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Old Erie Canal State Park Canalway Bike Trail

New York Rail Trails
Central Region, NY

Historic, Family Friendly Biking
Trail Description

Location: Between DeWitt and Rome in Central New York. Madison, Oneida, Onandaga Counties.

Directions: Exit 3 (Rt.5/92 west) off I-481 near Syracuse. Take first right and drive north onto Butternut Dr. After @ 1 mile, trailhead is on right.

Parking areas with foot-bridge access to the Trail are located at Poolsbrook and Cedar Bay picnic areas within the park.

Trail Length: 36 miles

Trail Surface: Stone dust and crushed stone with some on-road sections.

Trail Difficulty: Easy

Multi-Use Trail: Mountain biking, cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling walking, horseback riding

Caution: Caution at road crossings.



Old Erie canal State Park Trail Map

Note: This trail map is a graphical representation designed for general reference purposes only. Read Full Disclaimer.

Trail Description:

Experience mountain biking on the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail in Central New York for an historic cycling adventure and glimpse into the history of this important New York State waterway. The Old Erie Canal State Historic Park is a linear park which follows a restored 36-mile segment of the 19th century Erie Canal. It is part of the New York State Canalway Trail System and a designated National Recreational Trail.

For an ideal family cycling adventure, mountain bike along this restored segment of the canal's waterway and towpath trail which begins in DeWitt, just 8 miles from downtown Syracuse, and ends in Rome, the site where construction began on the canal in 1817.

The scenery and quaint towns along the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail look pretty much as they did over 75 years ago. The route travels on a hard-packed stone dust and gravel surface for most of the route for a scenic ride through woodlands, wetlands and the beautiful rolling hill country of Central New York. There are two short on road sections (a 2 mile stretch between Durhamville and Route 31 and a 1 mile stretch along Lock Road near New London).

Interpretive signage, living outdoor museums and footbridges along the bike path provide a glimpse into the history of the Erie Canal. Several picnic areas with restrooms and parking including Poolsbrook at Kirkville and Cedar Bay at DeWitt are easily accessed from the trail via intersecting roads and footbridges.

Nearby, 21 mile long Lake Oneida, considered the "thumb" of the Great Lakes, is a remnant of a lake carved by glaciers long ago and serves as one of the links in the Erie Canal. This popular tourist attraction, located a few miles north of the Old Erie Canal State Park trail offers lake swimming, white sand beaches, camp sites and lakeside resorts.


Trail Highlights:

Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum
Learn of the construction and repair of canal boats and the social history of the canal era.

7010 Lakeport Rd, Chittenango, NY

Erie Canal Village
An outdoor living history museum featuring a recreated 19th century canal village located on the Erie canal where construction began in 1817. Buildings include a tavern built in the 1850's where you can stop in for refreshments, a blacksmith's shop, canal store, one-room schoolhouse, 1800's settlers house and more. Enjoy 40 minute boat cruise on a Mule drawn Packet Boat along a section of the canal for a taste of early 19th century water travel.

5789 New London Road, Rome, NY

Fort Stanwix National Monument
A restored fort where local battles shaped the outcome of the American Revolution and the first historic area added to the National Park Service in 1935. The Fort Stanwix National Monument is accessible by bicycle by way of the trail.

100 S James Street, Rome, NY

Green Lakes State Park
700-acre park featuring aquamarine 200 foot deep glacially carved lakes that lie at the base of a gorge just over a mile long, swimming beach, old growth forest, camping and trails offering spectacular vistas of the lakes.

Fayetteville, NY


For more scenic train excursions or Erie Canal boat cruises:

Special Feature: Bikes, Barges & Trains


Historical Note:

Part of the New York State Canal System, The Erie Canal was opened in 1825 and became the most successful waterway in North America. Connecting the Hudson River at Albany with Lake Erie at Buffalo the canal was the first all-water link between the Atlantic Seaboard and the Great Lakes. Experience cycling this segment of the old canal which is rich in history and passes historic villages, rural farmland, old locks and abandoned aqueducts. Near its end is the Erie Canal Village restoration.  


For More Information:

For other long distance multi-use rail trails in this region see New York Rail Trails


A free detailed map of the New York State Canalway Trail System is available. To obtain a copy, or to learn more about the Canalway Trail contact:

New York State Canal Corporation
P.O. Box 189
Albany, NY 12201-0189.

Phone: (800)-4CANAL4
Website: New York State Canal Corporation



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