Hiking and Biking Trails
Want to know which hiking trails in Saratoga County allow dogs? Where you can ride your horse? The best place to put your kayak into the Kayaderosseras Creek? There’s now a map for that. Saratoga P.L.A.N., in partnership with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga County Planning Department, recently created a comprehensive, countywide, online trail map that is accessible to the public.
Last spring, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce secured a small grant that allowed Saratoga P.L.A.N. to hire University at Albany graduate student Chris Ferraro to work with the County Planning Department and local town officials to create a single dataset for all trails in the county. The result is a geographic information system (GIS) map layer that is now available to the public in three formats. Instructions on using all three of those formats are on PLAN’s website at www.saratogaplan.org.
This new map layer provides a comprehensive look at all of the county’s 200 plus miles of public non-motorized vehicle trails and 124 miles of snowmobile trails, whether the trails are managed by P.L.A.N., the state, the county, a village or town, or another entity. The map viewer provides information on parking, surface, activities allowed and more.
Additional Trail Options/Resources Include:
Saratoga National Historical Park
(Hiking, Road Biking)
The Park is about 3400 acres in size. The Battlefield is the largest of the three Park units, at about 3000 acres. Here in the autumn of 1777 American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender. This crucial American victory renewed patriots' hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world. For more details about options to explore this National Park, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/sara/index.htm.
Saratoga Spa State Park
(Hiking, Road/Mountain Biking)
Saratoga Spa State Park, distinguished by its classical architecture and listed as a National Historic Landmark, is noted for its diverse cultural, aesthetic and recreational resources. In addition to the nationally-known Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa, the park offers a multitude of traditional recreation opportunities. The gentle terrain offers picnic areas, shady streamside trails, suitable for the nature-lover or the casual walker, as well as certified running courses used by joggers and high school and college athletes. Winter activities include cross-country skiing on approximately 12 miles of trails, ice skating, and ice hockey.
For more details, please visit http://www.nysparks.com/parks/saratogaspa/details.aspx
For a pdf of the trails within the Spa State Park, please click here: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/112/maps.aspx
When you reach the summit you will have excellent views of the Great Sacandaga Lake to the south. On a clear day one can see the High Peaks to the north and Lake Champlain to the east. Hadley Mtn. is located north of Saratoga Springs in the Wilcox Wilderness area of the Adirondack State Park. The trailhead and trail are maintained very well for the amount of foot traffic this mountain sees. A couple of sections on the hike are steep and will definitely get the heart pumping. The fire tower at the top is one of the 34 remaining towers in the Adirondack Park. This tower and similar ones were built in the middle of the 1900's for spotting forest fires. There is a summit steward stationed here during the summer who will provide information on the area and open the tower for hikers.
Wilton Wildlife Preserve/Camp Saratoga Trails
(Hiking, Mountain Biking)
Camp Saratoga was operated as a Boy Scout camp from 1930 to 2001, then it became part of the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park. The preserve is 310 acres and located only eight miles from downtown Saratoga. This park encompasses a variety of ecosystems including woodlands, wetlands, open areas and streams. The trails are excellent for jogging, walking, and easy mountain biking. As you explore you will notice old lean-to's and buildings once used by the scouts. This habitat supports the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
For more details, please visit http://www.wiltonpreserve.org/.
Moreau Lake State Park
(Hiking, Mountain Biking)
With over 3,000 acres, this New York State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails run throughout the park. It contains the Moreau Lake Bird Conservation Area and is designated as an Audobon's Moreau Lake Forest Important Bird Area. The park also hosts seasonal camping, beach and picnic area and year-round events.
For more information, go online to http://nysparks.com/parks/150/details.aspx.
This area encompasses part of the largest wetland in the Town of Wilton, the Miller swamp. Developed and maintained by the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, the Neilman Parcel adds to the open space in Saratoga County. The trailhead has a kiosk with trail maps and information about the natural environment. The Trails are flat and are great for an easy nature walk with the kids. See how many invertebrates and amphibians you can spot. This area is home to deer, pileated woodpeckers, red fox, Eastern Spadefoot Toad, and the Eastern Hognose Snake.
Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve
(Hiking, Road/Mountain Biking)
This nature preserve is located in southern Saratoga County along the Mohawk River. The trail system is well maintained and integrates sections of the Old Erie Canal and Towpath. As you stroll along the Mohawk River there are historical markers providing information dating back to the early 1900’s. This area is a floodplain and during high water some of the trails are flooded. This wetland provides an excellent habitat for many species of birds and plants - Great Blue Herons (GBH) are often spotted.
The restored historic Whipple Bridge connects the trailhead/parking area along Riverview Rd to the preserve. Once over the footbridge, walk west along the river about 3 miles to reach the power plant on the Mohawk River. From this spot you can look across the river and see the Erie Canal Lock 7. As you walk along the river you will pass Old Lock 19 and the site of a past operating ferry, used to cross the Mohawk River.
Walking less than a mile east from the footbridge, the trail ends at Clute’s Dry Dock. The trail heading directly south from the bridge will take you to the river’s edge and will provide beautiful scenery of the Mohawk River. There is access here for launching a canoe or kayak. This nature preserve is popular among dog walkers and joggers.
Ballston Veterans Bike Path
(Hiking, Road/Mountain Biking)
White Beach, Timeson and Oakwood were frequent stops on the Schenectady-Saratoga Trolley line that once ran off to the west of Ballston Lake. General Electric employees and other visitors looking to recreate and relax on Ballston Lake frequented the trolley. Converted to a bikeway and walking trail, this flat and straight, asphalt covered path is a great destination for the whole family. The trail stretches for three and half-miles between Outlet Road to Route 146A in the Village of Ballston Lake. As you ride on the trail, interpretive signs remind you of the past with information on the early settlers dating back to the 1700’s. The small metal trail markers every quarter mile are a convenient way to keep track of your progress. Active railroad tracks run parallel between the bikeway and the lake. A high bank on the east side of the trail provides a nice visual barrier for the tracks. Except for the occasional train breaching the sounds of nature, the thick foliage around the trail gives you a feeling of solitude.
Saratoga Mountain Biking Association
Founded nearly a decade ago by a small group of dedicated riders led by local businessman Chris Pitts, the Saratoga Mountain Biking Association has been working to preserve trail access and promote mountain bike activism ever since. Entirely member-supported, our member base of nearly four hundred active riders grows every year. The yearly membership fee our members pay goes to the cost of leasing and insuring a parcel of over five hundred acres located just outside the Saratoga Springs city limits on which we have built a trail network with almost twenty miles of trail which is still growing.
Visit their website at http://www.saratogamtb.org/index.php
For details about the trails maintained by SMBA, please click here: http://www.saratogamtb.org/index.php?page_id=33
Zim Smith Trail
(Hiking, Road/Mountain Biking)
This trail is a great destination for all sorts of activities, jogging, bicycling or walking your dog. The trail stretches south from the Town of Malta to the City of Mechanicville along the old D&H railroad bed. The trail crosses under the Northway and then crosses over Rte 9. From there it runs through the wetland area southwest of Round Lake. This section of the trail is an excellent spot for bird watching. The trail intersects numerous roads along the way - some have parking areas. Saratoga County Heritage Trail Committee is working to develop this trail through-out the county. They are working on connecting it to Spa State Park and eventually to Railroad Run in Saratoga Springs. Most of the trail is asphalt with some hard packed dirt sections. The trail is well maintained and is excellent for strollers and wheelchairs. There are several playgrounds along the way. The best place to park (and even have a picnic) is at Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta. The trail from Coons Crossing Road to Mechanicville is still under development. This trail was named after Zim Smith who dedicated himself to the development of outdoor recreation and open space in Saratoga County.
Bog Meadow Nature Trail
Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail is one of Saratoga P.L.A.N.'s earliest accomplishments. This two mile trail was established in 1993 by dedicated volunteers and members and follows the path of an abandoned railway. Three distinct wetland communities are present along the trail and visitors are likely to see a variety of wildlife throughout the seasons. The trail, which includes an extensive boardwalk system, may be enjoyed on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis. For details about this trail, please click here: http://www.saratogaplan.org/trail_bogmeadow.html
Johnny Miller's Adventure Guide
Saratoga County, located south of the Adirondack Mountains and 30 minutes from Lake George, is a great place for the outdoor enthusiast. There are over 100 miles of lakes and rivers for all levels of paddlers. The Hudson and Mohawk Rivers make up approximately half of Saratoga County's border. Trail runners, walkers, and mountain bikers can explore the numerous trails, recently protected by dedicated land preservation groups. The mountains in the northern portion of the county are part of the Adirondack State Park and are a great challenge for all levels of hikers. The rolling countryside, throughout the region, will keep road bikers spinning for miles. Enjoy your Adventure - Johnny Miller.
