Rail Trail

Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail (ACHHRT) is a community treasure providing exciting opportunities for recreation, exercise & fitness, and zero carbon transportation, amidst beautiful vistas of natural scenery. The trail provides a safe and enjoyable bike-and pedestrian-friendly connection between the communities of Voorheesville, New Scotland, Bethlehem, and Albany. The 9-mile Rail Trail corridor is owned by Albany County and is a shared-use path that accommodates all types of non-motorized traffic.

Our Role

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy works in partnership with Albany County, the City of Albany, the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, and the Village of Voorheesville to promote and advocate for this exceptional recreational asset.

We lease and manage the trail between Slingerlands and Voorheesville. Volunteers from Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT), a committee of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, serve as Trail Ambassadors, guiding visitors, patrolling, and serving as trail custodians. If you’re interested in joining FORT, send us an e-mail at mhlc@mohawkhudson.org.

Current Status

More than 5 miles of the trail are currently paved, from South Pearl Street in Albany to the Toll Gate Plaza in Slingerlands . From Slingerlands to Voorheesville Avenue, 4 miles of the route is unpaved and suitable for mountain biking, walking, and jogging. Albany County plans to pave this section soon. A short section between Voorheesville Avenue and South Main Street in Voorheesville was paved by the Village in 2016. The Village also constructed a beautiful pavilion with a design reminiscent of the former Voorheesville rail road station. The Rail Trail News page has the latest updates on the Rail Trail.

Our Vision

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is a wonderful, linear open space that connects people and communities along a safe, comfortable, and attractive passageway. We see the trail as both an alternative transportation route and a beautiful recreational asset that will enhance the quality of life in the Capital District.  We will continue to work with the local communities to improve trail access and to provide linkages to interesting attractions and useful destinations along the route.

Our work with the Town of New Scotland to relocate the historic Hilton Barn and create the Hilton Park is a great example of one of the many possibilities for the future of the trail.  We encourage individuals and communities to work with us to enhance the future of this tremendous community asset. 

Next Steps

The Rail Trail project offers exciting opportunities to improve trail users’ experiences. Albany County announced plans to pave the trail between Slingerlands and Voorheesville in 2017. Discussions regarding other improvements along the route are ongoing, these include the following:

  • Additional signage, including trail head kiosks and mile markers, will be installed in 2017.
  • Albany County has hired a consulting firm to develop plans for the area in Slingerlands to beautify this access point for the trail.
  • The Village of Voorheesville has plans to make further improvements to the trail. Stay tuned for updates!
  • Benches will be strategically installed along the route.
  • The Town of New Scotland will continue to restore the Hilton Barn and develop the Hilton Park.

The Future

A planned linkage between the current trail terminus on South Pearl Street in the south end of Albany and the Corning Preserve along the Hudson River in Albany will connect the ACHHRT to the Mohawk Hudson Bikeway.  With this linkage, the Rail Trail will become a part of the Empire State Trail connecting Albany to Buffalo. The City of Albany is working with Alta Vista Design to sort out possible routes for the trail through the South End of Albany.

Join the Rail Trail Community

If you would like to make a donation to help complete the trail, you can donate online today. All gifts are tax-deductible and are essential to conserve land forever. Please call MHLC at 518-436-6346 for additional information or to donate over the phone.

More information can be found about the Rail trail at Albany County’s Rail Trail webpage.

Would you like to join the group of volunteers who monitor the Rail Trail? E-mail mhlc@mohawkhudson.org and let us know you’d like to join the Friends of the Rail Trail. You can follow FORT on Facebook, or visit FORT’s Flickr page to see photos.

 

Click on a thumbnail below in our Rail Trail Gallery to see the full-size photograph.

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