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The Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail is a 5-mile pathway beginning in Waterloo, New York and terminating at Seneca Lake State Park.
The roadbed it uses was constructed by the Seneca County Railway from 1896 to 1897. The railroad opened to Waterloo on October 24, 1897 and in 1898 all the way along the canal into Seneca Falls, ending near where the Ovid Street Bridge is today. In 1903 the railway was merged into the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Passenger trains served the line until September of 1914. Freight train service continued on this roadbed into the early 1970's (some reports say 1969, but sporadic service remained past then). By 1975 the tracks were removed, awaiting this new era for the old roadbed, which witnessed the passing of the lives of many fine people of Seneca County & beyond.
The current stretch of trail kicks off near Lock 4 in Waterloo and heads southwest towards Lake Seneca. The heavily-wooded corridor follows the canal through the picturesque pastoral landscape and tranquil wetlands, allowing users to experience the natural beauty of the area at a leisurely pace. The trail surface is flat, smooth limestone dust, making it ideal for a variety of uses, including walking, jogging, biking and wheelchair use. After passing through the Bishop Preserve, the trail ends abruptly at SR 96A, near the Seneca Lake State Park. (But good news, a tunnel is being constructed under the highway to connect the trail to the park).
This open segment of trail is part of a bigger project to connect two of the biggest Finger Lakes, the Cayuga and Seneca, via a 19-mile rail-trail. The finished trail will run from Seneca Lake to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, and in doing so help highlight the natural, historical and cultural importance of the canal and the region. Eventually, plans call for it to connect and add to the Erie Canalway Trail’s 300 miles of off-road trail.
To reach the northern trailhead, head south on SR 96 across the canal. Make a right on Huff Street past Lock 4, where there is a gravel parking lot.
To reach the southern end, you could choose to park at Bishop Preserve (Boodys Hill Rd, Waterloo). There is expanded parking on West River Rd. A recently improved path links up to the trail.
You could also head to the Seneca Lake National State Park (1 Lake Front Dr, Geneva). Accessing the trail is more complicated from this point but will be eased drastically once the underpass is complete.
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