The Erie Canalway Trail runs 365 miles, from Buffalo in the west to Albany in the east, linking other cities of Rochester, Syracuse, Rome, Utica, and Schenectady. As of August 2011, about 75% of the trail is complete with a few remaining gaps (information below). The trail is mostly level, although portions through the Mohawk River Valley are a little bit steeper.
Most of the Erie Canalway Trail is surfaced in crushed limestone dust, which can be smooth and make for easy riding when dry, more difficult riding when wet or freshly laid. For this reason, if you're biking the trail, wider tires are recommended. Other parts of the trail are natural surface, which means tree roots and ruts can sometimes make for difficult biking or hinder wheelchairs. Even fewer sections have asphalt surfaces, and there are long sections in some parts of the trail that are on-road.
Ever since the canalway system was replaced by highway, freight and air traffic, people along the extensive canalway have sought ways to revitalize their communities. As early as the 1960s, communities began to develop trail systems along their neighboring towpaths. Today these trails form a vital part of people's lives, not only providing recreation and non-motorized commuter alternatives, but invigorating communities through commercial, historical and artistic development, while linking neighboring towns.
This segment of the Erie Canalway Trail extends from Port Byron to Utica. The 36-mile section between DeWitt and Rome is also known as the Old Erie Canal State Park and is a National Recreation Trail. Permitted uses include horseback riding and snowmobiling. For more information call the Canal Corporation: 800-4CANAL4 (800-422-6254).
If you're continuing your journey east, there is a 12-mile gap in the trail between Camillus and DeWitt, where the trail picks up again at I-481 and continues east to Rome. There is another 6-mile gap in the trail in the city of Rome, then the trail begins again south of the canal (Stanwix) and carries on to Utica (see Erie Canalway Trail: Little Falls to Albany (Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway
). If you're traveling west, see Erie Canalway Trail: Tonawanda to Newark (Erie Canal Heritage Trail)
There are numerous access points and places to park along the Erie Canalway Trail. For more information, contact Parks and Trails New York
We actually started at a point beyond what is shown here as the end point in Utica. We parked at the commuter parking lot off N. Genessee St. on Harbor Lock Rd. The bike trail seems to begin here, and is paved at this point, all the way to Lock #20 (about ...