Hudson River Valley Greenway About the Water Trail

About the Water Trail

The Empire State Water Trail is a 1,700-mile paddler’s dream, extending from the
Canadian border, through New York City to Long Island and from Albany to Buffalo

Empire State Water Trail System

In 2019 New York State announced the creation of an Empire State Water Trail, linking together over 1,700 miles of interconnected, operating water trails in New York State. Water Trails are both a very old and

a very new concept in long distance recreational trails. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been managing New York’s first water trail, the Adirondack Canoe Routes (600+ miles), since the late 1800’s. Modern water trails are a more recently recognized trail type, first gaining national prominence in the early 1990’s. 

Over the past twenty-five years, numerous water trails have been developed in New York State. The Empire State Water Trail system includes the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail, which is a National Water Trail; the NYS Canalway Water Trail; the New York City Water Trail; and the South Shore Blueway Water Trail.  The Empire State Water Trail showcases these trails and invites both residents and visitors to experience the wonders of New York State through its waterways.

Users of the Empire State Water Trail

The Empire State Water Trail is designed for two very different types of boaters. The first is the person looking to spend a day or part of a day on the water–a day user. The second is the long distance traveler– one who wants to spend multiple days on their journey. The Empire State Water Trail is designed for both, with launches located in close proximity in many areas, and with campsites allowing multi-day travels. 

Empire State Water Trail Economic Benefits

Water trails provide economic benefits and support local business development including outfitters and restaurants. For example, when the Hudson River Greenway Water Trail was conceived, there was one outfitter on the Hudson South of the Troy Dam, currently there are at least fifteen. The demand to use the waterway was there, and by providing the access New York State helped incubate these local businesses.