Erie Canal Bike Trail

After our annual summer trip to northern NY, we spent a few days in Rochester NY visiting family. Since we had our bikes with us, we decided to do a ride along the Erie Canal.  This trail system is part of the very large 750-mile Empire State Trail. This is a trail system that goes from NYC north to Albany, and then from there to the Canadian border. It hugs Lake Champlain part of the way.

Perpendicular to the north-south section, is an east-west section going from Buffalo to Albany and follows the Erie Canal.

The entire system is either on pavement or crushed gravel.  Some sections are along high traffic roadways, but the section we took from Spencerport NY to Fairport NY was a protected trail and very easy for cyclists of all skill levels.  You can also walk the route we took.

Some people do the entire trail over days, and you can find camping close to the trail or other overnight accommodations if you don’t want to rough it. Some of the towns along the canal have great restaurants and watering holes, so doing the entire thing would be quite a trip.

On my bucket list to do the Buffalo-Albany leg!

Our route – 15-mile round trip in 90 minutes. The trail was an easy ride, but the edge of the trail drops quickly into the canal. Caution is needed when other cyclists or hikers are on the trail with you. While we didn’t top anywhere, there were plenty of places to stop for breaks or to get something to eat and drink along the way. This would be an awesome ride in the early fall.
There are bridges spanning the Erie Canal that will raise up when a boat is coming through! We watched then raise this bridge.
  • Parking: Spaces vary at parking lots at trailheads. Spencerport trailhead had about 12 spaces.
  • Trails: Easy but take caution with drop off into canal.
  • Solitude factor: Moderate to low. Activity along the bike path is high, and the bike trail can get crowded.

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