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This Spring - Go Biking & Hiking on the NEW Empire State Trail

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2021-03-17 18:55:00

Upstate New York has a new trail system for cyclists and hikers to explore this spring, and it’s a big one—in fact, it’s the longest multi-use trail in the country. The 750-mile Empire State Trail was completed over the winter, linking new and existing hiking and cycling trails to create a trail system that spans several regions of Upstate New York- from Albany to Buffalo, and from New York City up to the Canadian border, that can be walked, biked, cross-country skied or snowshoed any time of the year.

The creation of the Empire State Trail links 20 existing trails, including the Erie Canalway Trail, the Hudson Valley Greenway Trail, and the Champlain Valley trail, will new trail portions constructed along the way. The completed trail winds throughout the Hudson Valley, the Capital Region, Central New York, Western New York, and the Finger Lakes and runs alongside the eastern part of the Adirondack Park. You can explore nearby parts of the trail on an afternoon walk or bike ride, or make a long-haul trip along sections by bike if you please—and can really choose your own experience, no matter what part you're in.

The trail winds through New York State’s diverse landscapes and areas, from small villages and towns to bigger cities to the rural landscapes in between. Some sections are paved, some are covered in crushed stone, and some follow existing roadways, depending on where you are, but about 75% of the total trail is off-road. The trail offers a chance to soak in Upstate New York’s nature and history, with new amenities like bridges and spur trails that offer a way to explore areas previously not accessible on foot or by bike. It connects parks, nature preserves, cities, and towns—so you can use the trail as a way to connect you to what you want to do and see nearby, whether that’s spending the day outdoors in nature, exploring shopping and dining in a nearby town, or visiting a historic site.

Much of the trail follows the New York State Canal System, including the Erie Canal, with its historic parks, harbors, locks, and attractions, as well as the several towns, cities and villages along the way; the canal system has drawn visitors and locals alike for years, with plenty to see and do along each stretch, interspersed with quiet natural landscapes to enjoy along the way. Cultural and historic attractions, wineries and breweries, shops and restaurants, picnic areas, and more await along this historic route.

Before you decide to embark on a journey along the Empire State Trail, take a look at the trail map and familiarize yourself with the route you’d like to take. As always, make safety a priority—no snowmobiles, ATVs, or other motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail, and cyclists should be sure to adhere to speed limits and make their presence known before passing walkers and hikers along the trail as well to ensure everyone can enjoy the trail safely.

New York State also requires that trail users remain 6 feet away from others, avoid crowded areas, bring a face mask to wear if social distancing isn’t possible, and stay home if sick, to protect the health and safety of all users during the COVID-19 pandemic. With those simple safety rules in mind, and warmer weather on its way, a trip along the Empire State Trail might just be a perfect outing to beat the cabin fever and get some fresh air as Upstate New York gears up for spring.

Cyclists on the trail photo credit Empire State Trail
Bikes parked along trail photo credit Parks and Trails NY
Erie Canal and trail aerial view photo credit Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
Empire State Trail sign photo credit D Tobias

posted at: 2021-03-17 18:55:00, last updated: 2021-04-06 17:03:17

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