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The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway runs from Waterford, in East-Central New York, to the historic Stockade District of Schenectady, New York along the historic route of the Erie Canal. In just 25-miles, the road tells the story of the Erie Canal and the role local communities played in the westward expansion of the country during the Industrial Revolution. The name Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway was chosen to commemorate the river and the towpath trod by the mules along the Erie Canal.

Exploring this beautiful, quiet, rural corridor intertwined with natural areas and scenic beauty, the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway parallels the Mohawk River, the Erie Canal, and the New York Barge Canal. Along the byway, much of the landscape still looks like it did in 1825. Historic districts with buildings from canal days stand proudly in towns along the way. Diverse wildlife habitats, classic architecture and beautiful vistas are sprinkled throughout the byway. Cycling, hiking, and boating are just a few of the outdoor activities that center around the Mohawk River.

The land on which the Town of Halfmoon sits was purchased directly from the Mohawk Tribe in 1667. Strolling the streets of the Stockade District in Schenectady, you’ll pass buildings dating from 1670 and in Waterford, some constructed as early as 1770. The beautiful homes that overlook the Mohawk River in the Crescent-Church Hill Historic District have adorned the riverbanks for over 200 years.

Must-see stops along the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway include the Flight of Locks located just outside of Waterford. A beautiful park surrounds the Waterford Flight of Locks E-2 through E-6, which lift vessels 169-feet from the Hudson River to the Mohawk River to bypass Cohoes Falls. These five large locks replaced the original 16 locks it took to get through Cohoes on the original canal system. The panoramic views from the park are impressive.


Another impressive sight can be found at Falls View Park – Cohoes Falls. In a spectacular display of rushing water, the Mohawk River drops 90-feet over Cohoes Falls (Native American for falling canoe), making it an impediment to a water route through the Appalachians. These falls were the reason for creating the “terrible 16s,” the span of 16 locks needed to portage around the entire drop in the river. Enjoy spectacular views during high water which is the most exciting time to experience the thundering water!

The Stockade Historic District is a unique neighborhood spread across 82-acres along the Mohawk River in Schenectady. The district is home to more than 40 pre-Revolutionary houses in architectural styles spanning from Dutch Colonial and Georgian to Federal. Recognized 300-years after it was founded, the Stockade was

New York’s first local historic district. The National Park Service describes it as having “the highest concentration of historic period homes in the country.” The Schenectady Historical Society offers a walking tour of the district.

Curated multi-day itineraries designed for visitors to “journey to another place in time” lead visitors through historic sites and allow for a fantastic immersion into the scenic byway. Views of the river ebb and flow, surrounded with lush greenery, allowing visitors to appreciate the meandering route through the trees. The Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway is a peaceful escape from the bustle of city life.

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