Exercising Outdoors: Accessible Trails

Walking or wheeling around town are great ways to get the recommended 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day. Researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville identified how many calories can be burned self-propelling a wheelchair. The average adult can burn up to 120 calories in half an hour when wheeling at 2 mph on a flat surface. Being outside gives you the added bonus of fresh air and sunshine, which helps boost your mood and provides vitamin D. Western New York has plenty of beautiful outdoor wheelchair accessible trails to visit, give these trails a try: 

Cheektowaga Historic Rails to Trails


Address:  Union Rd. & Hurd St. and Medina St., Cheektowaga, NY  

Length of Trail:  2.3 miles 

Parking:  Dedicated trail parking is available at the trail access points off of Ludwig Ave, St. Felix Ave, and Stradtman St. Users may also find on street parking near the access points, and may find parking near the eastern trailhead in the Apple Tree Business Park lot. Be sure to follow any posted signs and warnings. 

A smooth, flat asphalt ride that allows you to discover the town's railroad history. About 1.5 miles of trail are built next to an active rail line on the site of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad, which hauled coal from Pennsylvania up to Buffalo and Lake Erie, making this rail-with-trail a hotspot for railroad buffs. 

Beginning in the east, the trail departs from the sidewalk along Union Road and makes use of a pedestrian bridge to cross the road, paralleling the active railroad bridge. The trail heads west, separated from the tracks by a wooden and chain-link fence, and quickly enters a tree-lined corridor behind residential neighborhoods. Several neighborhood streets have short access paths to the trail, and trail users can make use of one such path to check out the adjacent Raymond Park, which hosts a soccer field, playground, and other recreational amenities. 

Clarence Pathways


Address:  NY 78/Transit Rd. (Clarence) and Cedar St. between Railroad St. and Eckerson Ave. (Akron) 

Length of Trail:  17.9 miles 

Parking:  Parking Lot at the West Shore Trailhead at Barton Rd. and Wehrle. Parking is also available at the Main Town Park and Parks Dept., off Cummings Dr. Meadowlakes Park off Clarence Center Rd. has a parking lot that is connected to the Peanut Line Trail.  The Clarence Soccer Club at Memorial Park near Kraus Rd. has parking lots. 

Four trails make up the Clarence Pathways trail system: the West Shore Trail, Newstead Bike Path, Clarence Bike Trail, and Peanut Line Trail. The trails radiate around the Buffalo suburbs of Clarence, Akron and Amherst. 

The West Shore Trail in Clarence follows the West Shore & Buffalo Railroad corridor. The paved West Shore Trail travels the rural outskirts of Clarence and connects a number of the town's parks with residential areas and the downtown. Traveling east the trail is bookended by rural farms and fields. In Clarence Town Park the trail shares a low-volume local road for 0.8 mile that provides access to the park and the park maintenance facility.  

As the trail passes through downtown Clarence, bike route signs keep you on track. Look for bike lanes on the sidewalk and brick pavers at street crossings. The West Shore Trail returns to a rural setting until reaching Davidson Road. Here the trail becomes the Newstead Bike Path, though there is little noticeable difference between the two.  

After 2.5 miles of passing through farmland and woodlots on the Newstead Bike Path, you reach Akron Junction and the connection to the Peanut Line Trail. The Newstead Bike Path continues north and east for another 2 miles through country landscape and near residential developments to the town of Akron.  

If you choose to branch off on the Peanut Line Trail you will follow a rail-trail that stretches west toward East Amherst. The trail is named for the New York Central Railroad corridor it travels, dubbed the "Peanut Line" for its short length. The first 2.3 miles of the trail, in Newstead, are primarily rural farmland.  

When you reach the Newstead-Clarence town line, the Peanut Line Trail becomes the Clarence Bike Trail, though it is also known as the Peanut Line Trail. The Clarence Bike Trail continues west on the old rail line. The trail ends near Transit Road, but not before whisking you through Clarence, where the surroundings gradually become more suburban and residential. Farm fields give way to front yards and, at about 2.4 miles, the trail connects with a community park. A number of side paths snake toward the trail, linking neighborhoods to the popular path.  

