Choose Your Own Adventure: Capital Region Hike-a-thon on July 22!

From historic railroad beds to glittering waterfalls, through shaded forests and verdant farmlands, eleven guided outings will showcase nine different areas protected by MHLC beginning at 9:30 AM, Saturday, July 22, during our third annual Summer Hike-a-thon.

Register Today!
The first 100 hikers will get a free t-shirt.

These concurrent offerings will be led by naturalists and experts, well versed in the history, flora, and fauna of each trail. This year’s event goes beyond hiking: other recreational opportunities such as cycling, mountain biking, yoga, treasure hunting, and more are included in this special Summer Hike-a-thon, which celebrates our silver anniversary in 2017. All activities are located within the Capital Region, and there will be three different hike/bike events on the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, including a wheelchair-accessible hike along the paved trail.

“We are thrilled to highlight these preserves for the Summer Hike-a-thon. The nine locations which we have chosen represent a sampling of our 18 public preserves covering 2,500 acres that are located across the Capital Region,” said Mark King, Executive Director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. “Last year, these preserves hosted over 15,000 visitors, with many people returning again and again for a rewarding nature experience. Visitors can enjoy outdoor recreation such as hiking and trail running, and many also enjoy painting, photography, reflection, and birding in our preserves.”

The Summer Hike-a-thon provides unique, guided opportunities to learn more about the preserves: frequent users of these trails will get insider information about their favorite spots from MHLC staff and volunteers, and those visiting the preserves for the first time will discover new hiking spots across the Capital Region.

The event is free (donations are welcome) and open to the public. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 100 hikers. To register, click here.

Most hikers will meet at 9:30 AM in the municipal parking lot at 125 Adams Street in Delmar, which is located directly behind the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s main office. At that time, participants will receive their t-shirts and carpool to their hike locations. Detailed instructions will be provided to participants upon registration.

The Summer Hike-a-thon offerings available this year range from easy to moderate. Design your own day of outdoor adventure from this menu of family-friendly and FREE guided outings:

1. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Botany and History Accessible Hike | Delmar

This flat, easy course is on the railroad bed of the original Delaware and Hudson railroad line which brought travelers into Albany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This will be a wheelchair accessible out-and-back trip. We will explore the botany and history of the trail with Miles Garfinkel, local science teacher and Friends of the Rail Trail volunteer. Easy walk/ride.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: Adams Street and Hudson Avenue, Delmar, heading westbound.

Distance: 0.25 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy, Wheelchair Accessible

2. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Fun Ride (Bikes, Skates, Boards, & more!) | Delmar

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail has become a popular venue for walking, jogging, bicycling, and more. Bring your favorite set of wheels and helmet and join your community for a family fun ride where you set your own distance and pace. The fun ride will start at 11 AM and includes coupons for the whole family for free ice cream cones at Stewart’s Shops (while supplies last).

Starting time: 11 AM

Starting point: Adams Street and Hudson Avenue, Delmar, heading eastbound.

Distance: You decide

Difficulty: Easy, Wheelchair Accessible

3. Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail | Bike-Hike | Albany/Delmar/Slingerlands/Voorheesville

Our guided Bike-Hike will encompass the entire length of the Rail Trail – officially stopping at the end of the pavement, and providing the opportunity for participants (with appropriate bikes and tires) to continue to the Voorheesville Pavilion. The pavement ends at the Slingerlands parking lot (a five-mile ride), and the Pavilion is at nine miles. (In future months, as Albany County continues to pave the Rail Trail, the actual length of the official ride will be somewhere between five and nine miles.) There will be numerous stops to learn about the history and structure of the Rail Trail, and riders are invited to explore the many sights along the trail as they return to South Pearl Street. This Bike-Hike is appropriate for ages 16+.

Starting time: 9:30 AM

Starting point: Downtown Albany trail head (722 S. Pearl Street, Albany, NY)

Distance: 10+ miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

4. Bennett Hill Preserve | History | Clarksville

One of MHLC’s most popular preserves, Bennett Hill offers moderately challenging trails with mostly steep hills. A guide will speak about the history of this trail, which offers views of the Helderbergs from its summit and beautiful wildflowers along the trail. Trekking poles and hiking boots recommended.

