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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Erie Canal Bike Trail.
 
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Scenic Portion
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K8 from CA on 09/14/2021 05:55 PM
I am considering riding the Erie Canal in 2022. Which portion is the most scenic with Points of interest? Buffalo to Syracuse or Syracuse to Albany? Or ???

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/16/2021 03:14 PM
Of those two, I think I'd choose Buffalo to Syracuse.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Rochester on 09/18/2021 11:31 PM
Bflo to SYR: Mixed surface, some rural sections, many small towns right on the trail plus Bflo/Niagara, ROC & SYR.

SYR to ALB: Mixed surface to Rome/Utica lots of paved after; older cities and towns along Mohawk River that carries the Canal, several cities and less "quaint" small towns.

 
RebaNic from Buffalo, NY on 09/20/2021 08:43 AM
Prevailing winds tend to be from the west. I found it a more pleasant ride with wind to my back, and no sun in my eyes. There are very beautiful sections Buff to Syracuse. Everything from biking along the mighty Niagara river, to crunching leaves under the tires through gentle woodlands. I love these sections ... great towns along the way.

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Herkimer. Monument
 - 
Pam from Iowa city on 09/17/2021 08:36 PM
We are headed from Rome to st johnsville tomorrow. I saw discussion about loose gravel. What is the current situation surface near Herkimer Monument. Thanks.

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Nice section
 - 
RM from Conn. on 09/08/2021 03:44 PM
Rode the EC end to end 2 years ago. Heading with wife to Lockport…and will ride to Brockport and back to Lockport. So that she can see what I think was a great section of the EC. Does anyone agree?? She does not ride as much as I do but is able to put 40-45 miles in a single day..Hence Lockport to Brockport. And back. ( 2 days ).

 
AnotherTuba from Rochester on 09/08/2021 09:06 PM
I just did all of that in the last couple of months, that's a great idea!

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Rochester on 09/13/2021 05:04 PM
Yeah... nice part of the western Erie Canalway. Hit some rural sections, small towns, waterfalls (Medina) and significant locks. Go for it.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/16/2021 03:30 PM
Good selection. And Brockport has nice places for lunch.

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Shutter
 - 
Claudia Schruhl from Charlotte NC on 09/13/2021 05:21 PM
I like to ride the Erie Canal bikecamping but my concert is where or where i can call to find a Shutter to back to my car (Albany)?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/16/2021 03:28 PM
Amtrak

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Luggage shuttle
 - 
Ken from NH on 09/14/2021 08:57 AM
Any suggestions for lodging to lodging luggage shuttles along the trail? Would be nice to ride light!

Thanks!

 
Wanderingsoul from St. Mary's City, MD on 09/14/2021 10:36 AM
Ken, as far as I know there's no such service. May I suggest that you consider lightening your load to make the trip more pleasant. You'll be surprise how much you can do without. I learned the value of being a light hiker/biker after my first camino Santiago de Compostela, a 500-mile hike from southern France to northwestern Spain. I started with a 20-lb backpack, taking things "just in case"! After 2 days crossing the Pyrenees and pain on my back and knees (I'm a polio survivor and was 67 on that camino), I gave stuffs away and reduced the pack weight down to 12 pounds. Since then I've hiked 3 more caminos and biked 5 long distance bike trip. I'm currently on my 6th bike trip down the Rhine in Germany. On all of these trips I've managed to keep the weight (pack included) to around 12 pounds. On my bike trip from Passau Germany to Budapest, Hungary (via Austria and Slovakia) 2 years ago, everything I took (clothing, tools, spare inner tube, pump etc. fit into ONE pannier and one small handlebar bag!! The only exception was the Erie canal trip in early June this year when the total weight was 24 pounds due to the extra weight of the tent, sleeping bag, pad and stove...! Good luck and have a safe ride.

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Camping at trailside locks
 - 
Rick on 08/26/2021 11:48 AM
So I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding camping policies at the various locks. I understand that there are appx. 5 that allow camping and some of those have drinking water and restrooms, and maybe a shower. I called the Marina at Lock 21 Illion and was told $20 fee. I thought from reading these posts that camping at the locks was free.
I'm looking for clear, concise info regarding camping options I'd rather not hear smart remarks or "I stealth camped and thumbed my nose at authority." I prefer to do the right thing as some places are now off limits to trail riders because of behavior. Would like to hear from those who have done the ride, camped, and have useful info. I know I sound like a pain in the butt. Don't mean to but don't want to weed through a bunch of useless chatter. Thanks to all that can help.