In the winter, snowmobiling is allowed on two of these routes: the Peanut Line Trail between Goodrich Road and Salt Road, and on the West Shore Trail between Main Street and Davison Road. 

Grand Island West River Greenway Trail

Address:  West River Parkway, Grand Island 

Length of Trail:  8 miles 

Parking:  Parking is available along the trail at the Eagle Overlook at one end of Buckhorn State Park. Parking is also available at the Whitehaven Overlook, between Whitehaven Rd. and Staley Rd.  

Newly opened bike path as of 2019. A smoothed paved trail wide enough to accommodate designated bike and pedestrian lanes. The path has beautiful views of the Niagara River and connects two state parks, Buckhorn and Beaver Island. 

Kiwanis Park Trail


Phone:  (716) 754-9401 

Address:  940 Oxbow Ln., Lewiston, NY  14092 

Length of Trail:  8 miles 

Parking:  Oxbow Lane ends at Kiwanis Park, where the parking lot is. You also can park at Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown and travel South towards Lewiston. Parking is also available at Joseph Davis State Park about halfway between Lewiston and Youngstown. 

This trail starts in the Village of Lewiston off Mohawk Street just North of Center Street. Trail is black top until you reach the Village of Youngstown, then the trail is concrete sidewalk through the Village. This trail has no elevation change. You can also travel from the Village of Lewiston, starting at the Red Brick Schoolhouse on Third Street (18F) and travel North on Lower River Road all the way to Fort Niagara. Joseph Davis State Park has a few lakes, picnic tables, and a fishing dock on the Niagara River. It also has a disc gold course. Fort Niagara State Park has a swimming pool, picnic tables, shelters, soccer fields and a boat/fishing dock. On a clear day you can see Toronto, Canada thirty miles across Lake Ontario. 

Lancaster Heritage Trail


Address:  Walter Winter Dr. & Town Line Rd., between Walden Ave. and Westwood Rd., Lancaster, NY

Length of Trail:  4.0 miles 

Parking:  Public parking is available at both ends of the trail.  

The Lancaster Heritage Trail offers scenic views as it traverses the wooded Lancaster countryside. At each end, kiosks provide a brief history of the trail, which was built on a portion of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad bed dating back to the late 1800s. The off-road, non-motorized pathway is paved and relatively level with three at-grade, well-marked street crossings. Benches made of natural materials, including boulders scattered alongside the trail, provide places to rest on the 4-mile journey. 

Lehigh Memory Trail


Address:  South Long St. to S. Cayuga Rd., Village of Williamsville, NY

Length of Trail:  0.55 miles 

Parking Lot:  No 

The Lehigh Memory Trail lies in the Village of Williamsville. The pathway is a short-paved trail that runs through the heart of the village. The trail runs adjacent to the Williamsville Depot; a historic railroad depot constructed in November 1896, by the Depew and Tonawanda Railroad, a subsidiary of the Lehigh Valley Railway.  For more information please contact the Village of Williamsville at (716) 632-4120. 

Niagara Scenic Parkway Trail


Address:  Main St. & Rainbow Blvd. to Devil’s Hole State Park 

Length of Trail:  3.5 miles 

Parking:  Parking and restrooms are available at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center (200 Robert Moses Parkway N., Niagara Falls), in De Veaux Woods State Park (3180 De Veaux Woods Drive, Niagara Falls), and at Devil's Hole State Park (off Robert Moses Parkway).  

The Niagara Scenic Parkway Trail, formerly known as the Robert Moses Recreational Trail, spans nearly 4 miles beginning at Main Street in Niagara Falls. From there, it heads north past the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and winds along the Niagara River through a series of state parks. 

