We are all indebted to the Friends of the Rail Trail volunteers, the staff and volunteers in the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, and the Albany County leadership and staff for the design and construction of Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail.
Here is a nice ride one can take that uses the entire paved portion of the trail. Starting in the Pine Hills area it’s, about 3.5 miles to the trailhead on South Pearl Street at Old South Pearl Street. The ride to the trailhead will always be tedious until the South End Bikeway Link is completed. However, in the meantime, using the BikeAlbanyMap – an interactive device that lets you plan your trips through the city of Albany on low-traffic low-stress roadways – you can get most of the way to the trailhead with only a minimum of hassle.
Once on the rail trail, the smooth surface takes you through the beautiful Normanskill Gorge in an idyllic setting. The only traffic noise is while going under Route 9 and the New York State Thruway. Trail is far enough below them that the noise can easily be ignored. Then it is up the gentle but uniform grade across the Normanskill until eventually one ends up cruising past the backyards of suburban Bethlehem. Once there, the trail levels off and it has a pleasant hop across Delaware Ave. to the terminus of the paved section is Slingerlands by the old railroad station at 5.75 from the trail head at South Pearl St.
An alternative route back to the City of Albany is to take the trail until just after it crosses Elsmere Ave., take one of the trail exits to Ellsworth Ave., and follow around on Plymouth until Delaware Ave. From there, it is a short hop to Jim’s Tastee-Freez ($3 for a small cone) and then across the Normanskill to Delaware Ave. in Albany. Remember that, just after crossing the Thruway Bridge reentering the city of Albany, to refer to the BikeAlbanyMap to find a pleasant way to avoid the car-centric design of Delaware Ave.
From Pine Hills and return it is about 16 miles – a nice day trip.
Better than reading about the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, just go ride on it!
Alert Cyclist Mark informs us as follows:
The State’s Regional Economic Development Council Awards for 2016 includes (page 81, middle of the page, project #627184) $325,000 toward design and construction of the South End Bikeway Link. It is described as a “two-way, Separated Bike Lane, also known as a cycle track, extending along the east (ED: river/port/RR) side of South Pearl Street where sidewalks exist.” The Times Union story is here.
The full project (with editorial corrections) is as follows: The City of Albany will design and construct the South End Multi-Use Trail, located in the South Waterfront District, that will link the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail to the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail/Erie Canalway Trail, filling a gap in a more than 360-mile multi-use trail network. The proposed treatment is a two-way, Separated Bike Lane, also known as a cycle track, extending along the east side of South Pearl Street where sidewalks exist.
The funding of the South End Bikeway Link is perfectly timed with the pending completion of the Corning Riverfront Park Protected Bicycle Lanes and the other amenities as well as with completion of ABC’s BikeAlbanyMap. The three projects now provide people on bicycles with many options for safely and efficiently transporting themselves around the city and region.
Building the ACHHRT
A Century of Riding Bliss
As another step toward exploring all the bicycle paths in New York State, cyclist Ed set out over the 2016 Labor Day Weekend to complete the following Century.
Summary – Home in the New Scotland Ave. area of Albany – to Slingerlands, Albany, Mechanicville, Ballston Spa, Amsterdam, Niskayuna, and back to home. Total per Google maps – 107.6 miles and with various diversions – 115.0 miles.
- 2.2 miles Home to Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail
- 7.0 miles Albany County Rail Trail to Corning Riverfront Park/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
- 5.0 miles to Watervliet
- 5.8 miles through Watervliet/Green Island to Black Bridge and the Delaware Ave. Trail through Van Schaick Island and Peebles Island, Cohoes, to Waterford.
- 9.0 miles Rt. 4 from Waterford to Brookwood Rd. to Old Champlain Canal Trail (gravel) Upper Newton Rd. to Rt. 4 to Mechanicville/Main St.
- 4.1 miles South St. /Pruyn Hill Rd. climbs to Johnson Rd., right onto Staniak Rd., to Coons Crossing Rd., to Zim Smith Mid-County Trail
- 9.1 miles Zim Smith Mid-County Trail to Ballston Spa
- 0.8 miles left E. High St. right Low St. to Ballston Spa Front Street Park
- 3.6 miles Rt. 67/Rt. 50 South from Ballston Spa to left Outlet Rd.
