Erie Canal Heritage Trail, Seneca Falls, Catherine Trail Bike route and some backroads along the Finger Lakes of New York. Text and data last updated: July 2011
Number of times we have biked here: Many, Many times
The Erie Canal Heritage Trail
between Lockport and Newark in Western New York runs for a distance of 160 km. The trail surface is crushed limestone and fairly smooth with some asphalt areas. This Trail segment is designated as a National Recreation Trail and has numerous access points, primarily where local roads intersect. Parking is available at many of the access points. Sign kiosks containing maps and historic information are located at many trailheads.
We have biked from Lockport to Newark just east of Rochester many times. For years New York State has put out brochures showing the trail continuing past Newark and past Lyon. Don't be fooled!! As of August 2010, there was no trail east of Newark -- that we (or local residents) could find!!
There are no locks between Lockport and Rochester and since the trail parallels the canal (very, very close!) the trail is definitely FLAT.
The section from Palmyra to Newark
is a bit rougher than the trail to the west and this section is also heavily forested, so that in summer it provides a cool ride. Trees and bushes beside the canal obscure views of the canal for most of this short ride. In 2010 a covered area was being constructed at Palmyra but at the time (August) there were no washrooms or water. At the Newark end of the trail there are washrooms at the Chamber of Commerce
at the bridge. The surface is mostly crushed limestone with some cinder and gravel sections
There are only a few mileage signs so you have to study the maps which are usually located near towns. There is also an absence of washrooms but towns are close enough and I guess they want you to use the town restaurants.
It is great to be pedaling alongside pleasure boats and sometimes talking with the people on board. The trail is on the north side of the canal so on one side most of the time you will see farmer’s fields or orchards.
Our trips have
always involved camping and unfortunately we have not been able to find any campsites near the trail. This is unfortunate especially for those wishing to bike and tent out. Once again, I guess they want you to stay in motels!
Between Lockport and Rochester
you will come across small towns and villages such as Gasport, Middleport, Medina, Albion, Holley, Brockport and Spencerport.
If not in a hurry, they are all worth a ride in to explore. Old Erie Canal State Park
Access from Green Lakes State Park
or in town of Dewitt
just east of Syracuse. This part of the canal is no longer used for recreational boating. Many areas have trees that fallen across or are heavily overgrown with weeds and algae.
Benches every kilometre or so. Road is mostly crushed limestone with some gravel and cinder. Trail width is usually around 6 or 7 feet but sometimes narrows down to a single track, just wide enough for one bike. Fairly scenic with clear open views of the canal and the occasional field on the other side. Finger Lakes
On our trips along the Erie Canal we always
dip down into the Finger Lakes and over the years have discovered some other great biking routes (some are on road) Our favourite ride is to do the inside “Y” of Keuka Lake
starting just south of Penn Yan at the state park.
We have always done this in the spring or the fall and encountered next to no traffic. Great views of the lake as well as many wineries. There is one long major hill and one steep but short hill.
There is an off road trail (rugged) that connects Keuka Lake with Seneca Lake
along the “Keuka Lake Outlet”
We don’t recommend this trail unless you are really into “mountain biking.” It is okay for hiking but not so great for biking.
Just south of Watkins Glen
is the “Catherine Valley Trail”
on an abandoned railway bed. It is about 6 km long and going south from Montour Falls
is pretty well all uphill (not too difficult.) It will eventually be 12 km in length and begin at Watkins Glen State Park.
We sometimes stay at Sampson State Park on the west shore of Seneca Lake
and the road
that parallels the lake is very scenic and flat. There are cottages on one side and farms on the other, with very little traffic (at least in September!) The roads between Seneca and Cayuga Lake
are also great for biking, being flat and passing by wineries.
The area surrounding Cayuga Lake State Park and Seneca Falls
is also another favourite. Seneca Falls is a small to explore and get something to eat.
The Finger Lakes region is relatively flat so almost any back road makes for easy biking with usually very nice scenery and if you avoid the summer, very little traffic.
Tot: 0.143s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 11; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0196s; 27; m:apollo w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 4;
; mem: 6.4mb