Erie Canalway Trail: Tonawanda to Lyons (Erie Canal Heritage Trail)

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

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 2013, about 77% 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 section of the Erie Canalway Trail is also known as the Erie Canal Heritage Trail, which stretches more than 100 miles from Tonawanda to Lyons. For cyclists there are two main gaps in the trail that are bridged by riding on roads between Mayors Park (but keep to the south of the Canal along Creekside Drive) and Amherst Veterans Canal Park. There is another 6-mile gap from Amherst Museum Colony Park to Lockport (Clinton St.). You can pick up the Canalway Trail again just east of Lock 35 and continue all the way to Lyons. There's a 30-mile gap in the trail from Lyons to Port Byron, where the trail picks up again (Erie Canalway Trail: Port Byron to Utica). You can also head south from Tonawanda to Buffalo along the Riverwalk segment.

Horseback riding and snowmobiling are permitted in some sections of this trail. For more information call the Canal Corporation: 800-4CANAL4 (800-422-6254).

Parking and Trail Access

There are numerous access points and places to park along the Erie Canalway Trail. For more information, contact Parks and Trails New York.


Awesome far

   July, 2013 by damiantek

I rode this today and was going to try and make it to the next town but, i only made it from Tonawanda to Madina, all in all did 90 miles. the trail was scenic and smooth (for being crushed stone) lots of bridges to see along the way. I can't wait to more

Great ride

   June, 2012 by mommag

We rode this trail from Lockport to Medina and back (about 35 miles round trip) on our hybrid bikes and really enjoyed it. Spent the night before our ride at the Holiday Inn Lockport, which was very clean and comfortable and only about 2 miles from the more

Neat trail-great little towns

   June, 2012 by rick.banks.184

My wife and I just spent several days on the Canalway. We really enjoyed visiting all of the "ports"-Lockport, Gasport, Middleport, Spencerport, Brockport and probably a couple of more that I forgot. This trail was on our "bucket list" and we really enjoyed more