BALLSTON VETERANS BIKE TRAIL
- Town of Ballston, Saratoga County
- Activities: Biking, running, walking
- Length: 3 1/2 miles
- Scenery: Natural, railroad tracks
- Terrain: Asphalt
- Trip Tip: Parallels Ballston Lake
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. Expect for the occasional train breaching the sounds of nature, the thick foliage around the trail gives you a feeling of solitude.
Directions: Outlet Road, Northern Trailhead
Travel south from Saratoga Springs for 9.5 miles on Route 50 through Ballston Spa to the traffic light at Outlet Road. Remember to stop in Ballston Spa at the Wild Tea Co to pick up an energy drink before hitting the trail. The Good Times Café sign is a good landmark marking Outlet Road. Continue east on Outlet Rd. The trailhead is on the right just before you go over the railroad tracks, although the parking area is a few hundred yards down the road on the left. The parking area is large enough for plenty of vehicles and has one picnic table. The Good Times Café is great spot to eat after your adventure.
Directions: Route 146A, Southern Trailhead
To reach the southern trailhead in the Village of Ballston Lake, continue south on Route 50. Make a left onto Route 146A and drive east toward the Village of Ballston Lake. There is a small parking area on the left. Carney's Restaurant, located 100 ft from the south end of the bike path has great food and drink. Patrons are welcome to park in their lot while using the trail.
OLD CHAMPLAIN CANAL TOWPATH
- Town of Waterford
- Length: 3 miles
- Scenery: Wetland, Woods
- Terrain: Level trail
- Trip Tip: Bike along history.
Hidden under a thick canopy of vegetation lies the Old Champlain Canal. The old towpath along the canal has been restored as a multi-use recreational trail through the Town of Waterford. As you ride along the bike path you will see remains of the old canal and it’s locks. There are several informational signs along the towpath explaining past operations of the canal.
The Champlain Canal was originally built in 1832 and connected the Hudson River in Waterford to Lake Champlain in Whitehall. This area is now part of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
About one mile north from the trailhead is Lock 2 on the present day Erie Canal. This is the first of five locks in a series referred to as the Waterford Flight. Boats are lifted 169 feet from the Hudson River around the Cohoes Falls to the Mohawk River. The bike trail continues around the lock. Follow the signage to the next section that starts at Broad St, where the trail has been extended north for several miles. Views of Vermont with active railroad tracks in the foreground are off to the east. The west side of the canal has a steep grade which was utilized during the original construction. The trail fades away into a landfill to the north.
Directions: Fulton Avenue
From the north, take Exit 8a off of the Northway(I-87). Head east on Grooms Rd (Rte 91). Cross over Rte 9 and continue on Guideboard Rd (Rte. 94). This turns into Middletown Rd(Rte. 96) to the Town of Waterford. Make a right onto Saratoga Ave (Rte 32). Stay on Saratoga Ave until you see the McDonald’s on the right. Make a left onto Fulton Ave. Park in the park at the end of the road. The bike path starts on the north end of the park.
ZIM SMITH TRAIL
- Town of Malta
- Length: 6 miles
- Scenery: Farms, Creek, Houses
- Terrain: Flat Hard Surface
- Trip Tip: Fun for everyone.
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.
Directions: Shenantaha Creek Park, East Line Rd.
From the Northway (I-87) take Exit 12. Drive west on Rte 67. Continue 1 1/2 miles to East Line Rd. Turn left and go 1/2 mile to the entrance for Shenantaha Creek Park on the left. The main parking area is through the gate and down the hill.