This is a guest post from Liz. She sometimes contributes to All Over Albany, and she blogs at The Good Eater. Thanks, Liz!
When I go for a walk along the Niskayuna Trails with my son and husband, chances are we’ll see a deer before we see another person.
That’s not a bad thing, but we’ve been hiking there for almost two years and it’s getting a little lonely.
The trails are located behind Lock 7 in Niskayuna (a fun stop on its own), but unless you’re looking for trail markers, you might miss the paths leading into the woods.
Along the Mohawk-Hudson bike-hike trail (between Blatnick Park and the beginning of the road to Lock 7) there are at least 4 different trail entrances. Each has its own appeal: a hike up and down a gorge, a high atop view of the Mohawk River, a babbling brook to explore and many well-labeled trees, which is a big plus when you’re looking for family fun.
Our little hikes become educational: Sugar Maple, Apple and Black Cherry trees (and many others) are all marked with descriptions, blueberries and blackberry bushes are everywhere and the wildlife there is well, truly wild.
We see hawks on almost every trek and deer are a constant too. Toads and harmless snakes cross our path while chipmunks climb the trees beside us. Fox also made their existence known against the white snow of two winters past.
But whatever the season, it’s a great spot to escape to – even if it’s for a short walk between nap times.
The easiest way to access the trails is to park in the lot at Lock 7 and then walk southwest to the bike-hike path, take a right onto the paved path and you’ll come across a sheltered bench. That’s just one of the trailheads that will get you on the paths.
Another option is to drive down to the end of Whitmeyer Drive (off of River Road) in Niskayuna. On your right will be another trailhead; this one is labeled “Nature Preserve.”
The trails sit on over 100 acres of town and state land and are color coded: red (east-west), blue (north-south), yellow (loop), white (connector).
A map of the trails can be found on the JFBTrails wiki page.
The newest trails in the system are known as the John F. Brown trails. They’re named after the man who was passionate about the land and worked hard to create many of the trails there today.
A list of all of the trails can be found through this page on the JFBTrails page.
Good to Know:
It’s really dry (like, cracks in the dirt) on the trails right now, so mud certainly isn’t an issue. And for the last few months we haven’t noticed one tick (though beware; March-May of this year there were a lot).
Like you would for any walk in the woods, proper footwear and clothes to avoid tick bites is certainly suggested.
While most of the trails are family friendly, if you have a small child who likes to bolt, it’d be best to stay on the trails closest to the bike-hike path that are on lower ground.
FONT, the Friends of Niskayuna Trails is a group that meets on most Saturdays to do trail clean up. They also appreciate help with signage. If you’re interested in helping out you can contact them through their Facebook page.