New Report Shows Capital District Trails more Popular than Ever

Survey and count conducted by CDTC and PTNY reveals strong community support and 1.6 million annual visits to the Capital District’s trails. Read more.

Last fall, the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) hired PTNY to conduct trail user counts for nine multi-use trails in the Capital District, which includes Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. The results of these counts are included in CDTC’s 2016 Regional Trail Perspectives: A Survey of Capital District Trail Facilities.

The results from the 2016 Capital District Trail User Counts demonstrate significant variability in usage levels, mode and gender split, and peak usage periods across all 22 locations counted. Lions Park in Niskayuna, near the center of a 35-mile stretch of the Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike/ Erie Canalway Trail, experiences the highest estimated annual usage, with approximately 263,757 visits to the trail occurring annually. “The study highlights the importance that regional trails have within each of their respective communities,” said Niskayuna Supervisor Joe Landry.

In addition to Lions Park, six other locations saw annual usage estimates exceed 100,000. For a full list of annual estimates at all 22 locations, take a look at the table below or check out our Interactive Usage Estimates Map, which not only displays each the annual estimate, but also includes gender and mode split.


Annual Usage Estimate


Lions Park, Niskayuna


Mohawk Hudson Bike-Hike/Erie Canalway Trail (MHBHT)

Barge Restaurant, Albany



Boat Launch, Albany



Hudson Ave., Bethlehem


Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail (ACHHRT)

Shaker Ridge Country Club, Colonie


Albany Shaker Trail

4th St Trailhead, Watervliet



Saratoga YMCA, Saratoga Springs


Railroad Run

Schenectady County Community College, Rotterdam



USS Slater, Albany



Colonie Town Park, Colonie



Kiwanis Park, Rotterdam



Goldfoot Rd, Round Lake


Zim Smith Trail

South Pearl St, Albany



East Ave, Saratoga Springs


Spring Run

Excelsior Spring Ave, Saratoga Springs


Spring Run

Main St, Ballston


Ballston Veterans Trail

Shenantaha Creek Park


Zim Smith Trail

Admiral’s Walk, Cohoes


Delaware Ave/Black Bridge Trail

Nott St, Schenectady



Outlet Rd, Ballston


Ballston Veterans Trail

Garden Court, Troy


Uncle Sam Trail

114th St, Troy


Uncle Sam Trail

Male trail users represented 56% of overall usage while females represented 44% of users. This is similar to PTNY’s estimates of NYS Canalway Trail users from last year’s counts conducted at several locations across the 524-mile NYS Canalway Trail system where 54% of users were males and 46% were females. 51% of Capital District trail users were pedestrians, while 48% were bicyclists, and 1% were some other type of user, oftentimes a skateboarder or rollerblader. Pedestrians were also the predominant user type observed along the NYS Canalway Trail, where more than 64% were either walkers or joggers in 2016.

The most popular day of the week for trail usage in the Capital District was Monday followed by Thursday. Saturday was the busiest weekend day at more than half of the locations counted. The most popular time people use their local trail was between 12 and 6 PM on weekdays and between 9 AM and 3 PM on weekends.

The full report prepared by CDTC includes results of surveys of more than 500 trail users and over 100 adjacent residential property owners. The surveys demonstrated support for continued trail development.

PTNY also prepared a detailed trail count profile for each location. These profiles display the large amount of data collected during the count in an easy to read format that is consistent across all 22 locations.

According to Michael Franchini, the Executive Director of CDTC, “this project produced really valuable and informative data which we will use to develop our next regional greenway plan. Parks & Trails New York did a great job, using the latest bicycle/pedestrian counting technology; local governments and communities were very cooperative; and trail users and property owners were very responsive.”

Click here to learn more about the Regional Trail Perspectives report, and for more information about PTNY’s trail user count program visit our page.