If you start on the north end of Zim Smith Trail in Ballston Spa, you'll enter a gorgeous wooded area that marks some of the dense forests that take up upstate New York. The asphalt path extends for 1 mile before it becomes packed stone dust, but it consistently stays 10 feet wide. The trail is perfect for a summertime walk or a wintery trek with your pup, especially since automobiles aren't allowed.
The natural land of the area boasts an abundance of wildlife and lush vegetation, with more than 75 percent of the area being covered in large oak trees that provide lots of shade. Entering the trail, you'll follow along a railroad for a short time and will be accompanied by the whistles of passing trains. On the route, you and Fido will pass by and through some great landmarks, like a community park, a state park, and two lakes.
One of the parks is known as Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta, which is 2.75 miles from the northern starting point. The trail passing along the forested southern edge and provides access to restrooms and water fountains. Automobiles are not allowed on the trail, but plenty of other activities are permitted, like bicycling, horse riding, jogging, and wildlife observation. There are even activities in the winter that include snowboarding, snowshoeing, and skiing.
The trail today connects to multiple other nature trails, paved walkways, and bike pathways for residents and is available to over 200 thousand people that live in the county. After walking all nine miles, you'll find yourself at the Zim Smith Trailhead in Mechanicville, where there's a small parking area. The trail is pretty popular thanks to its easy incline and scenic views of Round Lake and Ballston Lake, where dogs are also permitted to explore while on a leash. The dog-friendly area is perfect despite the lack of clean-up bags and water fountains, and will provide you and Fido with a day full of exercise whether you're walking in the summer or winter.