Exploring New York’s New 750-Mile, Multi-Use Empire State Trail

January 12, 2021
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Exploring New York’s New 750-Mile, Multi-Use Empire State Trail
Niskayuna Rail Bike Path on the Empire State Trail. Photo from the Governor Cuomo Press Release


From Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Press Office on Dec. 30, 2020:

Walk, run, or bike from New York City to Buffalo or Canada on what Governor Cuomo is calling America’s longest multi-use state trail. "There's no trail like it in the nation—750 miles of multi-use trail literally from Manhattan to the Canadian Border, from Buffalo to Albany," Cuomo said. "Not only does it provide an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and history of New York, but it also gives New Yorkers from every corner of the state a safe outlet for recreation as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach the holiday weekend, there is no better time than now to put on your mask and experience it for yourself."

Learn more about the Empire State Trail by exploring its website and map.

The project started in 2017. It was completed and opened on Dec. 31, 2020. Seventy-five percent of the Empire State Trail is off-road, which is great for bikers, hikers, runners, and even cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter months! Thanks to the efforts of state and local partners, 58 projects were completed and more than 180 miles of new off-road trail was built. The project also connected 400 miles of previously existing but disconnected, off-road trails.

Recently completed projects that finalize the trail in the Hudson Valley:

  • Albany-Hudson Electric Trail: The Hudson River Valley Greenway constructed 36 miles of off-road and on-road trails from the city of Rensselaer to the City of Hudson in Rensselaer and Columbia counties. The $45 million trail follows the historic route of an electric trolley that operated from 1900 to 1929. The corridor is owned by National Grid, which authorized New York State to build a trail on the route.
  • Maybrook Trailway: Metro-North Railroad constructed a new, 23-mile rail trail on its inactive Beacon Line corridor from Hopewell Junction in Dutchess County to Brewster in Putnam County, passing through the towns of Pawling, Southeast, Paterson, Beekman, and East Fishkill. Along the route, the trail winds through rural landscapes and wooded areas featuring seasonal waterfalls; it also crosses the Appalachian Trail. The $42 million Beacon Line was the first all-rail freight connection across the Hudson River north of New York City. It originally opened as a rail line in 1892 and served as a vital transportation link between New York and southern New England, carrying trains between Derby Junction and Maybrook via the bridge over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, which is now the Walkway Over the Hudson.
  • Hudson River Brickyard Trail: The City of Kingston constructed a new, 1.5-mile Empire State Trail section along the Hudson River shoreline. The $1.4 million project was built with the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster funds matched by state grants from the Department of State and Hudson River Valley Greenway.
  • Battery Park City Gateway: The $450,000 gateway marks the southern terminus of the trail in Lower Manhattan.

Empire State Trail sections in the Hudson Valley

New York City to Poughkeepsie, South to North:

Poughkeepsie to Albany, South to North:

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The Empire State Trail is a testament to Governor Cuomo's vision to make New York State an unmatched destination for outdoor recreation. Everyone from the most experienced long-distance cyclists to family groups with children will enjoy this pathway. People can take a quick bike ride or walk close to home, or they can plan a multi-day adventure to take them from one end of the state to the other."

Looking for an extra level of exploration?

In addition to the trail itself, a virtual passport program showcases the 200 craft breweries closely situated to the Empire State Trail. In partnership with the New York State Brewers Association, the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport has been made available through the NYSBA's existing New York Craft Beer App. It will encourage New Yorkers to visit breweries within 10 miles of the Empire State Trail. At each brewery along the trail, visitors can digitally check-in on the app, earning a stamp on both of the app's passport programs—the Think NY, Drink NY Passport, and now the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport. Additional information about the app is available here.