Someday in the not too distant future, New York will be connected by one long continuous trail for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and taking in all the best the Empire State has to offer. Running from Manhattan up to the Canadian border, and spanning from Lake Erie across to the capital region, the Empire State Trail will build upon two existing trails to create an expansive 750 mile pathway.
As part of his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed adding 350 miles of trail to create the new pathway, which aims to be finished by 2020. “The Empire State Trail, once completed, will be the nation’s largest state multi-use trail network, providing residents and visitors alike unprecedented access to New York’s outdoor treasures, driving tourism and economic activity to communities across the state and helping to protect our environmental resources for generations to come,” said Cuomo.
Currently, New York is home to two popular but unfinished trailways: the Erie Canalway, stretching from Buffalo to Albany and the Hudson River Valley Greenway, which begins in southern Manhattan’s Battery Park and continues 11 miles north into the Hudson River Valley. The Empire State Trail will complete and connect these pathways, and offer access to some of New York’s most popular destinations and historic sites, including Schodack Island State Park, Fort Ticonderoga, Buffalo Harbor State Park, and The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, as well as wineries, breweries, and other cultural attractions.
Accompanying the new trail will be a new app, which will let visitors navigate the greenways, determine which hiking trails are best suited for their ability, and pinpoint nearby attractions. Safety features will also alert friends or emergency responders to a user’s exact location, and social media connections will allow for sharing photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.