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Historic New York State Waterway Sites

Sail into History With These Historic New York State Waterway Sites

Champlain Memorial Lighthouse

The New York State Independence Trail invites you to explore the historic waterways of eastern New York. The strategic pulse of French and Indian and Revolutionary War-era America, New York's waterways linked colonies, transported troops and supplies, defined borders, and were pivotal in the successful British campaign against the French, and in the American victory in The Revolution.

Ticonderoga (Re-enactment)

Waterways were the natural superhighways of the late 18th century. From the St. Lawrence River to the shores of Lake Champlain, to the clear blue waters of Lake George, and the Mohawk River, to the mighty Hudson River, battles raged and sacrifices were made. Relive our legacy and travel along The New York Independence Waterways Trail.

Download a PDF of the NEW Waterways brochure here!

Saratoga National Historic Park

Experience history, culture and natural splendor along The New York Independence Waterways Trail. The sites named here can be viewed or accessed by car, bicycle, foot, kayak, pleasure craft or tour boat. Some are large museums and restored forts; others are noted with simple signs and markers. All invite you to relive the Birth of Our Great Nation.

Cruise the Lake Champlain Canal to Whitehall, where Benedict Arnold oversaw the construction of America’s first gunships, earning Whitehall the title, “Birthplace of the United States Navy.” Visit the site of the Battle of Valcour Island where an American fleet commanded by Arnold helped to foil the British plan to divide the colonies in 1776. One of Arnold’s gunboats, scuttled during the night-time retreat, was discovered in Lake Champlain in 1997.

Fort Hamilton

Hike the trails of Mount Independence, the site of an American Revolutionary War complex built to guard against a British attack from Canada. Dive the waters of Lake George for a first-hand look at the sunken 1758 Radeau Land Tortoise, the oldest intact warship in North America, deliberately scuttled, then discovered by underwater archaeologists in 1990.

Drop anchor and soak in the history of the islands of Lake George where soldiers camped, prisoners were held and battles were waged.

Climb to the top of Rogers Rock where Major Robert Rogers was chased by Indian and French soldiers.

Thrill in a living history tour of the reconstructed Fort William Henry where 2,200 colonial defenders valiantly repelled attacks from French troops until the siege by General Montcalm in 1757.

Picnic amidst the dramatic history of Lake George Battlefield Park, the site of military engagements during both the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars.

Not far from Cooper’s Cave, visit the Historic Feeder Canal Park adjacent to the towpath that linked Glens Falls to the original Champlain Canal.

A short trip from the Hudson River, tour the site of the famed Battles of Saratoga — the turning point of the Revolution. The American victory over General John Burgoyne proved to the world that the American Continental Army was a force to be reckoned with and encouraged the European community to support the American cause.

Stop by historic Fort Hardy Park to see the commemorative “Surrender Tree” where Burgoyne admitted defeat and signed the Convention of Saratoga in 1777.

Dock in Fort Edward and visit the site of Jane McCrea’s murder – an event that enraged and rallied American militia. Within walking distance are the Rogers Island Visitors Center and the Old Fort House Museum, the only surviving building that headquartered both British and American generals.

Retrace the torturous 300-mile trek of Henry Knox. This young American officer valiantly transported 119,000 pounds of heavy artillery through snow and ice along Lake Champlain and Lake George from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston to help General George Washington fend off the British Navy.

Tour the visitor center and museum at Oneida County’s Oriskany Battlefield, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution. The fierce determination of American militia convinced the British to abandon the siege of Fort Stanwix,protecting the Mohawk Valley. Take a guided tour of General Nicholas Herkimer’s mansion. Herkimer fearlessly led the American militia in this conflict. Experience the Erie Canal Village outdoor living history museum nearby. The construction of the Erie Canal made New York City the economic center of the New World.

Visit the sentinels of the Hudson, Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery. These forts guarded the “Great Chain” that stretched from Fort Montgomery to Anthony’s Nose to prevent British ships from pressing forward up the Hudson.

Stand at the present-day site of Fort Hamilton, where in 1776 shots were fired against the British, marking the first coastal defense of the colonies.

Whether you are a history buff or a novice, there is plenty to learn and enjoy along The New York Independence Waterways Trail.

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The New York State Independence Trail
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Battery Park, Manhattan Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn Conference House (Billop Manor House), Staten Island Old Stone House Interpretive Center, Brooklyn Federal Hall National Memorial, Manhattan Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Manhattan Fraunces’ Tavern Museum, Manhattan St. Paul’s Church, Mount Vernon Valentine Varian House, Bronx John Jay Homestead, Katonah Van Cortlandt Manor, Croton-on-Hudson Stony Point Battlefield, Stony Point United States Military Academy, West Point Fort Montgomery State Historic Site, Fort Montgomery Constitution Island and the Warner House, West Point New Windsor Cantonment, Vails Gate Knox’s Headquarters, Vails Gate Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh Mount Gulian, Beacon Madam Brett Homestead, Beacon Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hyde Park Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown Old Senate House Historic Site, Kingston Van Wyck Homestead Museum, Fishkill Cooper’s Cave, South Glens Falls/Glens Falls Parks-Bentley House, South Glens Falls Rogers Island Visitors Center, Fort Edward Old Fort House Museum, Fort Edward Schuyler House, Schuylerville Fort Hardy Park, Schuylerville Revolutionary War Cemetery, Salem The Saratoga Monument, Victory Saratoga National Historical Park, Stillwater The Stillwater Blockhouse, Stillwater Van Schaick Mansion, Cohoes Historic Stockade District, Schenectady Bennington Battlefield Site, Hoosick Falls Schuyler Flatts Cultural Park, Colonie Crailo State Historic Site, Rensselaer Old Stone Fort Museum, Schoharie Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Albany Peebles Island State Park, Waterford Half-Way Brook, Queensbury Bloody Pond, Queensbury Fort George and Battlefield Park, Lake George Fort William Henry, Lake George Knox Trail, Lake George Rogers Rock, Hague Birthplace of the U.S. Navy, Whitehall Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga Crown Point Historic Site, Crown Point Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, Peru Fort Chambly National Historic Site, Chambly, Quebec, Canada