13 Best Bikes & Hikes Within An Hour Of Albany
Looking to explore the natural beauty of Albany? These 13 trails are all within an hour's drive from New York's capital. Take a ride on bike paths, discover waterfalls and scenic views, or wander through forests and fields to find your zen. Pack your bag and get adventuring!
Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail
A safe and fun ride for the family! Connecting the Port of Albany to Voorheesville, the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is a 9-mile stretch of tree-lined path, perfect for walking, biking, roller blading, wheelchairs, and strollers. Albany County has paved the trail from Albany to Slingerlands, and plans to finish paving from Slingerlands to Voorheesville. Previously the old Delaware and Hudson Railroad, this trail features interpretive signs with maps and historical photos. A volunteer committee hires local artists to create art on the trail: check out the colorful mural at the Hudson Avenue and Adams Street intersection.
Access: 720 S. Pearl Street, Hudson Avenue, Kenwood Municipal Lot, Voorheesville Avenue
Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail
Witness history while biking the Mohawk-Hudson Trail! Hugging the banks of the old Erie Canal, this trail offers 36.8 miles of paved trails from Rotterdam to Albany. Travel under the Mohawk Bridge, on abandoned rail lines, and by canal systems built in the 1800s. Part of the state-wide Erie Canalway Trail, this section offers plenty of picnic-friendly pit stops. Park your bike at the Fox Preserve in Colonie, where you can take a short hike break over one mile of shaded forest trails. You're sure to enjoy your cycle along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers!
Access: Multiple locations from Rotterdam to Albany
Grafton Lakes State Park Trail
Just 40 minutes from Albany, Grafton Lakes State Park offers 25 miles of meandering trails. Tucked in between the Taconic and Hudson Valleys, this magnificent park features 6 ponds, a beach and boat rentals, and 2,500 acres of nature! Stop by the Shaver Pond Nature Center, which is handicap accessible, for outdoor recreation and environmental education programs. Biking on a hot day? Enjoy a refreshing dip in popular Long Pond after your ride.
Access: 100 Grafton Lakes State Park Way, Cropseyville
Ditch The Wheels & Hit These Hiking Trails
For a quick hike with a huge reward, head to Kaaterskill Falls! This quick but steep 1.3-mile hike brings you to the tallest two-tier waterfall in New York State. Only 1 hour south of Albany, you can witness the babbling brooks and fabulous falls while you hike up towards the massive waterfool and large natural pool. Be prepared to walk along the shoulder of a main road to reach the trailhead after parking: this is a popular destination and there are often many hikers parked on the road and walking to the trailhead.
Access: NY-23A, Tannersville
Plotter Kill Preserve
The rugged terrain of this hike is well worth the view. Plotter Kill, a tributary of the Mohawk River, hosts three magnificent waterfalls visible for all hikers. The gorge which creates these beautiful waterfalls also creates steep slopes and ledges near the trails: hikers are advised to wear proper hiking shoes and hike with caution in all conditions. Take your family for a beautiful loop trail and witness 600 species of plants and incredible stream and waterfall views. Views are said to be best during spring high waters and winter ice.
Access: Parking lot off of Mariaville Road, Rotterdam
John Boyd Thacher State Park
Take a 30 minute drive from downtown Albany, and you'll be walking along the Helderberg Escarpment, feasting your eyes on the Capital Region's most magnificent panoramic views of the Hudson-Mohawk valleys, the Adirondacks, and Green Mountains of Vermont. Hike the day away on 25 miles of trails! Crawl your way into caves to discover some of the richest fossil-bearing formations in the world. This is a great destination for families: Thacher State Park also offers volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, reserveable shelters, and a new adventure course with zip lines and aerial games.
Access: 1 Hailes Cave Road, Voorheesville
Check out this easy and beautiful hike in Schenectady County! Christman Sanctuary hosts a 2.2-mile loop featuring creeks, a towering 30-foot waterfall, and a variety of locust, cedar, spruce, red pine, and white pine trees planted by devoted farmer Will Christman. You don't need a full day for this stroll, check out this National Historic Landmark, maintained by The Nature Conservancy, today!
Access: Schoharie Turnpike, Duanesburg
Rivers and rapids surround you as you stroll around Peebles Island State Park. The gentle rolling trail winds through forests and along the banks of the island, creating a pictureqsue path for walkers and joggers. This state park is situated in between the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers- perfect for fishermen. Don't forget your picnic basket for after your walk!
Access: 1 Delaware Avenue North, Cohoes
Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Discover, play, and conserve at Albany Pine Bush Preserve! On top of offering 18 miles of trails through the pine-scrub oak barrens ecosystem, Albany Pine Bush Preserve has a discovery center with interactive exhibits and is home to 45 recovering endangered species. You can do a lot more than just hike at this destination. Once the flakes fall in winter, break out your snowshoes and explore a transformed landscape of white rolling hills and blue sky!
Access: 195 New Karner Road, Albany
Hannacroix Creek Preserve
Perfect for hikers with dogs! Venture 25 minutes south of Albany for an easy hike with lots of unique features at Hannacroix Creek Preserve, managed by the New Baltimore Conservancy. With 4 different trails to choose from, your exploration could last all day! Hike along the Hannacroix creek and eventually you'll end up at the Hudson River. The marked trails will take you to a waterfall, interesting rock ledges, and the foundation of a paper mill. Grab a leash and go!
Access: NY-144, New Baltimore
Bozen Kill Preserve
Looking for streams, waterfalls, old rock walls, and history? Explore the Bozen Kill Preserve in Altamont, which is maintained by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Just over one mile of trails takes you through easy and moderate terrain. Enjoy open fields, shaded forests, and the beautiful Bozen Kill, which means "raging stream" in Dutch. This is a perfect hike for families or those who prefer less strenuous hikes.
Access: 6573 Westfall Road, Altamont
Poestenkill Falls/Mount Ida Falls
Welcome to Troy's best-kept secret! Within Poestenkill Gorge Park you can find a 175-foot towering waterfall. Take a short hike to the bottom of the falls and peer up as the water pounds down- it's incredible! Be cautious during wet conditions and make sure to wear proper hiking shoes (and clothes that you don't mind getting wet!).
Access: Linden Avenue, Troy
Hunter Mountain Fire Tower
In 2017, the DEC announced the completion of a $48,000 reconstruction of Hunter Mountain Fire Tower. Fire towers represent the rich history of our local forest preserves and are a fun addition to any hike. The fire tower is 4,040 tall, making it the highest elevation fire tower in the entire state, and providing unparalleled views of the Catskill Mountains. Hunter Mountain is located just a little over an hour from downtown Albany.
Access: Route 214, Hunter
Which hike or bike will you be conquering today?