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Take a Staycation in Washington County: Explore the Great Outdoors

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Exploring the Great Outdoors in Washington County, NY

Staycation is the new term used to describe staying home for your vacation and if you’re reading this article – you’re in a perfect place to trip over to Washington County, where there are plentiful options for spending a night or two at a lovely B & B, hotel, cottage or camping without the drive and traffic.


Feeder Canal Parks and TrailWashington County offers a variety of hiking, biking, floating and nature discoveries. The northern part of Washington County is the gateway to the Adirondacks, where you can hike such popular locations as Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve, Shelving Rock, Sleeping Beauty, Black Mountain and Buck Mountain. Going south you’ll find the Battenkill State Forest and Mt. Tom. Add an educational element to your adventure with treks that include wildlife and birds of the region at the East Bay Wildlife Management Area off County Route 10 in Whitehall. Gull Bay Preserve in the Town of Putnam provides scenic vistas of Gull Bay and southern Lake George. Carter Pond Wildlife Management Area off State Route 338 in Greenwich and Hebron Nature Preserve off Route 22 offers acres of wildlife habitats; open fields, wetlands and forests, as well as seven nature trails that offer the walker an easy stroll to a moderate hike.

Cycle or walk along the Feeder Canal Parks and Trail–a conduit for water from the Hudson River to the Champlain Canal, this 7-mile linear park beginning or ending in Fort Edward offers a variety of recreational opportunities from hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking to picnicking.

A trip into Washington County should include your kayak, canoe or raft because there are miles upon miles of brooks, streams, ponds and lakes throughout the county. Washington County’s prominent waterways and lakes include the Hudson River, Lake George, Lake Champlain, the Champlain Canal, Cossayuna Lake, Summit Lake, Lake Lauderdale, Pine Lake, Lake Nebo, and Hadlock & Copeland Ponds. Fishing enthusiasts will want to include a cast into the Battenkill, Poultney and Mettawee Rivers which are renowned for trout fishing. The legendary Battenkill River was made famous for fly fishing by Lou Oatman – so you should consider hiring a guide to teach you the art of fly fishing.

A float or paddle on the Battenkill will provide a close up view of Washington County’s four covered bridges that span the river. Built in the Civil War era, four of the county’s covered bridges still remain, three of which are still in use – Rexleigh, Eagleville and Buskirk. The fourth, in Shushan, has been preserved as a museum. Two outfitters, Battenkill River Sports and Battenkill Valley Outdoors, located off Route 313 in the Town of Jackson offer rentals and sales of as well as pick up and drop off along the river. Your adventure should include a stop in Shushan at the Georgi Museum for lunch. The Mettawee River near North Granville is a 4.5 miles Class IV-V with great scenery at the bridge; a great spot for a photo.

History – Made Fun

Granville, At the Mettawee River, Photo by Monica SirignanoBring your boat to Washington County and dive into the Hudson River in Fort Edward to explore Washington County’s Heritage Corridor. Travel up the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal to Whitehall and Lake Champlain. Begin your excursion with a visit to Rogers Island Visitors Center, the Old Fort Museum, Fort Edward Historical Society and the Washington County Historical Society. Upon arriving into Whitehall, one can imagine the scene of war ships being built for the US Navy and the activity the canal once saw as an important transportation corridor. Step off your boat and venture into the Skeneborough Museum before heading out to the Skene Manor for an amazing view of the canal and Whitehall.

Curious about the slate roofs and sidewalks that are unique to upstate? Granville has your answer. A beautiful drive to Granville and a trip to the Slate Valley Museum will answer all of your questions and many quarries are open to the public – who knew a kitchen re-model could be educational.

Click here for more information on the Washington County Waterways and for more detailed info on how to access them with your kayak, canoe, raft or boat. Learn more about Washington County, where to go and what to visit while you’re there at

–Christine Hoffer is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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