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Uncle Sam Bikeway

The Uncle Sam Bikeway is a three mile paved path with wildflowers, waterfalls and shale cliffs providing scenery alongside the route. The bikeway provides excellent walking for handicapped persons and for pushing wheelchairs and strollers. The bikeway is built on an old railroad roadbed and is entirely level with gentle curves as it follows the contours of the adjacent hill. The roadbed was constructed in 1850-52 by the Troy and Boston Railroad, which was leased to the Fitchburg Railroad in 1887, and then to the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1900. The tracks were dismantled in 1972-73 and the bikeway was opened in 1981.

Trail Facts

Trail End Points: Troy to Lansingburgh
Counties: Rensselaer
Trail Length: 3.5 miles
Trail Surfaces: Asphalt
Trail Activities: Walk, Bicycle, Inline Skates
Trail Closing: The bikeway is closed from dusk to dawn

 

Oakwood Cemetery is above the path on the hilltop to the east, and the houses of Lansingburgh are just below to the west. There are a large variety of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers along the trail. Trees include oaks, aspen, cottonwood, sugar maple, black cherry, mulberry, elm, tree-of-heaven, butternut and locust. There are black walnuts at the Cemetery Road crossing and a hackberry near Gurley Avenue. Shrubs to be seen are smooth and staghorn sumac, honeysuckle, pussy willow and chokecherry. Wildflowers such as coltsfoot, celandine, garlic mustard, Jack-in-the-pulpit and columbine can be found in the spring. Summer wildflowers can also be found, including Joe pyeweed, Queen Anne's lace, chicory, touch-me-not, phlox, giant ragweed, hoary alyssum, false foxglove and rose. Fall coloring is brilliant due to a large number of different tree species.

At the culvert about one-quarter mile north of the monument at Knickerbacker Park an unmarked trail branches off to the east. This trail leads up through a ravine known as "Devil's Kitchen," past two waterfalls, into Oakwood Cemetery. This cool, moist ravine has many interesting ferns and wildflowers, but parts of this trail network are steep and sometimes slippery. There are great views across the Hudson Valley from the bluff at the top.

From 101st Street south, the Bikeway is no longer in the woods but passes houses and businesses on both sides.

Caution

Children should be watched where streams cross
the bikeway as the culverts are high. The bikeway
is in an urban area, and it is recommend that
you bring a friend along.

Parking and Trail Information

The Uncle Sam Bikeway is located in Lansingburgh and north Troy. There is access from State Route 142 (Northern Drive), from the east end of 124th Street, from Cemetery Road at 119th Street, from Gurley Avenue at 114th Street, from Knickerbacker Park (by walking across the fields to the monument) and from Ingalls Avenue and Middleburgh Street. Handicapped access is best from Route 142, Gurley Avenue and Cemetery Road.

Rails-to-Trails History

In the early 1900's there were more than 300,000 miles of railroads carrying passengers and goods to all corners of the United States. With the consolidation of railroad companies and the rise of the automobile and the interstate system this network has now dwindled. The corridors left behind by the railroads have been converted into places for people to walk and bicycle. The reasons why are easy to see. Rail corridors are straight, have gentle grades, and connect communities and the countryside. They provide a traffic-free environment where users can enjoy scenic views, get close to nature, rediscover the past, and gain access to downtown shopping, industrial areas, and new developments alike. Most importantly for transportation planners, the corridor is already in place and does not have to be pieced together as it would if the path were created from scratch.

The information on this page including the photos have been provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservatory.