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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Erie Canal Bike Trail.
 
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Overnight parking
 - 
Kevin from Morristown, NJ on 05/30/2022 05:23 PM
Just starting to plan a trip. My thought is to drive from NJ, park, ride west to east for 3-5 days. and then take Amtrac back. I don't feel compelled to start in Buffalo.

Where would be safe spots to park overnight for 3-5 nights? I don't think I have to park at the Amtrak stations, unless they are the best choices.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 05/31/2022 12:14 PM
Consider parking at SUNY Brockport, there are unused parking lots in the summer where your car will go unnoticed. The ride east to Albany will fit your time frame. You'll have to ride from the Rochester Amtrak west back to Brockport. If you don't want to ride west at the end of your trip consider parking at the University of Rochester campus right on the trail.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 06/02/2022 11:16 PM
Kevin, I've written this before (and executed such many times) if you very kindly ask a motel to leave your car in their lot, they will gladly say yes. Ask for a favor, explain what you're up to and be willing to do so under their wishes (i.e. Park on the side lot, etc.) There are a couple motels right south on E. Henrietta Road from the REI in Rochester. I've left my vehicle at one more than once (with permission).

A couple years ago I suggested to someone to look into the Monroe Community Hospital (across from REI). Word came back that it worked out very well -- so there's that option.

The ride from the train station is easy and trailed. A few days ago I posted elsewhere in this forum directions from the RR Station to the Canalway which would be right near REI.

So, other than Rochester -- ditto the thoughts for any Amtrak Station along the way. I do think Rochester is a good place to start/finish. Let me know if you need any more help.

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COVID
 - 
Nina from Portland, OR (born and raised in Buffalo) on 06/01/2022 04:58 PM
Has anyone had COVID before doing the Buffalo to Albany section of the ride? I'm registered for the 8-day organized ride in July and I tested positive for COVID 2 days ago. In fact, I got sick 2 days after getting my 2nd booster shot! I feel like I'm getting over a nasty head cold. Not too sick but it did knock me down for the first 3 days. I feel a lot better but I'm only 5 days in. I'm an avid cyclist. I was riding 90 minutes on my exercise bike every day and walking for an hour during my lunch break. Everything I'm reading is telling me that returning back to exercise should be slow and gradual. My fear is that my training will be like having to start over and I won't be up for the distance. Anyone else been in this situation?

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 06/02/2022 10:36 PM
So you're an avid bicyclist. My thoughts? You've already been training and it won't take much to get you into "okay" shape after Covid -- especially if you had a mild case. It takes a while to regain full stamina, but with a month ahead you should be fine. But mostly... this is not a grueling ride. It is quite an easy excursion where you just have to put in the daily miles. There's lots of daylight so you don't have to beat yourself up and the changing scenery (and others with you) break up any boring moments. So... don't sweat it. Train the best you can and just enjoy the peddling and the scenery!

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Red Roof Inn Weedsport in Weedsport
 - 
Bryan W on 06/02/2022 02:29 PM
Clean, convenient, well situated. There is a super nice couple who run this place are definitely trying to class it up. My room was way nicer than I expected for a RRI.

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Buffalo to Rochester and back on Amtrak
 - 
MRN Travels from Brecksville on 06/02/2022 01:38 PM
My wife and I are planning on driving from Cleveland to Buffalo on a Thursday evening (maybe 7/14), spending the night close to the Exchange Street Amtrak station, and on Friday morning riding the Erie Canalway Trail to Medina. We will spend the night there, maybe at Hart House Hotel.

On Saturday we are planning on riding the trail to Rochester, catching the 5:24PM Empire Service back to Buffalo with our bikes onboard.

I have read differing things about the trail from the Exchange Street Station in Buffalo to around Lockport. If we leave our car close to the train station in Buffalo, will we be riding on the trail or on roads for a number of miles?

We probably could ride all the way from Buffalo to Rochester in one day, but my wife would prefer this trip to be more leisurely.

