Mohawk River into Waterford. Look to your right for a round Canalway Trail sign just past a retail plaza. Turn right here down Fulton St. Cross an iron bridge over the canal and turn right along the dirt road. This will take you to a dirt parking lot next to the cement dam across the Mohawk River and the beginning of the Champlain Canal on your right. There is also parking located on your left after crossing over the iron bridge.

The trail follows the tow path of the early 19th century Champlain Canal. The original 25-foot-wide Champlain Canal flowed from Waterford to Lake George and on into Lake Champlain. For more information visit; OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL . You can ride other sections of the Old Champlain Canal in the towns of Halfmoon, Stillwater, Saratoga & Fort Edward/Kingsbury. See; Old Champlain Canal Trail; Halfmoon , Old Champlain Canal Trail; Stillwater , Old Champlain Canal Trail; Saratoga and Feeder Canal Trail .

In front of you lies a dam across the Mohawk River. To the left are some rocky falls on the river and Goat Island beyond them. To your right is the old Champlain Canal. Look for the old Canal Lock with the wooden bridge crossing over it. The Canal Trail starts here.  

Starting from the old Canal Lock off Fulton St; The trail follows the canal northwards along its east bank, passing by the iron bridge you previously crossed over. This hard packed dirt and stone dust trail can be narrow at times as it travels through well shaded woodland. At 0.4 miles, you pass below an old abandoned bridge over the canal. After a couple of small road crossings you come to where the Champlain Canal crosses the Erie Canal at 1.1 miles. There is no bridge over the Erie Canal to where the Champlain Canal continues, so you must turn right for a very scenic detour. This brings you to Lock 2, a working lock on the Erie Canal. If you’re lucky, you can watch the lock in action as it raises or lowers a boat in the lock. Continue on by taking the dirt path to the right of the lock down to South Street, where you may cross over to a sidewalk. This will then take you over the canal via the 4th Street Bridge. Some great views from the bridge of the locks massive gates as well as views down stream of the Waterford Visitors Center and the old railroad bridge over to Peebles Island State Park. Head down the winding, narrow path to the brick lined Canal Walkway at 1.3 miles.  

Note; The trail continues right, but first I would suggest a quick detour to your left to visit the Waterford Canal Harbor Visitors Center. (Note; You can also take a detour from the Visitors Center to check out the old Waterford Train Station or to access the Uncle Sam Bikeway on the other side of the Hudson River in Troy. There is a map board here, restrooms and info center on the lower level. You can get a Mohawk-Hudson Trail map here that also includes the Champlain Canal Trail. A small museum is located in the upper section, which you can access by going around the Center. The Erie Canal runs into the Mohawk River here and it's only a tenth of a mile down the walkway to where the Mohawk runs into the Hudson River. Great views.  

Note; Another nice diversion from here is to go up and over the old railroad bridge that crosses over the Waterford Canal Harbor to Peebles Island State Park. This 1913 railroad bridge now has one lane for cars and one pedestrian lane. After crossing over this bridge, there are walking trails that start on your right and a pavilion over looking the Hudson River on your left. Just ahead to the right is the PEEBLES ISLAND STATE PARK VISITOR CENTER .This is only a ¼ mile from the Waterford Visitors Center.  

Starting back where you first entered the Canal Walkway after crossing over the 4th Street Bridge, head up along the Erie Canal. This will bring you to the Waterford Sidecut, these were locks that were built to bypass the crowded urban ports along the main canal. Two small bridges cross over this sidecut to Lock 2. There are interpretive sign boards here as well. A parking lot is located at the top of the sidecut, where the old Champlain Canal picks up again. Follow the canal right along 5th Street, where you then cross over a busy road as the trail heads back into the woods. At 1.7 miles, you'll pass an interpretive sign describing the former weigh station that used to be located here on the canal. That's why the canal briefly splits ahead. The trail passes below a railroad bridge and soon a large marsh appears on your right. The canal starts to choke up with vegetation at 2.4 miles and currently ends at 2.6 miles at an old lock. There is another interpretive sign here. This is the end of the stone dust trail as well, although it continues north along a rough dirt trail where the canal disappears at what appears to be an old trash mound.

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CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL 2011 ACTION PLAN

 

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WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER

 

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