Snowshoeing in the Capital Region

katie's daughter snow shoeing in the woods

Get outside and take it all in.

By Katie Beltramo

Let's face it: we live in Upstate New York, and we're likely to see plenty of snow in the next two or three months. This time of year it takes considerable willpower for me to resist snuggling under the covers with a book and hibernating until spring.

But that's no way to live! Okay, honestly, it's pretty good for a morning once in a while.

However, since I don't want to creep out of bed on March 20 looking pasty and pudgy and blinking at the unfamiliar sunshine, I try to do winter-only activities for a little outdoor fun. And snowshoeing is great way to start.

Get out there

If you usually avoid winter, it's likely that there will be a learning curve with some of these activities. I'd argue that it's worth it to spend a few hours clinging to the railing at an ice rink or sliding down the bunny slope with your knees aching in a deep snow plow, because eventually, you'll improve and enjoy yourself.

Why snowshoeing?

The easiest activity for a first-timer, by far, is snowshoeing. Wait, did you expect sledding? You only think sledding's the easiest because you did it as a kid. There's the fine art of steering and all of that hiking back up the steep hill, not to mention the possibly-injury-inducing high velocities. Sure, crashing into a drift and getting a face full of snow is part of the adventure. But snowshoeing is easier--and less hazardous.

Snowshoeing is basically just an exaggerated, slightly gliding walk. Strap the shoe on and lift your feet up a bit more than usual. Now, if you hate walking and hiking, it's probably not your cup of tea. But snowshoeing can feel like an entirely different experience. There's that hush that comes over the world after a snow. Sure, you're communing with nature on a spring hike, but with all of that new growth and life surrounding you, it can feel hectic even out in the woods. Go the same route in snowshoes and there's much more stillness. Just moving feels like a meditation, with only the satisfying crunch-crunch of your steps to break the silence. Even better: take a snowshoe walk at night under a full moon. Stepping out into a clearing full of snow bathed in moonlight is a positively transcendent experience.

Where to find snowshoes, and where to use them

But wait! Where are you going to find some snowshoes? There are plenty available for you to try them out. Many places offer guided outings or rent or sell snowshoes. If you'd like to rent snowshoes, you should always call ahead to check availability.

Eastern Mountain Sports sells and rents snowshoes for kids and adults. The Stuyvesant Plaza location rents for $20/first day and $15/each subsequent day, and the Niskayuna location rents for $15/day or $30/3 days. For purchase, prices range from $140-$270 and they're currently 20% off. The sale should last another week and a half. EMS is running a Demo Day at Grafton Lakes State Park on January 22 from 10 am to 2 pm. The various locations are likely to schedule additional outings if the snow lingers.

Goldstock's Sporting Goods in Scotia rents snowshoes for $15, and they must be returned by the end of the second day after you've rented. They also sell snowshoes for $120-$300.

The LL Bean at Colonie Center has Snowshoeing Walk-on Adventures frequently. For $15, they'll provide you with equipment and take you on a guided trek. This is designed for ages 8 and up. Check the link for dates and times. They also sell children and adult snowshoes. They cost $59 to $200.

Moreau Lake State Park in Saratoga County rents snowshoes at $5/half day or $10/full day. They have many snowshoe Treks planned, frequently during the week. They also have a Moonlight snowshoe on Friday, January 19 at 6 pm.

Plaine and Son in Schenectady sells snowshoes for between $70-$100. They don't rent, but they do have a Demo Day planned at Maple Ski Ridge for January 15 & 16. They also have a Snowshoe Outing planned for January 23 at 9 am at Plotterkill Preserve. You'll need to bring your own snowshoes, but they'll help you out on tips and techniques.

Thacher Nature Center rents snowshoes at $5 for four hours. They also have Snowshoe Walks on January 16 (Saturday), January 23 (Sunday), & February 12 (Saturday), all at 10 am, as well as a Friday night Moonlight Snowshoe Walk on February 18. Call ahead to reserve a spot.

