The Canal Trail is a part of the Black River Environmental Improvement Association network of multi-use recreation trails in the southern Black River Valley. They are groomed frequently, free to use, and open for use as hiking and biking trails in the summer and fall. It features a level grade paralleling the historic Black River Canalway, including the ruins of several locks. It stretches 7.6 miles along the Lansing Kill River and connects with the Skyfields Trail System. Segments of this trail can be done easily as there-and-back trips, but one-way travel with a shuttle is also common.
From the north end, the first couple of miles of the Canal Trail are located in the town of Boonville, and unfortunately this section feels very fragmented. Frequent road crossings make a start further down the trail (or from the other end) preferable.
As skiers and snowshoers leave town, the trail bends away from the road, running along the base of forested hills. The trail is mostly level, getting steeper toward the southern end as the Lansing Kill River creates the Boonville Gorge. Historic Locks from the Black River Canalway become more frequent, as do bridges over side streams and gullys. Pixley Falls State Park can be found 1.6 miles from the southern terminus of the trail. The views of the falls require a short spur to the east and a steep descent, but they are well worth the effort.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.