OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL:

WATERFORD-HALFMOON, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       July 17, 2015

Length:                 Old Champlain Canal Trail; Waterford section; 3.2 miles

                               Old Champlain Canal Trail; Halfmoon section; 2.6 miles

                               Undeveloped Gap between sections; 1 mile

Difficulty:             Easy. Flat, stone dust towpath.                            

Directions:

To Start from Waterford (Fulton Street/Mill Road parking area) [Southern section]; 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 Mill Rd. 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.

To Start from Halfmoon (Brookwood Road) [Central section]; From the intersection of  Routes 4 & 32 in Waterford head north 3.6 miles along Routes 4 & 32. Turn left on Brookwood Rd, cross the RR tracks and turn left into the Halfmoon Treatment Facility  where you'll find a parking lot on your right. A path will take you up to the trail.

To Start from Halfmoon (Upper Newtown Road) [Northern section]; From the intersection of  Routes 4 & 32 in Waterford head north 5.3 miles along Routes 4 & 32. Turn left on Upper Newtown Rd, cross over the RR tracks and you'll come to the parking lot on your left.   

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 Stillwater, Saratoga & Fort Edward/Kingsbury. See; Old Champlain Canal Trail; Stillwater , Old Champlain Canal Trail; Saratoga and Old Champlain Canal Trail; Fort Edward-Hudson Falls

Starting from Waterford (Fulton Street/Mill Road); 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. Picnic tables located here as well. Look for the Old Champlain Canal Lock #4 with the wooden bridge crossing over it. The Canal Trail starts here. The Old Champlain Canal Trail follows the canal northwards along its east bank, passing by the iron bridge you previously crossed over. This stone-dust trail can be narrow at times as it travels through well shaded woodland. At 0.4 miles, you travel underneath the abandoned Mohawk Ave Bridge over the canal. Cross O'Connor Drive at 0.5 miles followed by Burton Ave before coming to where the Champlain Canal crosses the Erie Canal at 1 mile. 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 gravel path to the right of the lock down to South St. Then head left 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 Harbor Visitor Center and the 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 Harbor Visitor Center. A map board is located here, as well as, restrooms and an info center. A small museum is located in the upper section, which you can access by going around the Visitor Center. If you continue along the Canal Walkway it travels underneath an old RR Bridge before bringing you to where the Mohawk River enters the Hudson River after 0.2 miles. Map board and boat launch located here. 

Note; From the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center you can also access the Uncle Sam Bikeway on the east side of the Hudson River in Troy, as well as, the Black Bridge Trail to Peebles Island State Park.

Head right along the brick lined Canal Walkway traveling underneath the 4th Street Bridge to a stone-dust path alongside the Erie Canal. This will take you up alongside the Old Champlain Canal Sidecut Locks. 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 the Lock 2 access road to the junction of 5th and Broad Streets. The trail continues across Broad St, however, there is No Crosswalk, so Use Caution or head right to access a cross-light. A short paved section of trail continues along the canal to a crosswalk over Division St at 1.6 miles. Here the wide trail reverts to stone-dust as it follows the canal. You'll pass an interpretive sign describing the former Weigh Lock that used to be located here on the canal. That's why the canal briefly splits ahead. The trail travels underneath a railroad bridge at 1.8 miles and leaves the town behind. More isolated. A large marsh appears on your right. The canal starts to choke up with vegetation at 2.4 miles as you travel underneath some transmission lines. Pass by Old Champlain Canal Lock #5. There is another interpretive sign here. A short section of hard packed dirt leads to a dirt road where the stone-dust trail continues up to the top of an old landfill? Wide open views of the surrounding hills as you travel along the top of the grassy mound. After 3.2 miles you come to a gate alongside Clute Rd. An unfinished gap exists between the Halfmoon section of the trail as of July 2015. If you look right you'll spot a dirt trail between the tall reeds that you can take to get out to Clute Rd. Head straight across Clute Rd to Bells Lane. Travel on-road (low traffic) up Bells Lane (the Old Champlain Canal is hidden on your left by a berm) to a Schoolhouse Lane. Head left up a gravel road where you'll pick up the old towpath on your right at 3.7 miles. Caution, this next section is undeveloped and contains a washed out bridge. Proceed at your own risk. The rough, hard packed dirt trail follows the power lines and quickly brings you to a half collapsed bridge over a gully. Caution! Proceed at your own risk. You then pick up the Old Champlain Canal again on your left. At 4.2 miles you'll come to the Halfmoon section of the trail which is wide with a stone-dust surface. Cross Brookwood Rd at 5 miles.

Note; Just before Brookfield Road a spur trail on your right takes you to the Halfmoon Treatment Facility parking lot

You'll quickly come to a sinkhole, where the canal disappears. I believe this is Wilson's Culvert, a large culvert that allows Owl Creek to freely pass beneath the Champlain Canal. You cross Lower Newton Rd at 5.4 miles. After 6 miles you'll see some old stonework from the canal. I believe this is remnants from the Old Champlain Canal Lock #7. Pass by an old bridge abutment at 6.5 miles. After 6.8 miles you come to the Upper Newtown Road parking lot where the trail currently ends.

HH

CLICK HERE FOR OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR NORTH HALFMOON MAP

CLICK HERE FOR SOUTH HALFMOON MAP

CLICK HERE FOR REGIONAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MOHAWK HUDSON BIKEWAY MAP

CHAMPLAIN CANAL TRAIL ACTION PLAN

 

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