 
Biker Girl from Rochester on 08/28/2021 12:19 PM
I rode west-bound in May, and camped half the time.

You are correct that there are several locks with some level of facilities. I don't believe any have showers, but many have portable toilets, and some have potable water.

Lock 15 is great - water, facilities, and even electricity.

Lock 20 is good - no potable water, yes on facilities.

Lock 21 is lovely, but without any water or facilities. It's also pretty remote, so you can't just pop into town.

Lock 30 had water, but no facilities in May. Might be different now, since two years ago they had them.

Lock 21 allows free camping at the lock. I'm guessing if you called the Marina, that wasn't the Canal system lock; hence the $20 fee.

You are allowed to camp any any lock, pending approval from the lock master, but there will not be any services.

We added a couple of hotel stops so we could have a shower twice on the ride.

Enjoy your ride!

 
Rick on 08/28/2021 03:45 PM
Biker Girl, Thank you. I called 2 numbers at Illion. One only rand. The 2nd answered and that was the Marina.

 
Dandy Don from Fairfield on 08/28/2021 04:59 PM
Yes, thank you Biker Girl.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 08/29/2021 08:27 AM
Thank you for that info Biker Girl. I have updated the website listings to reflect these details.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Rochester on 09/13/2021 05:35 PM
Rick -- the Illion Lock has a Town RV park. In COVID frantic June 2020, I stopped there and called the number posted at the building. The park manager allowed me to camp one night, but told me that the Town didn't allow tent camping, just RVs. It does make sense as there is just a back row of paved RV parking. I stayed on a grassy area on the far side near a pavillion.

In general... camping at Locks is allowed -- ideally with advance permission/notification (and same day is fine). On the eastern section you are not always right on the Canalway, so a Lock option may take planning to getbthere. I stayed at a public Marina in Little Falls that was great (pretty much legal), Lock 8 near Rotterdam was one of the best and not even mentioned above, as was the Lock at Fort Hunter. The Canalway is close enough to towns and facilities (convenient stores, restaurants, etc.) that finding camping support is easy. My advise is get out a map and do some planning to support the amount of miles you want to cover in a day and see where it puts you -- then see what's close and what options you have. Lighten up, have fun... it's an adventure after all!

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Unity Island Park in Buffalo
 - 
JTBiker from Greensburg PA on 08/30/2021 09:02 PM
Can you park for several days here?
What is the cost per day?
Is it safe to leave your vehicle for several days?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/13/2021 11:47 AM
I wouldn't leave my car there.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Rochester on 09/13/2021 04:56 PM
JTBiker -- pretty much Unity Island isn't car accessable, but more of a walking Pier and any parking would be short-term. Looking for a place to leave your car? Right there is Rich Products who have a big parking area for both their offices and an event venue. Further north off Niagara Street there is a Marina (Harbor Place Marine) & West Marine store. Large parking lot there -- right on the bikepath. For either of these call and ask kindly ask permission.

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East of Herkimer Monument.
 - 
AJ from Millinocket Maine on 05/27/2021 08:43 PM
The trail eastbound after Herkimer Monument is like biking through the beach, the desert, the snow, oatmeal, pennies, nickels, quarters, really any denomination of wasted money. What an awful experience. My poor mother had to walk her bike for the 2-3 miles of mashed potatoes. Why bother to put down THAT MUCH rock dust if you aren’t going to harden it in any way?... idk. Worse part of our bike pack. Even worse than whatever Rome is right now.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/27/2021 09:01 PM
Isn't it just crazy? You have to wonder who was in charge, what authorization was given and why the Canal Corporation does not have set standards to follow for preparation and final trail surfacing. That's a rather common item in any Trail Maintenance Crew documentation.

 
Mike Kennedy from Sheffield Village ohio on 05/28/2021 06:36 PM
I'm on the trail now in Canstota and will be on the "Sugar Sand" tomorrow. I'm thinking of staying on the road through this section. Smart idea?

