7 Incredible Running Trails That You Don’t Want To Miss

Have you been asking yourself where to find running trails near me? We’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to everything you need to know to hit the ground running in Albany NY (and nearby.)

Discover the magic of the outdoors while staying active with our list of the best running trails in and around Albany, New York. These trails offer breathtaking views, challenging terrains, and a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a beginner looking to boost your fitness, these trails cater to every level of runner.

The Best Running Trails Near Me In Albany NY

1. Corning Preserve

The Corning Preserve, located in the heart of Albany, provides a picturesque urban setting for your daily jog. The 5-mile trail runs along the Hudson River, offering panoramic views of the Albany skyline. The trail is primarily paved, making it suitable for runners of all levels. In addition, the park hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, giving trail runners the option to pair their sport with more fun things to do.

2. Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Just on the outskirts of Albany, you will find the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. As one of the largest of the world’s 20 remaining inland pine barrens, this unique ecosystem offers over 18 miles of multi-use trails. You’ll traverse sandy trails, pine barrens, and marshy wetlands, making it an excellent choice for runners seeking varied terrain and a chance to see local flora and fauna.

Note that there are multiple access points and areas to explore; check the Albany Pine Bush Preserve website for trail guides and maps.

3. Albany County Rail Trail

The Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail is a 9-mile stretch converted from the old Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Railroad between Albany and Voorheesville. The trail’s flat, well-maintained surface makes it suitable for runners of all levels. The trail is partially shaded by trees, providing a pleasant, cool run during the summer months.

4. Peebles Island State Park

Just north of Albany, Peebles Island State Park offers a unique blend of both cityscape and nature views. The 2-mile perimeter trail circles the island, giving runners a scenic view of where the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. It’s an easy, relatively flat loop, perfect for those seeking a quick, refreshing run.

Tip – Before you go, download a trail map from the Peebles Island State Park website.

5. Thacher State Park

For those willing to venture a bit further out, Thacher State Park is a must-visit. Approximately 15 miles southwest of Albany, the park offers over 25 miles of trails with stunning views of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, the Adirondacks, and the Green Mountains. Be prepared for a more challenging run here as the trails can be steep and rocky in parts. Don’t forget to check out the Indian Ladder Trail, a popular choice known for its natural beauty.

Canal Trail

6. Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail

Part of the statewide Canalway Trail that follows the Erie Canal, the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail is a scenic delight for runners. Starting in Downtown Albany, it runs to Rotterdam Junction in Schenectady County, covering roughly 40 miles. It’s an ideal trail for long-distance runners or those training for a marathon. You’ll enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Mohawk River, local wildlife, and the charm of several small towns along the way.

7. Empire State Trail

In the Albany area, the Empire State Trail overlaps with several existing paths, providing a variety of landscapes for runners. Starting at the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail, you can enjoy a 36-mile stretch that ends in Hudson, passing through rural areas, charming towns, and historic sites.

The Empire State Trail also encompasses the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, offering stunning views of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. Lastly, north of Albany, you’ll find sections of the Champlain Canalway Trail, showcasing old canal towns, scenic views of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, and a glimpse of New York’s rich canal

Trail Running Safety

Trail running can be an invigorating way to stay fit and explore the outdoors, but safety should always be paramount. Be sure to let someone know your running route and expected return time, particularly when running alone. Check weather conditions before heading out and be mindful of trail conditions, as they can change quickly, particularly in more remote or challenging areas.

Proper gear is essential, including wearing appropriate footwear for traction and carrying enough water to stay hydrated. It’s also advisable to carry a compact first-aid kit for unexpected injuries. Remember, trail running is not just about speed or distance covered; it’s about safely enjoying the beauty of nature while staying active.

How To Get Started With Trail Running

Getting started with trail running is an exciting endeavor that requires a bit of preparation and a sense of adventure. Begin by choosing the right gear, with trail running shoes being a top priority as they provide the necessary traction and support for uneven terrain. Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing weather and always carry hydration.

Start by choosing easier, well-marked trails, gradually increasing difficulty as your confidence and skills improve. Consider getting to know the trail by walking or hiking before picking up the pace. Incorporate strength training and flexibility exercises into your routine to build the muscle strength required for hilly terrains.

As you progress, remember to adjust your pace, as trail running is typically slower than road running due to the varying terrain. Most importantly, be mindful of your surroundings to ensure safety. Enjoy the journey, take in the scenery, and appreciate the unique challenges and rewards that come with trail running.

Where to buy trail running shoes near me in and around Albany NY?

  1. Fleet Feet Albany: Located on Wolf Road in Albany, Fleet Feet is a specialized running store that offers a wide selection of trail running shoes from leading brands. They also provide expert advice to ensure you find the perfect fit.
  2. Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS): EMS, located in the Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, is a well-known outdoor gear retailer. They offer a variety of trail running shoes and have a knowledgeable staff who can assist with proper fitting and selection based on your needs.
  3. Dick’s Sporting Goods: With a few locations around the Albany area, Dick’s Sporting Goods is a large retailer that sells trail running shoes from numerous popular brands. They also offer online shopping if you prefer to browse from home.
  4. REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.): REI is known for its wide variety of outdoor gear, including trail running shoes. Their staff is trained to help you find the right shoes based on your running style and the type of trails you plan to tackle. Unfortunately, there are no locations in Albany NY; the nearest location is in Hartford CT. But you can order online or check out the retail shops when traveling to New York City, Boston, and elsewhere.
  5. Running Warehouse: While not a physical store in Albany, Running Warehouse is an online retailer that offers a vast selection of trail running shoes. They provide detailed information about each shoe, and have an easy return policy if the shoe doesn’t fit as expected.

As always, be sure to try on several pairs of shoes to find the right fit for your foot shape and running style, and consult with the sales associates about the shoe’s traction, stability, and cushioning, which are important for trail running.

Running Clubs In The Capital Region

  • Albany Running Exchange – With members ranging in age from 7 to 73, this group schedules group runs and training camps as well as fun activities such as weekly Ice Cream Social Runs. Also, the site maintains an excellent list of local and regional races from easy 5Ks to the Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon to the even tougher 30K Escarpment Trail Run.
  • Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club – The area’s largest running organization, HMRRC has been around since the early 70’s.  Dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running through education and training to promote running as a part of a healthy lifestyle, the club organizes nearly 30 running events each year.

Running in Albany, NY, and its neighboring regions is not just about fitness; it’s about immersing oneself in the natural beauty that Upstate New York has to offer. So lace up those running shoes and let the trail running adventures begin.