The Albany Pine Bush does not rent snowshoes, but they'll occasionally plan a Snowshoe Adventure walk. When they do, you need to call ahead to register, and the cost is $3/person or $5/family. They're having one tomorrow, January 8, from 10:30 am to noon.

Dyken Pond in Rensselaer County has a Snowshoe Trek tomorrow, January 8, from 1-3 pm. On January 19 & February 18 at 7 pm they have Full Moon Snow Treks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Their website states that they have rentals, but I was not able to reach them for details.

Up Yonda Farm offers snowshoe rentals $6. They also have a Snowshoe Hike or hike planned for Saturdays at 1 pm on Saturday on January 8, January 22, and February 5. These are $7 for the snowshoe rental and hike.

Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park rents snowshoes at $5 for a half day or $10 for a full day on most weekends (check their schedule for availability). They also hold an Annual Moonlight Ski and Snowshoe on January 15 at 7 pm.

Landis Arboretum in Schoharie County offers Second Sunday Snowshoes (January 9, February 13, & March 13) from noon to 2 pm. They'll loan out a limited supply of snowshoes. $5/person or $15/family.


For more basic information about snowshoeing, check out Snowshoe Magazine's page for first-timers.

If you already snowshoe, are there great snowshoe sources or locations that I've missed? Or do you have a favorite trail that you're willing to divulge?

Katie is the editor of Capital District Fun, a place to find things to do for kids and families in Schenectady, Albany, and Troy

Comments

Snow shoeing is great and easy to do. The Five Rivers Environmental Education Center offers rentals for both members and non-members, there is also a program for those interested about snow shoeing on January 29th at 2pm more here

http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/1980.html

And bring a backpack, cause you'll be hot and need somewhere to put all those layers.

Yay, snowshoeing! Bring a thermos with some hot tea/chocolate.

Thanks Katie! I was looking at snowshoeing around here yesterday, perfect timing AOA!

I highly recommend the Five Rivers workshop! Inspired me a few years back to get my own pair!

Dyken Pond does rent snowshoes. It's $5/half day or $10/day, but you need to call ahead, preferably 24 hours in advance, to ensure that they've got someone available to help you.

Thank you SO MUCH for this information. This is exactly what I was looking for - something to do with my kids during this endless winter!

Great info!! Any chance of doing an updated Capital District snowshoeing post for 2013?

Moe, I second your request. Now that we have some snow, I'm hoping to get out there and do some snowshoeing!

I third that request! Thanks :)

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of winter

A bit breezy.... (more)

"[T]he reality of industrialized, population-wide drunkenness..."

Over at Drink Drank, Craig Gravina -- of the Albany Ale history project -- touches on some of the unfortunate side effects of Albany's long... (more)

Write there and then

A couple of upcoming writing classes at the Arts Center of the Capital Region caught our eye: Graphic novels April 14-May 19, 6:30-8:30 pm -... (more)

It worked that one time

Noted: The only successful attempt at secession from the State of New York was the split by Vermont in 1777. The Green Mountain state's exit... (more)

Cheryl Strayed at HVCC

Author Cheryl Strayed will be at HVCC March 12 for a talk. It's free and open to the public. Strayed will be talking about Wild,... (more)

Recent Comments

When I used to bus-commute in another city, there was a similar smart card system and it was AWESOME. On/Off time was significantly decreased, so buses were even a little more timely. I hope this pilot goes smoothly because the faster this gets implemented, the better for bus riders. This is good news!

It worked that one time

...has 2 comments, most recently from Sue

CDTA Navigator

...has 4 comments, most recently from Justin

Park South redevelopment plan gets final OK

...has 29 comments, most recently from BS

The week ahead

...has 2 comments, most recently from Joe

Garnet Douglass Baltimore, who was "as much of Troy as the monument"

...has 2 comments, most recently from Big 'Vic' Proton