The Canals Today

Champlain Canal weir

Path along the Champlain Canal in Halfmoon

Perhaps you won’t see packet boats gliding by, or hear the call of “Low bridge!” but you can still enjoy the canals in Clifton Park and Halfmoon today. There are several parks and paths along both canals, and some of the stonework can still be seen. Parking is generally easy, and the paths are level and well-maintained. Starting in the east, check out the remains of the Champlain Canal in Halfmoon at the Old Champlain Canal Trail on Brookwood Road. Heading west, off Route 9, near the Crescent Bridge to Cohoes, you’ll find Crescent Park, with a walking trail and informative signs about the industry that used to exist in that area. 

Further west is Clute’s Dry Dock, along Riverview Road in Clifton Park. You may use the floating dock to put in a canoe and explore the canal up close. 

Whipple Bridge at Vischer Ferry

Whipple Bridge at AC Stevens Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve on Riverview Road in Clifton Park

Continuing down Riverview, you’ll find the A. C. Stevens Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve, with its iconic Whipple Bridge (relocated here in 1998) and trails south to Fort’s Ferry and west to the original Lock 19 on the Erie Canal. 

Lock 19 Canal

Lock 19 in Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve

From Lock 19, you may keep walking up to the dam just beyond Vischer Ferry, or if you don't want to walk all that way, drive further up Riverview Road, park at the end of Ferry Drive, and follow the path to the right.

Vischer Ferry preserve entrance

Entrance to the Vischer Ferry Nature and Historic Preserve, to the left of the Whipple Bridge

As you visit these sites, imagine what they would have been like during the canals’ peak, with a hundred or more boats passing each day, the clip-clop of hooves, the shouts of the canallers, the smell of the horses and donkeys, the whoosh of water as the locks opened and closed, the blare of the canal boat horn, and in the evenings, all of this as well as the swinging lights of the lanterns.

The Canals Today