- 4.0 miles outlet Rd., right on Ballston Bicycle Path to Ballston Lake, right on 146A
- Few yards north on 146A, left on Lake Hill Rd.
- 15.2 miles Lake Hill Rd. becoming Stage Rd. in Charlton, jog left to Maple Ave. Left on Packer Rd. to EaSt.ern Ave. becoming WeSt.ern Ave. in West Charlton. Right Westline Rd. Left Waite Rd. to Rt. 67 north of Amsterdam
- 4.8 miles Left Rt. 67 to Amsterdam to roof of Riverfront Center parking lot (this included about 2 extra miles looping around downtown Amsterdam looking for the route to cross to the Riverfront Park/Gateway Overlook Bridge.
- 0.5 mile bridge/elevator from roof of Riverfront to “Riverlink Park.” Over the new (August 2016) Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge to Erie Canalway Trail just past Erie St.
- 29.0 miles Canalway Trail/5S thru Pattersonville, Rotterdam Junction, Schenectady over to Scotia – on a (nasty, nameless) trail at end of Collins Park to Freemans Bridge
- Back to Schenectady/Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail to Lions Park, Niskayuna
- 3.2 miles Left Old River Rd., Right Rosendale Rd., Left Rt. 7, right British American Blvd (bike lanes) to Cornell Rd., to Shaker Trail (paved), and to left on Airline Dr
- 2.3 miles Airline Dr that becomes S. Family Drive to left on Sand Creek. Sand Creek to right Morello Drive – left on Central 1 block, to Lincoln Ave.
- 3.2 miles Lincoln to the City Dump and Six Mile Waterworks Trail, Rt. on Multi-Use Trail along Fuller to Circle by UAlbany, Tricentennial Dr.
- 4.6 miles UALBANY Bike Path to WeSt.ern Ave., left on WeSt.ern to HomeSt.ead, left on Hazlehurst which becomes Berkshire to Right on Ormond becomes Friebel Rd. / left on Krumkill to New Scotland, Right on New Scotland, and back home.
This is a good ride to gain an appreciation of the touring opportunities in the area. The ride could be broken up into two or three segments for those wanting to commit to a “century” ride. [Ed.]
If you’re cruising north through Vermont and end up in Poultney, you’ll be pleased to find one segment of another D&H rail trail. If you also have your Brompton in the trunk, you can enjoy an arrow-straight ride starting in Poultney and running south to the NY border or north to Castleton, VT. There’s also a second (unconnected) segment running between West Rupert and West Pawlet. The section south of Poultney has a surface more suited to walking/jogging and mountain/fat tire biking. Thin-tire people will not be amused. In any case, the ride is pleasant and the scenery great.
History buffs will recall the D&H billed itself as the “bridge route” to connect northern Pennsylvania and Eastern NY to Canada and had its start hauling the “tank bombs” of yesteryear from the anthracite coalfields around Honesdale, PA.
That’s a Lotta Slate!
Just a short time ago …
Along the Trail
Ribbon Cutting for the Albany County Rail Trail from Albany to Delmar – Mon, 5/23, 10:30 AM
- May 23
- 10:30 am
- Where? – On the trail at Stewart’s, 309 Delaware Ave. Delmar.
Albany County will hold a ribbon cutting and celebration of the completion of the latest phase of the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail. County Executive McCoy, Bethlehem Town Supervisor Clarkson, and Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy King will mark the opening of the three-mile trail between Delmar and South Pearl St.
- There is a cooperative effort to pave the four miles of trail from Adams St. to Firefighters’ Park in Slingerlands to be completed this year. The Delmar-Voorheesville portion is scheduled for 2017.
- At the other end of the trail in Albany, under city contract, Alta Planning + Design are conducting a feasibility/design study of this critical 1.3-mile connection between the S. Pearl trailhead and the Corning Riverfront Park/Albany waterfront. See the preferred route here.
$5,000,000 Project at the Waterfront