Starting time:  10 AM

Starting point: Bennett Hill Road, Clarksville

Distance: 2.77 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

5. Bozen Kill Preserve | Treasure Hunt Hike | Altamont

This self-guided hike is great for kids of all ages! Pick up your Bozen Kill Treasure Map at the kiosk and head off to explore the fields, forests, and streams of this beautiful preserve at your own pace. From 10 AM to 12 PM, hikers are invited to explore the preserve. Along the way, you’ll interact with Preserve Docents who will share preserve “treasures” with you while you complete the activities listed on your treasure map.  Complete the map and return to the kiosk to receive your prize.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: Westfall Road, Altamont

Distance: 1.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

6. Huyck Preserve | Wildlife Hike | Rensselaerville  ***ALMOST FULL***

The Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station is a non-profit partner of MHLC. Located in the scenic hamlet of Rensselaerville, NY, the Huyck Preserve has been connecting people to nature for more than 80 years. Enjoy a guided wildlife hike on a portion of the 12 miles of trails which ramble through 2000 acres of forest, field, and wetlands, and past the Rensselaerville Falls, which cascade over 120 feet. After your hike, stay for the afternoon and enjoy Lake Myosotis, which is open to the public for kayaking and canoeing as well as fishing.

Starting time: 10 AM

Starting point: 5052 Delaware Turnpike, Rensselaerville

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

7. Keleher Preserve | Mountain Biking | Voorheesville

NEW! Join mountain bikers from across the Capital Region to explore the Conservancy’s first preserve to open to mountain biking. The varied terrain, perfect for all riders, offers something for everyone.  From 10 AM until 11 AM, advanced bikers can enjoy the loop at a faster pace. Casual bikers are invited to begin at 11 AM.

Starting time: Advanced bikers at 10 AM; Casual bikers at 11 AM

Starting point: Gulf Hill Road, Voorheesville

Distance: 4 miles of trails

Difficulty: Moderate

8. Normans Kill West Preserve | Family Wilderness Crafts | Delmar  ***FULL***

In a world of digital entertainment, we often forget the abundance which nature provides, not only to support us but also to engage our creativity and our mind. Join Dave Muska of Ondatra Adventures for a family-friendly workshop in Wilderness Crafts at the Normanskill West Preserve in Delmar, NY. In this class, you will make a small melon basket from local and wild-harvested vines, learn the art of making cordage from natural fibers, and how to make stone necklaces. Be prepared to hear stories, learn natural history, and have fun with your family outdoors!

Starting time: 10 AM to 1 PM

Starting point: Normanskill Boulevard, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

9. Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve | Yoga | Amsterdam

Yoga lovers can find inner peace in the great outdoors with this free yoga class at our new Strawberry Fields Nature Preserve. Breathe deeply and listen to bird song in a beautiful natural space with this class led by Schenectady’s Studio 4 Hot Yoga & Pilates. After your class, enjoy a guided walk through the trails and explore the sinkhole and its disappearing brook, the sugar bush, and the north side of the preserve while learning about geology, storm water, erosion, and maple syrup production. Pack a mat, grab the sunscreen, and we’ll see you on the grass!

Starting time: 10 AM yoga class, 11 AM guided walk

Starting point: 240 Cranes Hollow Rd., Amsterdam, NY

Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Easy

10. Swift Preserve | Amphibians Hike | Delmar

This hike is great for children. We’ll be exploring a wetland, so waterproof footwear is suggested. Our guide will talk about the indigenous animals who make this site their home, and how their bodies have adapted to thrive in a wet, wild environment!

Starting time: 10:30 AM

Starting point: The end of Evelyn Drive, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

11. Van Dyke Preserve | Plein Air Painting Workshop | Delmar  ***FULL***

This Watercolor Plein Air Painting Workshop with art educator Kevin Kuhne takes place along the Phillipin Kill stream. This session will include a short hike, demonstration, and individual sketching and watercolor with individual instruction and critique. Any level of experience is welcome, but some basic, previous use of watercolor is needed. The workshop will focus on design and composition in a woodland interior, making a value plan in your sketchbook, basic watercolor techniques, and executing one or two small watercolor sketches. This four-hour workshop will include a 30 minute break for lunch.  Participants will be required to supply and carry their own folding chair or stool, backpack, portable easel, painting supplies, and a bag lunch. A more formal supply list will be emailed upon registration. Limited to 10 participants – register today at!

Starting time: 10 AM– 2 PM

Starting point:  Van Dyke Road, Delmar

Distance: 1 mile round trip

Difficulty: Easy

Click here to register today for the 2017 Summer Hike-a-thon. This will be a wonderful opportunity to check off some adventures on your Capital Region Nature Passport!

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