For details, please visit http://johnnymilleradventures.com/
Saratoga National Golf Club Trail
The half mile trail is an easy walk through a lovely forested area to a beautiful view of the Lake Lonely northern shore. Here, users can also enjoy a platform seating and viewing area to rest or enjoy a picnic lunch. The trail is open year round and is perfect for young children or those who prefer shorter hikes. The club is located on Route 9N about 1 mile east of the Northway I87. A special parking area is located on Union Avenue just east of the Golf Club entrance. The trail starts by going through the gate and following the path around to the left.
Old Gick Farm Nature Trail
The Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park has protected and maintained the Old Gick Farm as a nature preserve since 1998. Close to town, this once operating farm is an easy walk through a beautiful and diverse environment. Once an open area, pitch pine and oak have encroached the open fields over the years. The terrain is sandy and gently rolling. There is one main trail that is 0.85 miles long and fairly flat. There are three secondary trails that spur off the main trail. The trailhead has a kiosk with trail maps and information about the natural environment. The trailhead is on Route 50, just 4 miles on the left past the Wilton Mall.
Skidmore North Woods
Popular Dog Walking Nature Trails. The trailhead is at the end of North Broadway where the pavement turns into a dirt road. This 250 acres woods includes swamps, ponds, trees, and fields. The trails start out on top of the hill and descend into the valley. There are railroad tracks that border the Northwoods on the north side. Parking is available on the Skidmore campus at the Northwoods lot.
Woods Hollow Preserve
There are several trails to choose from, with the majority of them consisting of former logging roads that meander over rolling terrain and sandy soils. The trails are well marked with colored, plastic discs and with interpretive signs along the way, providing interesting and concise information on the areas history and ecology. Toward the center of this 130 acre parcel is a placid lake that was once used as a community water supply. The wooden dock next to the dilapidated pump house extends from the eastern shoreline and provides a stable platform for bird watching or basking in the warm sun. Maps showing the various trails are located inside the main entrance off Northline Road and entrances off Rowland Street in Milton.
Kayaderosseras Creek Canoe & Kayak Trail
This is a beautiful 6.5 mile paddle through a diverse semi-rural setting. The creek takes its name from a Mohawk Indian description meaning the land of the beautiful lake of the winding river. The trail is navigable from spring to autumn and offers a relatively mild paddling experience with two opportunities for whitewater when the river runs high. Five access points allow all levels of canoeists and kayakers to choose a paddle for their ability. Traveling east from Kelly Park in Ballston Spa, the Kayaderosseras winds its way into Saratoga Lake. The route provides easy access to Saratoga Lake, Fish Creek, and Lake Lonely for extending paddling trips. Parking, launch and recovery sites are carefully placed and spaced, and the trail is near the major highways of Routes 87, 9 and 50. Access point the New York State Boat Launch. Take route 9P south to Saratoga Lake.
The beautiful 4.2 mile trail, that passes rolling fields, deep forests and shady streams, was used in 1777 by escaping British soldiers after they were defeated by American soldiers in the Battles of Saratoga. Today, it is a well groomed trail offering excellent wildlife viewing and the fascinating story of how these grounds played a significant role in winning America’s independence. Dogs must be leashed. It is advisable to bring water and pick up a trail brochure at the visitor center. Saratoga National Historical Park, Route 32 at Route 4 in Stillwater. Call 664-9821 x224
Hemlock Nature Trail
The Hemlock Trail area is 308 acres of flat terrain with some streams. 90 acres were left to grow undisturbed because they were too wet to log. Small groves of old growth trees still stand among these wetlands. As you hike the Hemlock Trail will lead you through fields and forests of all ages. The Hemlock Trail winds through hardwood forests, fields, hemlock forests and wetlands. Be sure to look for an old-growth grove. The ground may also have mounds and pits, all that remains of trees that once stood in the forest long ago. The Hemlock Trail gate opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sunset. Dogs must be leashed.
Saratoga Greenbelt Trail (Planning stages)
(Walking/running, Road/Mountain Biking)