In 2017, during the State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the plan for New York’s Empire State Trail, a series of trail building and improvement initiatives that would ultimately showcase New York’s places, history, and landscapes over a continuous multi-use trail system spanning the state in two directions. On December 31st, 2020, Cuomo announced completion of the Trail, which is now fully open and ready to ride.
The Empire State Trail spans some 750 miles over two corridors, 75 percent of which is off-road—for cyclists, hikers, runners, cross-country skiers and snow-shoers. The two corridors run from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal.
From the press release on December 30th: “Nearly four years ago, we announced plans to build the Empire State Trail and I am excited to announce it’s been completed on time and will open on New Year’s Eve,” Governor Cuomo said. “There’s no trail like it in the nation – 750 miles of multi-use trail literally from Manhattan to the Canadian Border, from Buffalo to Albany. Not only does it provide an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and history of New York, but it also gives New Yorkers from every corner of the state a safe outlet for recreation as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach the holiday weekend, there is no better time than now to put on your mask and experience it for yourself.”
The Empire State Trail will be open year-round. It connects 20 regional trails to create a continuous statewide signed route. As part of the 58 projects completed to finish the Trail, more than 180 miles of new off-road trail was created and 400 miles of previously disconnected, off-road trails were linked to eliminate gaps and ease engineering challenges such as railroad and water crossings in high traffic areas. The New York State Department of Transportation improved 170 miles of on-road bicycle route sections to enhance safety and travel on low-speed rural roadways and city streets when possible. New York State also installed 45 gateways and trailheads along the route to welcome visitors and branded the trail with signage, interpretive panels, bike racks, and benches.
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