Complete your 1st Mile with the Canalway Challenge. Walk, cycle, paddle, or use a wheelchair. People of all abilities are welcome to participate. Sign up with as an individual, or with a team or organization. Click the SIGN UP tab above to get started.
You can also get rolling with Virtual Miles, developed in partnership with SUNY Upstate's Golisano Center for Special Needs in Syracuse. Choose from 15 Peloton-style videos filmed on the Erie Canalway Trail in Onondaga County. Complete your 1st Mile or achieve 15!
"One mile turns into two, turns into 90 and, before you know it, turns into a more healthy and active life."
-- John Robinson, Our Ability, Inc.
The 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail closely parallels both active and historic sections of the Erie Canal. You'll see unique canal structures like locks and lift bridges, as well as all types of boats, and you'll discover canal communities and historic sites that are intriguing and fun destinations.
About the Trail
The Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail is accessible for all types of activities, including walking, using a wheelchair, and cycling. The trail is accessible to people with mobility challenges and meets Americans with Disabilities (ADA) standards. Off-road Empire State Trail sections are 10-12 feet wide with a paved asphalt or stonedust surface. Stonedust is compacted, finely-ground material that provides a stable trail surface. Stonedust is not as smooth and therefore not as fast for tires as asphalt, but bikes with wide tires, recumbents and hand cycles all work fine.
|Access CNY, TRAID Center
|Serves a six county region: Onondaga, Madison, Cayuga, Tompkins, Cortland, and Oswego counties
|Adaptive trikes available for free loan; inquire about transportation options
|Green Lakes State Park
|Adaptive paddling on Green Lake
|Erie Canal Boat Company
|Fairport, Lockport, and Medina
|Standard and adaptive cycling and paddling equipment rental for use on the Erie Canal and Erie Canalway Trail
We are proud to partner with Rochester Accessible Adventures and the Erie Canal Boat Company in Fairport and Lockport. They are providing great experiences and opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy recreating on the Erie Canal.
1st Mile Events in 2023
Check out the latest guidebook from the Fitness Inclusion Network to find out how you can promote and grow inclusive recreation opportunities along the Erie Canalway Trail.
“Cycling is for everyone — if they have the right equipment. Many people – young and old, with and without disabilities – are unable to use a two-wheeled bike. Adaptive cycles make it possible for everyone to enjoy cycling, regardless of age, size, or ability.”
–Adaptive Cycling Along the Erie Canalway: TRAID on the Trails.
The Canalway Challenge is funded in part by a grant from Market NY through I LOVE NY / New York State's Division of Tourism, as part of the State's Regional Economic Development Council awards.
® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.