Erie Canalway trail

Bike touring is not my favorite activity, but I do it from time to time. I don't like being stuck on roads (maybe I should get into mountain biking!) but my boyfriend loves it. I prefer long cycling trails that are off road (at least partly). The Erie Canalway trail seemed like a good vacation option, it's partly off-road and close to home. We decided to try it out in early May 2018

Trip Details

Duration6 days
LengthThe Erie Canalway trail is officially around 365 miles (587 km) and extends from Buffalo to Albany. However we ended up bicycling a total of 621 km (386 miles) because of stops, detours and mistakes!
WhenMay 2018
Departure pointTrailhead Downtown Buffalo
Arrival pointTrailhead Downtown Albany
LogisticsWe parked a car downtown Albany and packed the bikes in cardbord boxes. We took Greyhound bus to Buffalo and stayed in a hotel in downtown Buffalo the evening before heading out.
AccomodationWe found campspots and lodging on for the first three nights on the trail. We camped along the trail for the last two nights. We stayed in hotels in Buffalo and Albany the night before and after the trail. Camping is allowed at many locks along the canal if you call ahead.
Useful linksPark and Trails New York



Day 1 - Downtown Buffalo to Medina - 93km

The trail out of Buffalo was not the easiest to follow. Luckily I had the gps file on my phone and we were able to figure out where to go that way. The first part of the day was along the Niagara river until we got on the path next to the canal.

Day 2 - Medina to Fairport - 110km

The trail was mostly on stone dust during that day until we got close to Rochester. We were able to stop at the REI store, right next to the canal, to inflate our tires and get a quick checkup on one of the bikes.


Day 3 - Fairport to Syracuse - 127km

One of our longest days, which I was not necessarily ready for. It had rained the previous night so the stone dust was wet and would stick to our clothes and legs. We lost the trail at some point when it is on a road because I tried to follow what I had in my gps file, which clearly had not been updated. We were very grateful for the shower at the end of the day.

Day 4 - Syracuse to Lock 20 - 101km

Bike trails to cross and get out of Syracuse were in a poor condition and hard to follow. Eventually we got back on stone dust but the trail was very muddy and not very well maintained. After a while we decided to try to use the roads instead of the trail since progress was so hard. Towards the end of the day we got back on the trail but a lot of dead branches was scattered over it. One eventually got stuck in between my wheel and my mudguard and ripped my tire. Fortunately the tube was undamaged and we taped the tire with duct tape and kept going.

Day 5 - Lock 20 to Fort Hunter - 109km

Once again we alternated between the trail and the road since some sections were not so good for our tire sizes. We were not sure where we would camp. I called a few of the lock operators but since it was the weekend no one answered. We ended up camping next to the trail in a quiet area.

Day 6 - Fort Hunter to downtown Albany - 87 km

We only had 87 kilometers left to get to downtown Albany and headed out early in order to get to the hotel early and enjoy some comfort. As we approached Albany the trail was mostly paved. The trail ended up downtown Albany but there was no distinct marking for the end. We spent the rest of the day cleaning gear and relaxing before heading North to the Adirondacks for some hiking for the next few days.