I'd appreciate anyone's comments on our plans.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!!!

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Further appeal for information- Amtrak Station in Rochester
 - 
Joseph Pafundi from Saratoga NY on 05/25/2022 11:23 AM
Dear friends,

I am now set to travel fron Schenectady-Rochester on May 31. I have consulted GOOGLE Maps about where to pick upthe Genesee Valley Trail near the Amtrak Station. Does anyone have any advice about the best way to connect to the trail once I have left Amtrak? Many thanks! Joseph Pafundi

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/25/2022 12:00 PM
Hi Joseph. Not sure how you are using Google maps, but if you use Genesee Riverway Trail as first destination (from the Amtrak Station) and Pittsford, NY as a second destination and select Bike Mode -- you will find a good bike route -- assuming that the Canalway is your goal.

Whenever I've thought I was off route while riding, I use Google Maps (in Bike Mode) and select some further town as the destination. If you're off route, it will put you back onto the Canalway promptly (or show you options).

Good luck with your ride!

 
Joseph Pafundi from Saratoga NY on 05/25/2022 01:48 PM
Bubba,

Great advice! Many thanks for your help! I am headed west to Brockport/Holley (my favorite section of the ride in the Rochester area). I was using my home PC since I don't have a sofisticated bike computer. Your help has made a big difference! Thanks again!

Joseph

 
John K from Vermont on 05/27/2022 08:51 AM
Hello again Joseph! I made the same ride in 2019, taking Amtrak from Schenectady to Rochester and then riding back to Saratoga. Google Maps bicycle will take you right through downtown Rochester on city streets, which is not the best. From the Amtrak station you can ride a few blocks to the High Falls Terrace to check out the falls, then walk your bike across the Pont De Rennes Bridge to check out the Brown's Race Canal Heritage site on the other side of the falls and then continue on the Genesee Riverway Trail on that side of the river. There are several interesting information kiosks along the way. When I was there in 2019 the trail on that side of the Genessee was under construction but it looks complete on Google Earth now. The rest of the the ride through Rochester is shaded and very pleasant. I would recommend crossing back to the the north/east side at Ford Street and riding around the U. Rochester campus. The other side has a paved trail but it is not as interesting and has a lot of tree root humps. Take a note of the the four way intersection of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal waterway, which is a unique portion of the Erie canal with some mildly hair raising currents where the waterways meet. We have taken our boat through here on a canal trip from Oswego back to Rexford.

 
Joseph Pafundi from Saratoga NY on 05/28/2022 04:09 AM
John,

your information has been quite helpful. Many thanks and I will strongly consider your suggestion about le Pont de Rennes.

Take care and safe travels! Joseph

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overnight parking in lockport
 - 
grs on 05/25/2022 12:40 PM
i want to start my ride in lockport, by the locks. want to park my car for about 4 days. where would be a safe place to park. i was thinking if there is no parking for the trail, maybe walmart or something. thanks for any help.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/25/2022 01:28 PM
I've *never* been turned down by a hotel/motel when asking very politely and explaining my plan to parking my car for a few day in their lot. Plenty of options along S. Transit Road -- Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Quality Inn, etc. And, I've done it both ways -- calling in advance and just walking in. Big thing is to use the phrase "I was wondering if you could HELP ME out" and possibly using the words " a favor". Good luck.

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Favorite sections of the Erie Canal Bike Path
 - 
SS from Bozeman, MNT on 05/24/2022 02:39 PM
I have about 3 days to do various sections of the trail while car camping or hoteling. Any recommendations on which areas of the trail we should be sure to bike.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/25/2022 12:38 PM
That's a tough question because we don't know what is of interest to you or where you will be based. However, here's a quick overview.

Buffalo to Lockport (or reverse) is great. You travel along the Niagara River, see downtown Buffalo and the very active Canalside Park in Bflo. From the river to Lockport is paved and certainly the Locks in Lockport (Flight of Five) are worth seeing

Lockport to Rochester is more rural with stretches of nice compacted gravel and you travel through smaller towns along the Canal. Sights like Medina Falls, Middleport, Spencerport and Brockport provide a really nice feel for the ECT's western section. Rochester offers many options off trail.

Rochester going east is again a combination of paved and compacted gravel. You'll pass several locks and smaller townships. However, I wouldn't suggest going further than Clyde as the road section into Port Byron/Weedsport is crappy.

Weedsport into Syracuse is quite interesting. Again a mix of nicely maintained trail surfaces. Going through Jordan, Memphis is quite nice with a delightful refurbished Aqueduct before Camillus. From there, heading into Syracuse is a newly developed section of trail that will take you through a lovely City park and onto several downtown street (separate bike lane).

East of SYR, the trail passes the Canal Boat Museum and Green Lakes SP. The gravel trail now follows the "historic" canalway. Interesting from the standpoint of it is where the original Canal traveled, but frankly overgrown and swampy with Canastota a slight point of interest.

Now -- Rome and eastward. Sections of the trail here are great. You now are following the Mohawk River. Towns & cities along this section are not "Canal" towns like in the western section. Trail surfaces are mixed until around Mohawk where it is paved through to Albany. Advise here is to stay away from the cites (Rome, Utica, etc) and pick any section between them. Fort Plain to Amsterdam is a nice part that travels through Schoharie Crossing SP. As you approach Schenectady the canalway is much more urban traveling through or around suburban areas. It's a fun section that culminates with arriving in Albany -- a fine place to spend some time.

This post should serve others fairly well -- hope others see it.

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Trail open?
 - 
Level lover from Herkimer, ny on 05/24/2022 03:57 PM
Is the trail open from little falls east to st johnsville?

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Amtrak Rules concerning bikes
 - 
Joseph Pafundi from Saratoga NY on 05/12/2022 09:02 AM
Good morning! In order to change pace and avoid driving to Rochester area, I would like to take the train from Schenectady. I realize that I will need a reservation. However, will I have to pack my bike in a box or are there racks upon which one can hang one's bike? Any adive would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Joseph Pafundi

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/22/2022 04:54 PM
No need to box the bike if you can get an available reservation with "rack" on a given train. A rack may be within a passenger car or it may be a separate baggage car. Either way -- just racking the bike.

 
Joseph Pafundi from Saratoga Springs on 05/24/2022 03:13 AM
Many thanks for the help! I hope to go to Rochester the week of the 30th. Just need to reserve spot on the train!

Joseph Pafundi

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Old Duck Inn Bed and Breakfast in Clyde
 - 
kevin from Saratoga Springs on 05/14/2022 02:55 PM
No website, called the number...not in service

 
Ray (webmaster) on 05/22/2022 09:04 PM
Thank you for the heads-up; I have removed this business from the listings. Google and TripAdvisor still have them listed as open, but the out-of-service phone number is enough to convince me, until/unless I hear otherwise.

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Camping
 - 
Sonny Brar from Brampton, Ontario on 05/03/2022 10:06 PM
Hello everyone.

I'm planning to cycle Buffalo to Albany this summer, was wondering if camping is allowed along the canal route? Could get too expensive to stay in a hotel every night. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It's gonna be a great summer, happy trails guys.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 05/04/2022 03:16 PM
The Towns and Services link shows where campgrounds are. I don't think you can just camp wherever you want along the trail.

 
Biker Girl from Web on 05/09/2022 01:21 PM
Camping is only allowed at locks or at official campgrounds, and it can be pretty far between locks. After Lockport, you can camp at Red Rocks Campground (primarily for RVs, but they have tent spots), and then at Macedon at lock 30. Reservations in advance are required for Green Lakes campground, then you can use locks 21, 20 and/or 15.

