Lock 7 Park

Lock 7 Composite

By Liz Clancy Lerner

There's a lot you can do at the Erie Canal's Lock 7 Park in Niskayuna: watch the water rush over the dam, picnic, walk the bike-hike trail, spot birds, fish. And, of course, come May 1 -- watch the boats go through the locks.

Lock Lock 7 Door

The lock doesn't start raising boats for the season until May 1, but the area is still a sight to take in. Massive "doors" hold in and keep out water, and grates and railings allow you to explore the perimeter of the lock.

Lock Lock 7

If you're interested in how locks work, here's a good explanation. And here's a short photo journal of a tug going through Lock 7.

Lock Falls Afar

Along Lock 7 there are views of the dams that stretch across the Mohawk at Goat Island. The dams are rushing with water this time of year.

There are picnic benches, a dock to walk out on and a boat launch, too (on the west side of the lock).

Lock Hawk CU

During my most recent trip there a hawk seemed to be interested in my dog and followed us around the park.

Lock Heron CU

Then, what I think was a Great Blue Heron (though, birders, does it look more like an egret?) was less interested and more afraid of us. He flew away pretty quickly.

Lock Heron Fly

The east side of the lock always seems to have people fishing there, and from what I understand, it's a good spot for bass.

Lock Fish Wide

Another great asset for Lock 7 is that it's along the mostly paved, thirty-five mile long Mohawk-Hudson bike-hike trail. You can park there and bike, hike or run as far as Albany.

Lock 7

And, this isn't the only lock, of course. There are a whole bunch more to explore.

Earlier on AOA: Tugboats in Waterford

Find It

Lock 7 Park
Lock 7 Rd
Niskayuna, NY 12309


That boat is not a tug, its just called "tug 44". A tug looks like this: http://www.vu.union.edu/~baldwinn/eriecanal/bargesandtugs/1096.1.1569.JPG

Yes, that's a Great Blue Heron, all right.

Recently, some birders found a Red-Throated Loon in the river near Lock 7. While not rare, this bird is not commonly found in our area; it winters in northern coastal waters and was probably on its way to its breeding grounds in the Arctic.

Lock 7 also has some good hiking trails (on the other side of the bike path) that also make for some decent, albeit no so well maintained, mountain biking trails.

And as for how locks work, I direct you to The Animaniacs:

Yes that is a blue heron. You do also see egrets (white herons). And cormorants diving to catch fish is a great sight.

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