In De Veaux Woods State Park, trail goers will find several historical buildings, an old-growth forest, and many recreational amenities, including athletic fields, a playground, picnic tables, and grills. Farther along, the trail continues through Devil's Hole State Park, which offers scenic overlooks, picnic areas, fishing spots, and hiking trails. 

North Buffalo Rails to Trails


Address:  Kenmore Ave. near Fairfield Ave., Town of Tonawanda, NY to Shoshone Park

Length of Trail:  0.65 miles 

Parking: Parking is available at Shoshone Park at the southern end of the trail. 

North Buffalo Rails to Trails offers a tree-lined paved pathway through Minnesota Linear Park in the University Heights neighborhood. Although less than a mile long, it offers two important links in the community. At its southern end, is the LaSalle Metro Rail Station and, at its northern end, is a connection to Tonawanda Rails to Trails. In addition, the trail provides access to Shoshone Park, which offers a number of amenities, such as a pool, basketball court, tennis court, playground, and ball fields. 

The trail is easily accessible by public transportation with the LaSalle Metro Rail Station (at the corner of Main Street and LaSalle Avenue) anchoring its southern end.  

Shoreline Trail


Address:  Corner of Seymour and Niagara Streets, Tonawanda and George J. Hartman Play Fields, Buffalo 

Length of Trail:  21.7 miles 

Parking:  A parking lot is located in Niawanda Park (200 Niagara St., Tonawanda). Close to Isle View Park, is another lot. Just south of this lot is another lot with an even larger amount of spaces available. On the western side of Unity Island Park, there is a small round lot with room for about 15 cars. La Salle Park, which is located on Porter Avenue, offers a large parking. The southernmost parking lot is located a couple hundred feet south of where Fuhrmann Boulevard and Outerharbor drive meet, with room for around 25 cars. 

The Shoreline Trail is an easy pathway that runs adjacent to Lake Erie, on its southern half and then along the Niagara River on its northern half.  

The trail is paved throughout its entire length. Numerous trailside parks also provide helpful amenities, such as restrooms, drinking water and picnic areas.  

Tifft Nature Preserve 


Phone:  (716) 825-6397 

Address: 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo, NY  14203 

Length of Trail:  Varies 

Parking:  Free parking at the entrance 

Tifft Nature Preserve is a great place to immerse yourself in nature within the City of Buffalo. Walk or roll around this beautiful 264-acre preserve on over 5 miles of trails and see how many different animals you can spot. Stop by the Education Center or attend a workshop to learn about the marvels of nature. 

Tonawanda Rails to Trails

Website www.traillink.com/trail/tonawanda-rails-to-trails/

Address: State St. near Young St., City of Tonawanda, NY to Kenmore Ave. near Fairfield Ave., Town of Tonawanda, NY  

Length of Trail: 4.7 miles 

Parking: Parking is available near the north end of the trail in Ives Park (2 Frances St.) and at Walter M. 
Kenney Field (2000 Colvin Blvd.). Mid-Trail, parking can be found at Lincoln Park (1200 Parker Blvd.). 

Opened in 2016, Tonawanda Rails to Trails offers a paved linear route through Tonawanda. The rail-trail was built atop the former Erie Lackawanna Railway, which carried both freight and passengers in the 1880s. The pathway runs through a mix of residential and commercial areas and links several schools and parks. 

Two Mile Creek Greenway Trail


Address:  Two Mile Creek Rd. (between Fletcher & E. Park Dr.), Tonawanda, NY 14150

Length of Trail:  1.3 miles 

Parking:  Parking and trail access are available along Niagara Street/Rt.  266 at the northeast end of Isle View County Park and along Two Mile Creek Road closer to I-290. 

The Two-Mile Creek Greenway runs from East Park Drive near I-290 to the Niagara River in the town of Tonawanda. The trail follows along Two Mile Creek, passing through Veterans Memorial Park, and ends at a connection with a section of the Erie Canalway Trail (known as the Riverwalk), a vast trail network stretching more than 300 miles from Buffalo to Albany. 

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