Be aware that not all of the locks have water or restrooms. When I did the route heading west last spring, we changed plans twice to avoid locks without services.

Doing it with all camping makes for some long days, but that might not be an issue for you.

Have fun and good luck!

 
Bop from Rochester on 05/10/2022 08:35 AM
I've seen signs of stealth camping, in my neck of the woods.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/22/2022 05:13 PM
There are all kinds of options along the Canalway for camping. Any Lock should be available -- especially if you are solo. The nice part of the Canalway is that you are almost always close to services along the path -- so needing facilities was never an issue on my trips. The western section lends itself to optional "stealth" camping in that there are longer remote stretches away from "civilization", but with planning it is not necessary. The eastern section (past Rome) hits more towns and cities away from the canal - but there are plenty of options -- Locks being a standard, but you may have to make your way to them as you are not always right at the river/Canal system. Everyone has a different pace - so you'll have too figure out how many miles you will cover in a day and then start searching for options. If you need help - let me know.

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Lock 30 State Campsite in Macedon
 - 
Anonymous from Fairport on 05/12/2022 11:20 PM
How do I reserve a lock 30 camp site and how much is it per night

 
Biker Girl from Web on 05/21/2022 04:15 PM
Lock camping is first-come-first serve and free. You're supposed to call the lock master, but I didn't on my trip. There's lots of space there, but try to get in before dark so you can avoid the goose poop.

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 05/22/2022 04:48 PM
This is correct, but there is also a Town Campground next to the Lock. If you were referring to the actual campground, contact the town and find out how reservations are handled.

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Amtrak Station in Albany
 - 
MIR from Cambridge, MA on 05/13/2022 04:18 PM
We are driving to Albany and have bike reservations to bring our bikes to Buffalo. The question is - Is there long term parking for our car near the Amtrak Station? We will be back in about 10 days.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 05/15/2022 04:39 PM
The Albany train station is actually in Rensselaer across the Hudson River from Albany. The long term parking is an outdoor lot but is safe and contiguous with the station. The price is reasonable. If you want to save a few bucks and ~20 minutes of train time you can drive on to Schenectady, the next stop on the way to Buffalo, where the recently renovated station has free parking in a new lot. Other than a small Amtrak office and a bathroom and vending machines the Schenectady station has no amenities.

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Tree foliage on trail
 - 
JFS from Mount Vernon, Iowa on 05/09/2022 05:09 PM
Planning to ride Erie Canal trail later in May. Value the shade. Are trees along the towpath leafed out yet?

 
Bop from Rochester on 05/10/2022 08:15 AM
The canal path is along the north side of the canal, between Buffalo and Palmyra. No shade to speak of. Can't speak for the remainder.

 
JFS from Mount Vernon, Iowa on 05/10/2022 08:27 AM
Thank you

 
JFS from Mount Vernon, Iowa on 05/10/2022 08:28 AM
Thank you

 
JFS from Mount Vernon, Iowa on 05/10/2022 08:28 AM
Thank you

 
JFS from Mount Vernon, Iowa on 05/10/2022 08:29 AM
Thank you

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 05/10/2022 10:20 AM
There isn't much shade on the western part of the trail because the huge cottonwoods and other mature trees were taken down to protect the canal walls from roots. There are new plantings farther from the canal but it will be years before they provide meaningful shade. Riding on a hot sunny day without relief can turn into a slog. Plan on leaving early in the morning on those days before the towpath gets hot.

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Syracuse
 - 
Estelle from North of Seattle on 04/24/2022 02:56 AM
I am using Syracuse as my starting point...any Syracuse advice out there?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/25/2022 09:29 AM
Definitely see the Erie Canal Museum.

Have a look at the Niagara Mohawk Building. It's like something out of a superhero movie.

Syracuse potatoes are a tradition.

We stayed at the Jefferson Clinton, and it was good. Nice laundry facility. If your AC quits working in the middle of the night, call the front desk and they can remotely reset it.

