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Reply to Which stretch is a better ride? Buffalo to Syracuse or Syracuse to Albany

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Reply to Which stretch is a better ride? Buffalo to Syracuse or Syracuse to Albany
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Andre on 2/21/2021 3:56:03 PM:
Looking on doing part of this trail this summer and wanted to know if there was a leg of this trail that had better scenery, sites, etc Buffalo to Syracuse? Syracuse to Albany? Rode the GAP two years ago and that was amazing. Thanks in advance

wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 2/21/2021 5:13:49 PM:
Andre, To start off with, know that the Erie Canalway and the GAP are much different. The GAP is more rural (once outside of PGH) whereas the Erie travels through small towns and a few cities across the state. The GAP also offers designated on-trail camping. Camping on the Erie is rather unofficial; however, many bikers (like myself) are able to camp with/without permission in places along the trail, at locks or public and private campgrounds. For me, the answer to your question depends much on what kind of outing you enjoy. Bflo to SYR is mostly alongside the current Erie Barge Canal. Once out of Bflo you travel along a mixed surface bike path that is paved in and around towns and villages and hard packed cinder surface in-between. These smaller towns all have their own special charm and attraction, existing as true ports along the canal (both historically and today). You will travel through the city of Rochester on paved surfaces for many miles with easy access to the city's culture and amenities. Heading further east, you again travel along a mixed surface path, close to the canal and through more interesting villages. However, as you get closer to SYR you are distanced from the current canal and will start following the "historic" section of the canal, traveling through some quite interesting sections of re-built canal aqueducts and skirting outlaying townships heading into SYR. The Canalway becomes more paved as you come into SYR. The next section used to travel directly through the heart of SYR on city streets, but has recently been re-routed a bit north on a more biker-friendly route (although I believe this to be an designated urban bike lane). Heading east from SYR the Canalway takes on a much different feel. Again, you are following the historic section of the canal out of SYR and up to Rome. In this section many miles are cinder path through wooded areas with the remnants of the unmaintained old canal alongside. Several of the smaller towns are located a little distance away, but a few smaller towns such as Canastota are right on the pathway. The Canalway heads up north and re-connects with the current Canalway at Lock 21 (west of the City of Rome) and continues directly into Rome where you follow the trail through city streets. So now let's just talk about the trail from here to ALB... from Rome to Utica the trail changes surface from gravel to paved with occasional routing onto streets. Once you get to Ilion, for the most part the Canalway is following the Mohawk River. To me, the feel of the trail changes because you are now traveling through villages and townships that existed much before the building of the canal because of the river. Not better or worse, just different and maybe not as quaint as the western end. The pathway from here into ALB is paved nearly all the way - some sections better than others depending on the age and maintenance of the trail surface. There are some lovely sections along the trail and many different opportunities in the towns along the way. Often times the trail does set you apart from the canal or river so access to Locks might be a short distance away. Meanwhile, the scenery changes and ultimately becomes more urban as you approach the cities of Schenectady and Rotterdam and into Albany itself. Even with the change to a more urban environment, the trail is delightful and ever changing as you travel from community to community. Hope this helps you understand the adventure ahead. I think it’s important to understand how different the Erie Canalway is from the GAP. I love them both… but in different ways.

Bktourer1 from Da Bronx (living in Mass) on 2/21/2021 6:33:47 PM:
I might suggest you get the new Canal Guide to give a good idea of what you can expect. FYI Syracuse to Albany is a little over 30 miles and you can do this in a day. Buffalo to Syracuse will take a few days depending on your ride style ad what you might like to see along the way

wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 2/21/2021 6:51:36 PM:
@Bktourer1 You are not giving the right information here! Syracuse to Albany is a 150+ miles. Possibly you were mixed up thinking Schenectady to Albany -- that's closer to 30!

Bktourer1 from Da Bronx (living in Mass) on 2/22/2021 8:21:59 AM:
I made a big BOO BOO yesterday when I commented on distance, Sorry for the mistake, though getting the guide would be a help to you

wnybubba from Bflo/ROC on 2/22/2021 2:05:46 PM:
@Bktourer1 I tried to be as kind as I could in my post. I knew you were not intentionally giving out bad info, but wanted to make sure the error was recognized. I will agree with you that the PTNY Guide is of some use in planning. However, as I have previously mentioned on this forum, depending on the type of travel one is attempting (camping, B&B, motels, etc.) there is plenty of information available on the internet including Google Maps that are quite valuable in planning.