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/28/2021 09:28 PM
I haven't looked at any options available, but if it looks like it isn't too bad of an option (length, busy) I can't imagine that missing a 2-3 mile grungy walk is not a great idea!

Keep us posted and what your route idea is (and how it turns out)! Have a good night.

PS - Just looked. Not sure exactly where the crappy surface starts/ends, but if are you thinking River Road -- Looks like something I'd do!

 
Mike Kennedy from Sheffield Village ohio on 05/29/2021 02:58 PM
I'm in Little Falls now. I rode the Herkimer section. There is new asphalt a great riding conditions. The biker who reported the sugar sand must have come through between the exact time the put down the sand and then asphalt. One more day till Albany. If anyone knows a way back to Buffalo on sunday night or Monday please let me know. Thanks Mike

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/29/2021 03:58 PM
WOW! That is great news. Maybe that was the plan all along.

Mike -- Sweet planning on your part! LOL
I checked that Amtrak Train for you.

There is a bike rack available on SUNDAY on both the 1:23 PM and 4:23 PM Empire Service Train out of Schenectady. Couch & Rack $52 and $20.

Also: MONDAY on the 7:33 PM Lake Shore Limited Train out of Schenectady. $52 and $20. There is also seat and rack on the 4:23 PM Empire Service. $74 and $20.

I don't know of anyone making the drive from Albany in the next couple days. An option, of course is to turn around and peddle!

You have a lot of options for train, but the racks do sell out, so make a reservation soon if you are going to travel by train.

 
Mike Kennedy from Sheffield Village ohio on 05/29/2021 04:42 PM
Thanks Bubba for the research. I already have a rack booked for Tuesday. I was not able to get a spot for Monday. I will just ride around Albany. Thanks again

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/29/2021 08:59 PM
Gotcha. Ask Amtrak if they will let you use your ticket early. Who knows? John Boyd Thacher State Park, it's a really nice place to spend some time exploring. It's a 16 mile bike ride and not great roads to get there, but an Uber might be an option if you are tired of biking around. Glad your tour was a good one. Be sure to write a trip report for us to review. It's been fun hearing from you and helping you out.
-bubba
wnybubba@gmail.com

 
Yankee John from Vermont/Rexford on 05/29/2021 09:11 PM
Mike:
If you want to ride on your extra day consider the Albany County Rail Trail. It's paved and a gentle uphill to Voorheesville. The trailhead is on Pearl St. just south of Albany. If you want to be off your bike the New York State Museum on Madison is worth a few hours of your time. I don't know what the COVID restrictions for the museum.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/29/2021 10:20 PM
Gotcha. Ask Amtrak if they will let you use your ticket early. Who knows? John Boyd Thacher State Park, it's a really nice place to spend some time exploring. It's a 16 mile bike ride and not great roads to get there, but an Uber might be an option if you are tired of biking around. Glad your tour was a good one. Be sure to write a trip report for us to review. It's been fun hearing from you and helping you out.
-bubba
wnybubba@gmail.com

 
Mike Kennedy from Sheffield Village ohio on 05/31/2021 12:59 PM
I'm sitting here on the Amtrak enjoying my unexpected day early ride back to Buffalo. I

 
Mike Kennedy from Sheffield Village ohio on 05/31/2021 01:00 PM

 
wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 05/31/2021 01:16 PM
GREAT! Not that spending time in ALB isn't decent. So Amtrak allowed you to use an earlier train?

 
Bob G from Columbus, Oh on 09/11/2021 03:25 PM
We rode the east-of-Herkimer section on June 2, 2021 and it was still terrible, so I’m not sure about the May 29 comment that it had been paved. It really isn’t sand, it’s just gravel that was way too deep. Does anyone have an update on this?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 09/13/2021 11:41 AM
Supposedly there are Trail Closed signs and a marked road detour.

