Author Topic: Empire State Trail  (Read 1639 times)

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Offline David W Pratt

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Empire State Trail
« on: April 03, 2021, 04:19:14 pm »
New York now has such a thing.  NYC to Albany, turn left, on to Buffalo, or, stay straight and North to Canada.
My question is do paper maps of it exist?  Especially the section NYC to Canada?
Thanks

Offline ggwbikemt

Re: Empire State Trail
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 05:47:06 am »
The book "Cycling the Erie Canal"   from www.ptny.org for $26.95  covers the Buffalo to Albany part of the Empire State Trail very well and includes paper maps.  I have not been able to find paper maps of the NYC to Albany or Albany to Quebec yet. The web site https://empiretrail.ny.gov/ has  online maps but it would take too many sheets of paper for me to be able to print a useful set of maps from it. 

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: Empire State Trail
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2021, 03:13:16 pm »
Thanks.
I did the Erie Canal Towpath a couple of years ago.  The book (then, there is a new edition out this year) did not really cover potential alternates in case of a closure.  The signage was poor to non existent.  Many of the service and lodging listings were no longer accurate.

Offline Johnny10000

Re: Empire State Trail
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 09:55:26 pm »
There seems to be some confusion about who actually manages the trail.   Is it Parks and Trails New York (PTNY) or is it the Canalway Corp?.  I’d love to know!   :)   Knowing who to contact and provide feedback to may lead to an improved trail, better camping options, maps, etc.

I love the Buffalo to Albany portion (I did the “Cycle the Erie Canal” event organized by PTNY so I can’t comment on NYC to Canada).  The trail surface is great, the scenery, history, old locks, lovely small towns.  But I agree with the comments here about the signage being poor as well as no paper maps online. I always found it strange that there are zero mile markers from start to finish (there were some blue and yellow old-school canal ones for the boats for about 10 miles out of the Tonawanda’s but then they disappeared).  No signs saying you reached the eastern/western terminus in Buffalo and Albany.  No one truly knows where they they start and end (although I believe it’s Canalside in Buffalo and Jennings Landing in Albany).

The camping situation really needs to be improved.  Where are all of the Hiker/Biker primitive camping sites?  There are only 5 sites (4 locks and a visitor center) across a 380 mile trail. There aren’t even that many paid sites, maybe two right along the trail?  If you don’t get one of the five sites, they say you must contact a lock operator to get permission at other sites to see if camping is “permissible”.   Not super helpful if you’re trying to plan your nightly stops.  Why not just open them up?

Our local rail trail (Montour Trail) has three separate campsites and much of it was built by Eagle Scouts doing their projects.   Mulched tent pads, picnic benches with covers, Adirondack shelters at each site, hammock posts, and fire pits.  The trail kicks in with the rentals of the chemical toilets and also organizes fire wood to be stacked at the sites.  I’m not saying this is the only way to do things but with engagement in local communities, things could be improved. 

I think the Empire State Trail/Erie Canal Towpath should engage in some sort of “trail towns” program like they’ve done on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) - Pittsburgh to Cumberland.  Restaurants, hotels, paid campsites with showers, B&B’s, ice cream, bike repairs, etc. all listed on GAP yearly “Trail guide” (but up-to-date!). These places actively court cyclists passing through because it in their interest to court them.  I often wonder if some of these towns along the trail realize what a recreational gem they have in their backyard, not just an historic one. 

Here’s two good example of PDF maps they could emulate:

GAP:
https://gaptrail.org/system/resources/W1siZiIsIjIwMTkvMDYvMjUvMTUvNTQvNTIvNDUyL2dhcF9tYXBfd2ViLnBkZiJdXQ/gap_map_web.pdf

C&O Canal:
https://gaptrail.org/system/resources/W1siZiIsIjIwMTkvMDYvMjUvMTUvNTMvMTIvMTc3L2Nfb19tYXBfd2ViLnBkZiJdXQ/c%26o_map_web.pdf

This trail could and should easily rival the GAP/C&O but it needs to build up some of the infrastructure to make it a better experience.

John

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Empire State Trail
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 12:39:07 pm »
Hope people realize that the part between Albany and the Canadian Border is overwhelmingly on-road.

https://empiretrail.ny.gov/map

(Camping is shown on the map.)

Unlike the GAP, which is a contiguous "animal," the Empire Trail is made up of various, mostly pre-existing trails (There was recently at least one segment extension in the New Paltz area.) and roads. As such, I do not belivee there is one manager.

https://empiretrail.ny.gov

As for "infrastructure" development, the Erie Canal path has been around for a long time. (I rode part of it while and later passed through Ticonderoga while crossing the country in '99.) Cycling in the Champlain Valley is also nothing new. The information about what is available in terms of services is not aggregated into one source because, as noted, there is not one organization managing this "trail."
« Last Edit: April 06, 2021, 12:54:23 pm by BikeliciousBabe »