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This trail follows the Black River Canal Towpath that links Boonville to Foresport. Running from Erwin Park at Boonville to Alder Pond at Forestport, it is a quiet walk or bike trip through woods and fields along the old towpath.
The 77-mile canal was built between 1837 and 1855, connecting to the water of the Erie Canal. This provided the region with access to eastern and Midwestern markets and was essential to the region’s economic growth. This canal held and still holds the world record for 109 locks.
The Black River Feeder Canal Trail now connects to the Black River Environmental Improvement Area (BREIA) Trail System, Boonville Youth Athletic Association, and Headwaters Shopping Plaza. Across from the Erwin Park entry, travelers can visit the Boonville Black River Canal Musuem which preserves, houses, and displays artifacts from the canal era. Kayaking and swimming are also popular activities along the route and it serves as an educational field trip destination.
The canal is part of a much larger trail network called the North Country National Scenic Trail.
Parking is available at Erwin Park.
From Rome, follow Route 46 north to Boonville. Turn right on Schuyler Street to Route 12. Turn right (south) and Erwin Park will be on your left next to Route 12.
From Utica, follow Route 12 north to Boonville. Erwin Park will be on your right next to Route 12.
Rode this trail on 10/11. Beautiful day. I wish I could say that for the trail. Who ever maintains the trail, doesn't. I started at the Boonville end and the trail kept getting rougher and rougher, more like a truck trail with rocks sticking up. Plenty of puddles toward the Forestport end. The trail shook my bike so hard I had to stop on the way back to tighten my mirror and cyclometer. I have ridden this bike over 1400 miles on trails and never had this problem. Perhaps on a full suspension mountain bike it would be better. I normally ride a towpath at 13 - 17 MPH. I was below 10 most of the time and my hands were still numb. The two stars is because of the scenery.
Group of four biked the trail on 9/16 and had a wonderful time. We started in Boonville and enjoyed the scenery and ended in Forestport. The Forestport end has some significant puddles, but the trip is well worth it. Bonus is the local Forestport Dinner nearby offering coffee and fresh donuts. Also picnic tables available along the river between the trail end and the village of Forestport.
The feeder canal is full the entire length of the trail and there is a current so the water is fresh. The trail is wide and surface is as described with occasional snow potholes but not muddy. Trail is partly shaded and partly exposed. There is a lovely park at the Boonville end with lots of picnic spots. Very few benches on the trail. We rode on July 4th and saw maybe 10 people the entire length so not Hi am wondering how did it get this message you have very crowded
Full disclosure: I am a *huge* fan of canal trails. This one is beautiful and serene and visually interesting (if you like canals). There are a few spots on the trail that could use some fill (puddles almost too big to get around), but the trail is a pretty good ride. I had great weather (with one downpour) but noticed very few bugs. I had expected more bugs (I strongly encourage bug spray in any case). I rode from Boonville to Forestport and back. After getting soaked on the way out, I stopped for a late breakfast at the Forestport Diner. They close at 1p.m., so donut fans should get there early. I tied a dozen to the back of my bike just for the sporting challenge (see picture). This resulted in one very pleased 18yo when I got home. Go for the canal trail, pause for some donuts.
In the fall, the leaves reflection on the still waters is stunning. Is an easy flat ride, down and back in about 2.5 hours. On route 8 (heading North), turn left before the bridge and the parking area is adjacent to the waterfalls. In Boonville, there is ample parking at the park near the covered bridge.
We started from the park in Boonville rode to Forrestport. We had a picnic lunch overlooking the lake and rode back to the park. The only thing to mention is the gates across the trail. Where the trail crossed public roads gates have been installed to stop ATVs. We had to walk around about 4 or 5 gates. We were told that they would be open for snowmobiles this winter.
We started in Forestport and then stopped in Boonville for lunch. Got pizza at Capri Pizza, ate in the park, then headed back. It was a nice smooth, well maintained trail. We went on a very not day and there isn't a lot of shade so I would recommend going on a cooler day or in the fall. Definitely recommend!
It's a great long ride, just a little bumpy at the Forestport end. However, that is the more scenic section, a nice windy dirt road with lots of wildlife. I have seen deer, turkeys, ducks, kingfishers and there is bear scat as well.
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