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Recreation along the Canal

Boys sailing on the canal – Stillwater Town Historian

Bicycling was all the rage during the late nineteenth century, and bicycle clubs organized rides along the canal towpath. Some folks “put in” along the canal for a leisurely boat ride: up the canal, into the lake or out on the river. During the winter months when the canal was closed to navigation and frozen over, ice skaters swarmed across its surface. The Schuylerville turning basin became an ice rink for children of the local mill workers.

Today, the Champlain Canal portion of the New York State Barge Canal primarily serves recreational boaters: small power cruisers, kayakers and canoers. In winter, snowmobilers and ice skaters take advantage of the frozen canal. Portions of the old Champlain Canal towpath and nearby roadways are being improved to create the Canalway bicycle and pedestrian trail; the Glens Falls Feeder Canal trail is open to hikers and bikers. The broader canal corridor provides opportunities for bicycling along scenic byways and designated bike trails and hiking in backcountry or regional and local trail systems.