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scenic and paved trail advice
 - 
Jim from WAVERLY iowa, on 08/30/2021 01:08 PM
My wife and I are headed East to enjoy some Erie Canal trail biking, somewhere between Rochester and Syracuse in mid-late September. First timers to area. We favor paved trails that will display some history, scenery, local cafes, charm. 15-25 mile days preferred. Where would you send us?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 08/30/2021 03:21 PM
Start at Pittsford and go east as far as you want.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 08/31/2021 10:38 AM
Agree with Bill in Houston, ride east on the eastern portion of the trial. Consider starting in Spencerport or in downtown Rochester, the trails around the confluence of the canal and the Genesee River near the U of R Campus are very pleasant and shaded. It you start in Pittsford you will miss this. Downtown Rochester is making an effort at redevelopment and has bike trails and historical information kiosks but it was still a work in progress in 2020. The Amtrak station in downtown Rochester is near the downtown hotels which can be a morning starting off point. If you are only doing 25 mile days and don't plan to camp it will be difficult to find lodging in the rural sections between Rochester and Syracuse, but there are B&Bs that have recently opened/reopened so make sure you check several resources for lodging. From Rome east most of the trail is paved and is in excellent condition with more historic sites and lodging options. If you want a shorter ride consider starting there. If you have an interest in architecture consider staying in Syracuse so that you can see the art deco NIMO building at night.
The Italian restaurants near the trail in Amsterdam don't look like much from the outside but they are very good, and while you are there don't miss walking over the unusual Gateway pedestrian bridge with sculptures by Dimitar Lukanov.

 
Jim from WAVERLY iowa, on 09/04/2021 06:14 PM
Thank you Bill and John. Just the type of localized info I was looking for. Keep pedaling.
Jim

 
pgk from Rome on 09/10/2021 06:35 AM
Syracuse To Utica is a nice area, that's the ground zero of the beginnings of the old Erie canal. Rome, NY The Erie canal village is in some but appears to be closed. Yet there is a covered shelter to get out of a storm if needed. As far as renting a bike, consider the miles and hours you will be seated on a bike. Your better off buying a quality used bike and having it fitted to your body and fitness. Youtube has several how-to's. Best Biking!

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Best bike tires
 - 
Pam from Iowa city on 09/06/2021 03:22 PM
Will my 700-38 size tires be ok on the trail?

 
Gerald from Kansas City MO on 09/06/2021 04:42 PM
Absolutely. I rode on my 700x35s in July just fine.

 
Pam from IOWA CITY on 09/07/2021 08:43 AM
Thanks

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prettiest section of Erie Canal bike trail
 - 
Wayne Westfall from Kansas City on 09/06/2021 02:13 PM
Wondering if anyone can recommend to me the prettiest section of the EC bike trail. Also are there any bike shops that will rent a suitable bike near this section.
Thanks. Wayne

 
Gerald from Kansas City MO on 09/06/2021 04:46 PM
Lots of pretty sections. I really enjoyed the Little Falls and Amsterdam sections and the Mohawk River section the most.

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Lock 20 State Campsite in Oriskany
 - 
John on 08/23/2021 03:29 PM
Stayed at Lock 20 8/21/21 doing a bike touring trip with our Scout Troop. We were told while planning this trip that water would be available at this location. This website also lists water as available. There is no potable water here. There is a faucet on the side of the lock house with a sign that says non-potable water, so plan ahead if you are going to stop here. We did find a convenience store around the corner that let us fill up our bottles.

Mosquitoes were horrendous, thousands of them biting through even Deep Woods Off. The only protection was to be covered from head to toe, even then they were biting through clothing.

Portable toilets were on the opposite side of the canal. You can cross the lower lock gate to get there.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 08/29/2021 08:24 AM
John sorry to hear that your night at Lock 20 did not go so well, and sorry that we had the wrong info here about water availability. I have updated the listing to reflect lack of water at Lock 20.

Hope the rest of your trip went better!

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Is there a mile marker "0" in Buffalo on erie canal trail from Albany ?? We are arriving tomorrow.
 - 
Steve O from The burgh on 08/26/2021 09:36 PM
Is there a mile marker "0" in Buffalo on erie canal trail from Albany ?? We are arriving tomorrow. Any help will be awesome !!!

 
Bop from Rochester on 08/27/2021 08:18 AM
I have read here there isn't.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 08/27/2021 02:24 PM
At Canalside, there is supposedly a blue and yellow cast metal sign showing the western extent of the canal. We didn't know to look for it, and we didn't see it, so we brought chalk to draw our own on the ground in the style of the GAP/C&O mile 0.

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