Check out the fountain that commemorates where the canal used to come through town.

Study the trail maps.

 
Yankee John from Vermont on 04/26/2022 01:20 PM
Also stayed at the Jefferson Clinton and would recommend it. They let me store my bike in a conference room out of the weather. The Niagara Mohawk building should be seen during the day, and at night with lights highlighting the creepy aluminum sculptures. It does seem like it should be in a sci-fi movie. The ped/bike bridge over the tracks on the west entrance to town should be done sometime this summer, which will make the trip out of town shorter and safer and less complicated.

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Favorite sections with lodging? 3-5 days/60-100 miles
 - 
LegsDiamond from Kingston on 04/25/2022 02:41 PM
Hi folks! Casual/weekend riders looking to learn about your favorite sections of the canalway where we can bike 20-30 miles a day between nice lodgings with great food. :) Three to five days of biking would be perfect. Thanks so much in advance!

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/25/2022 03:57 PM
5 days, 100 miles, I'd do something like Lockport to Newark.

That stretch would be mostly along the canal, going through great little old canal towns. Nice canalside parks, operating lift bridges, old locks, the big stone cut. Plenty of good local places to eat.

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Where to begin in Buffalo coming via Amtrak
 - 
Brian from Hawley PA (Pocono’s) on 04/03/2022 10:03 AM
We are looking at attempting part of the trail. We will take Amtrak to buffalo exchange. From there how hard is it to get to the bike trail? How safe if a ride is it? Riding with my 13 year old. Neither of us have done long distance biking before. How’s the weather/bugs in late June early July. We are going to have about 5 days to ride. Any other recommendations or advice will be greatly appreciated.

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 04/05/2022 12:09 PM
Getting from Exchange to Canalside is easy, just use google maps and switch it to bicycle travel. It’s about a 5 minute ride, less than half a mile. Of traffic is a bother, you can always use the sidewalks.

Weather should be typical NE USA summer. There are parts of the canal that are swampy and will have lots of mosquitoes if you stop but they are no problem if you are riding (other than swallowing the odd one!). Otherwise you are passing through a lot of farm country.

Do you have a daily distance goal since you stated you haven’t done long distance riding before? Is this and out and back trip or terminating in another town? How do you plan on getting back to Buffalo? Are you staying at hotels/B&B’s or camping which means your are hauling gear? Some of these things will help people on this forum give some good advice.

The one piece of advice I would give you is to get out there and get some miles in before you do this trip. Even though the trail is flat, there’s still a lot of miles to cover. Do 10 miles one day, 20 on another. Take your time and enjoy it but knock out some miles and gradually build up. Do a 20 out and 20 back one day as you get close to your departure day.

Let us know what your plans are…

John

 
JD from Colchester, CT on 04/23/2022 04:34 PM
This might be a really dumb question, but where is mile O of the Erie Canal Trail in Buffalo? I keep reading various locations. Is it Canalside in Buffalo, or is that a connecting trail? Thanks for not laughing at me when you answer!

 
wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 04/23/2022 04:55 PM
Pretty much Canalside. I believe there is now a kiosk there but it is for the Empire State Trail -- and EST mile 0 is NYC! This is an honor system challenge (if you are making this a challenge), so find a place that looks good and start peddling!

 
John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 04/23/2022 11:06 PM
If I recall, the Canal is supposed to start over the water on the bridge at the Commercial Slip which is 42.8773245, -78.8793415 in Google Maps. Good to hear there is a medallion now, I was hoping they would acknowledge that a trail exists there. How do you not have a start and end point?

I hope the EST didn’t mess up the order of the mile numbers. They have a clean slate to number them whatever they want during this rebrand of the trail.

