Get in Shape on New York’s Trails this Winter

Cross-country skiing along trails maintained by the Black River Environmental Improvement Association has become a winter favorite in Oneida County.

Cross-country skiing along trails maintained by the Black River Environmental Improvement Association has become a winter favorite in Oneida County.

People of all ages can get in shape at little to no cost this winter by using New York’s trails. Instead of splurging on a gym membership, why not strap on a pair of boots, snowshoes, or cross-country skis and make good on your New Year’s resolution?

New York is home to hundreds of miles of multi-use trails that weave through some of the most beautiful and historic areas in the state. With TrailFinder, Parks & Trails New York’s easy-to-use online guide you can easily locate a trail to reinvigorate your body and stimulate your senses.

It’s easy to forget just how beautiful winter can be after the excitement over the year’s first snowfall has passed, and that means New Yorkers spend more time inside and less time exercising during the winter months than during any other season. So bundle up, grab a friend, and go enjoy the outdoors on these seven trails for winter wonder:

Seven Trails for Winter Wonder

Chautauqua Rail Trail (Western NY) – Running north to south just below Lake Erie between Interstate 90 and 86, the Main and Portage Trails combine for a total distance of 28.5 miles, with a portion following along the top of Chautauqua Lake. Marvel at the frozen waters of Lake Erie at one of the scenic vistas located along the Alison Wells Ney portion of the trail between Bliss and Thayer roads. Of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is the most likely to freeze during the winter due to its shallow waters.

Clarence Pathways (Western NY) – Near the town of Clarence just outside Buffalo, the Peanut Line and the Clarence-Akron trail merge at Akron Junction to form the Clarence Pathways. The Peanut Line (8.3 miles), which runs from East Amherst to the Akron Junction, gets its name from the small portion of rail which it once covered on the famous New York Central Railroad. The Clarence-Akron Trail (8.6 miles) runs from Akron to Harris Hill. These two Western New York trails are sure to be filled with plenty of fresh winter snow.

Keuka Outlet Trail (Finger Lakes) – Located in the heart of New York’s Finger Lake region between the villages of Penn Yan on Keuka Lake and Dresden on Seneca Lake, the Keuka Outlet Trail includes 7 miles of converted rail bed that once lay atop the towpath separating the Keuka Outlet Creek from the Crooked Lake Canal. The partially frozen waterfalls of the creek are but a few of several winter beauties which you might encounter along the way.

Boonville Black River Canal Trail (Central NY) – A premier destination for cross-country skiers, the Boonville Black River Canal Trail is located north of Rome and close to the Adirondacks. The 6.25-mile trail runs along the Black River Canal, which once connected the Erie Canal to the Black River, opening up the North Country to eastern and mid-western commerce. The trail is maintained by BREIA (Black River Environmental Improvement Association), which grooms the trail, as well as the Egypt Road and Jackson Hill trail systems, over 30 miles in total, specifically for the purpose of cross-country skiing during the winter months. The warming hut located at the northern trailhead even rents skis for a small donation.

Granville Rails to Trails (Capital Region) – The D&H Rail Trail offers access to 10 miles of trail in the village and town of Granville in Washington County as well as 10 additional miles of trail within Vermont. The trail begins at Depot Street in Granville and continues through the colored slate capital of the world before crossing the Vermont border, where it runs between West Pawlett and West Rupert. Expect both New York and Vermont sections to fill up with snow this winter.

Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville Rail Trail (Southern Adirondacks) – The FJ&G Rail Trail covers 8 miles of converted rail bed from Johnstown to Mayfield through Gloversville. The FJ&G line once served as a means of transportation for the workers of glove manufacturing companies which once existed in Gloversville. Located just south of the Adirondacks, the trail exists as a reminder of New York’s industrial past.

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (Hudson Valley) – The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail spans 23.7 miles from the southern border of Gardiner to the northern border of New Paltz – a popular college town with many pleasant shops and restaurants. Formerly the railroad for the Wallkill Valley Line, the trail runs along the Wallkill River which flows at the foot of the Shawangunk Mountain Range. The Wallkill Bridge near Springtown Road offers impressive views up and down the river, as does the recently completed Rosendale Trestle, which is the anchor of an 11.5-mile rail trail extension.

Visit Parks & Trails New York’s TrailFinder to find out more about these and other trails across New York State.

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