Hudson Crossing Park

Hudson Crossing Park river

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local parks to bring the scoop on each one to you. Today I'm headed north to Hudson Crossing Park. I've also already visited Cherry Plain, Moreau Lake, Grafton Lakes, and Peebles Island.

Hudson Crossing Park is a little bit different from the other destinations I've visited this summer. First off, it's not a State Park and subsequently has no admission fee. Also, it's specifically focused around environmental responsibility, and you can see evidence of that all around the park.

It may not have as many amenities as other locations, but the beautiful setting and unique eco touches make it worth a stop.

Location

Google Map of 43.115618,-73.577693

Hudson Crossing Park is an island on the Hudson River and Champlain Canal, just north of downtown Schuylerville, off Route 32. It's about a 20-minute drive from Saratoga Springs and 50 minutes from downtown Albany. It's an easy destination to get to, and the park is a well-labeled spot within a quarter mile of the main road.

History

Hudson Crossing is a relatively new destination, with initial trails created in the early 2000s. The push to create a park in this location grew out of the Scenic Byway designation on Route 4, promotion of the canal system, and increased public interest.

In the last 14 years, the park has been built almost entirely by volunteers, with funding from grants and local support. It is an official New York educational corporation and a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Play Garden

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One of the coolest features of Hudson Crossing Park is the Play Garden. It's what I would call an "alternative playground area" with balance beams, a sand table, and tunnels. Everything is designed to fit into the natural landscape, with two large slides that follow the slope of the hill and a giant wooden boat structure to play in.

hudson_crossing_wooden_boat_play_structure.jpg

It's an extremely peaceful area, with lush flower gardens and a stone labyrinth. Nearby is a small swing set for those searching for more traditional play equipment. The setting is a perfect spot for kids to be active and use their imagination at the same time, while pleasant enough for grown-ups to enjoy.

Trails

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Hudson Crossing has a few different easy walking trails that follow the parameter of the island. All of the paths have lots of signage and information about the native plants and animals, along with environmental facts. But my favorite is the Riverwalk Sensory Trail. This path has little boxes that you hand crank to power audio stories about the local area and Hudson River. It's a fun way to pick up some history while on your walk.

While the trails are not handicap accessible, they would easily accommodate strollers, especially the Riverwalk trail.

Waterways

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Because of Hudson Crossing's location along Lock 5, it's a good spot to watch boats move through a working lock. While visiting on a Sunday afternoon, I saw both a small personal motorboat and a giant barge move through the lock. The people working the lock were very friendly, and shared the fact that this spot displaces 3.5 million gallons of water in 8 minutes when lowering the boats.

The park also offers places to launch kayaks and canoes, along with a few spots for catch and release fishing.

Picnics

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The best place for a relaxing lunch in the shade is under the large pavilion. It holds around 50 people, and can be reserved for private parties. There are also a few other picnic tables along trails and by the lock, for if the pavilion is occupied. I should note that the only bathroom facilities are by the pavilion. If there's a private event or the bathrooms are locked, you'll have to resort to using the port-a-potty. I didn't notice any grilling facilities.

Other notables

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+ The newly restored Dix Bridge at the park links Saratoga and Washington counties across the Hudson River. It's apparently very popular in the winter as a crossing for snowmobilers, although it's also used by pedestrians, cyclists, and skiers.

+ I really love the special events that are hosted at Hudson Crossing. I was a day too late to witness the 10th Annual Cardboard Boat Race this year. In the past, I've cheered on at their very popular triathlon at the park, where chocolate milk was awarded as a prize.

+ Make sure that you bring all the water and food that you'll need for your visit. Currently there are not water fountains.

Lauren writes about shopping, crafting, and living well on a small budget at The Thrifty Ginger.

Find It

Hudson Crossing Park
County Road 42
Schuylerville, NY 12871

Comments

Hudson Crossing Park is also home to the Hudson Crossing Triathlon. It's a masterfully run, short-distanced triathlon that takes place in June of each year. If anyone out there ever was ever curious about giving triathlon a...uhh... "tri", this would be an ideal place to start (super short swim!).

I have, and as have other local birders, found this a decent birding spot, particularly in early spring when the waterfowl are migrating on the Hudson River. Worth a stop, especially if you have a scope!

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