John

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/25/2022 09:39 AM
Here is the medallion. They are definitely keeping it on the down low.
https://goo.gl/maps/LL2RhVq8UGYDahro9

Google Maps has it marked as a place, too.
https://goo.gl/maps/6ZnrbCaQvcjyHKb39

Go down to the end of Canalside to The Dish and order whatever you want. With all those miles, you deserve it! And get a Big Ditch Hayburner. Brewery named for the canal, brew named for the mules that towed the barges.
https://untappd.com/b/big-ditch-brewing-company-hayburner/754872



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New trip planning feature: Timeline
 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 04/24/2022 05:49 PM
The Trip Planner tool now has a new "Timeline" feature. You can provide your starting time and travel speed, to get a listing of the expected times of arrival at each town along your route, as well as travel times between towns.

Your timeline appears in a new table underneath the business listings. You can check it out by clicking the link above, or "Trip Planner" in the menu near the top of this web page.

I welcome any suggestions and feedback.

Happy trails!

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/25/2022 09:23 AM
Cool idea, Ray. I hope people will plan to ride it nice and slow. :)

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Garden View B&B in Medina
 - 
biker on 04/24/2022 08:47 PM
Are we able to rent a room in which we have our own bathroom?

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/25/2022 09:21 AM
You'll need to get in touch with Pat Fox directly at the numbers listed for her. I don't think that she frequents this group.

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Erie Cana trail
 - 
Sis on 04/03/2022 06:26 PM
Looking for hotel options near the exchange street Amtrak station and the Erie Canal trailhead at mile 0. Thanks Sis

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/04/2022 10:14 AM
Buffalo Grand was fine. Close to Canalside, room was older, but clean. No issues taking our bikes to our room. Inexpensive.

 
JD on 04/07/2022 10:33 AM
I am looking for the same thing. The Buffalo Grand has been sold. It is now the Ramada and undergoing a renovation, but they can't guarantee when they will be open (maybe June, but they said not to count on it). And the hotels around the start of the trail in Buffalo are $350+. If anyone has any other ideas, I would welcome them.

 
Bill in Houston from Houston on 04/07/2022 12:06 PM
Buffalo Marriott right at Canalside is showing $199. That's still pretty steep.

 
Steve from DC on 04/08/2022 01:20 PM
We'd like a copy of itinerary too. Thanks
Soccersteve47@gmail.com

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Trip Planning - Champlain Valley Route Question
 - 
Scott from Baltimore on 04/04/2022 12:04 PM
I rode the canal trail from Albany to Buffalo last summer and am planning a trip for this year. I am going to start in NYC and ride to Albany, but thinking about riding the Champlain Valley Trail North to the Canadian boarder, then turning left and riding Route 11 with stops in Malone, Canton, Watertown and then Syracuse to Buffalo. I would like to hear from anyone who has taken that Northern route regarding traffic, lodging, and whether it is worth six days of riding on roads.

 
John K from Vermont on 04/05/2022 11:55 AM
Scott:

I have ridden much of the local roads and Champlain Canal Trail from Albany north to Whitehall, and drive all of those roads regularly. The State of NY has made tremendous improvements to the trail in the last 3 years, some of which were not completed until last summer. This should be a great ride other than the section of shared road riding on route 4 north of Fort Ann which has lots of truck traffic but also a nice wide shoulder. It is very hilly from Whitehall north to Plattsburg, but then is rolling and beautiful when you enter the Saint Lawrence River Valley.

I've driven route 11 from Vermont to Watertown, then down to Syracuse or Rochester quite a bit in the past while working at Fort Drum. Much of the roads don't have a great shoulder, and there is some truck traffic, but in general it is a pleasant rural route with not much traffic, large commercial dairy farms, and smaller Amish and Mennonite farms. TRoute 3 from Sacketts Harbor south to the Three Rivers area will be a nice ride, and then you'll have to figure a route via local roads to the trail west of Syracuse.

The Marina Inn in Sackets is a gem of a place, right on the water with beautiful sunsets. As many have posted on this site the lodging west of Syracuse is limited, the highway motels in Weedsport are clean, convenient, and inexpensive.


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