Cycling Day Trips

Hit the Trail!

Try these recommended rides to explore the Erie Canal and communities along its path. These trip are on the Canalway Trail, so you'll be cycling off road most of the way. Some sections of the trail are stone dust, others are paved. Hybrid tires are ideal.

Rides are listed west to east. Featured trip mileage is one-way; day trip mileage is round trip, so you can cut it in half and go one-way if you want a shorter trip.

Featured Trips


Buffalo to Rochester

Distance: 90 miles (one way)

This 90-mile stretch in western New York boasts some of the best cycling along the Erie Canal. Plan a long weekend, so you have time to poke around the many canal villages along this route, each with their own unique shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. The trail is off road and flat, so it's great for families, as well as experienced cyclists. You can easily break the route into a series of day trips.

Along the way, be sure to make time to stop in Lockport. Here, you'll find a staircase of five locks used in the 1800s alongside two towering locks that replaced them in 1918. Lockport's canal historic district includes the Erie Canal Discovery Center, with fun canal exhibits for kids, as well boat tours, paddling rentals, a cave tour, and a zip line over the canal for the adventurous. There are good dining options nearby, including an urban winery and premium local ice cream.


Pittsford to Lyons

Distance: 32 miles (one way)

Experienced cyclists can make this a day trip, but consider making it a two day excursion so that you have time to stop and explore all that the Erie Canal has to offer. Start at Schoen Place in Pittsford, a lively waterfront destination with numerous specialty shops and restaurants. Cycle east to Fairport, another popular summer spot for canal travelers. You'll find lots of choices for food, ice cream, coffee, and craft beer, as well as in Bushnell's Basin, which you'll pass about 3 miles east from Pittsford. If you want to sample both cycling and paddling, cycle to Fairport and rent a kayak there to get out on the water for an hour or two.

As you continue east, visit Historic Palmyra Museums and Historic Lock 60 in Macedon. Erie Shore Landing, operated by ARC of Wayne in Newark is a nice stop for baked goods, coffee, or lunch. Take a tour around Lyons to see the many murals that decorate the village.

Cycling Day Trips

Erie Canal: Buffalo to Rochester

Gateway Harbor Park, North TonawandaBuffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Amherst
22.4Explore the twin canal towns of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda and then cycle east on the Canalway Trail to the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village. The museum makes a good destination (and cycling break) before heading back.
Erie Canal Discovery Center, LockportVillage of Middleport23.8Cycle east to Middleport and relax in the picturesque canalside park before your return. There's a lot to see and do in Lockport, so plan to spend some time there at the start or end of your ride. Visit the Erie Canal Discovery Center and the historic Flight of Five locks within Lockport's canal historic district. There are good dining options nearby, including an urban winery and ice cream.
Brockport Canalfront Welcome Center, Brockport
Holley Canal Park, Holley11.2Head west from Brockport to the Holley Canal Park and the Village of Holley. Cross the Holley lift bridge to reach the park on the south side. Be sure to ride on the park trail to reach the small, but pretty waterfall within the park. Enjoy a picnic at the park or cycle into the village for a bite to eat before returning.
Spencerport Depot & Canal Museum, Spencerport

Village of Brockport16.8Enjoy the exhibits at the Spencerport Depot and Canal Museum and then cycle west to the charming Village of Brockport. You'll find unique shops and a variety of dining options to fuel your return ride.

Erie Canal: Rochester to Syracuse

Schoen Place, PittsfordVillage of Fairport Lift Bridge13.4Enjoy flat cycling between two lovely canal towns with lots of choices for food, ice cream, coffee, and craft beer on both ends, as well as in Bushnell's Basin, which you'll pass about 3 miles east from Pittsford.
Fairport Canalfront Promenade, FairportVillage of Palmyra36.8This makes a nice day trip with plenty to see along the way. Cycle east and make a pit stop at Lock 30 Canal Park in Macedon and walk the Butterfly Nature Trail. From there, follow signs and take a brief 1-mile detour at O'Neil Road to see the remains of Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 60 in Macedon. Then ride to Palmyra, passing the Palmyra Aqueduct and Aldrich Change Bridge at the Pal-Mac Aqueduct Park. Stop at the Historic Palmyra Museum on Fayette Street and grab a bite to eat or poke in shops on Main Street in Palmyra before returning.
Jordan Canal Park, Main St., Jordan
Camillus Erie Canal Park, Camillus20Both Jordan and Camillus grew up on the shores of the Erie Canal in the 1800s and you'll see a number of historic canal structures as you ride this route. Head east from Jordan along the Old Erie Canal. Your destination is the Camillus Erie Canal Park, where you'll see a watered section of the 1800s canal. Take time to view the exhibits in Sims Store Museum and then cycle another mile to reach Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct. Constructed in 1841, the aqueduct was restored by volunteers in 2009 and is the only working aqueduct on the Old Erie Canal.

Erie Canal: Syracuse to Little Falls

DeWitt Trailhead, DeWittGreen Lakes State Park, Fayetteville
12Cycle east alongside the Old Erie Canal to Green Lakes State Park (watch for the sign and bridge over the canal to get to the park at about 5 miles). Lock your bike at the park and head to the aquamarine glacial lake waters for a swim, kayak, or a hike around the lake. The park has a swimming beach and 10 miles of trails. Out and back ride.
DeWitt Trailhead, DeWittChittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, Chittenango 24Cycle though the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park from DeWitt to Chittenango, you'll be traveling the route of 1800s Erie Canal. The park gives a firsthand sense of the scale and character of the ditch that opened a continent. At Chittenango, cross the canal on the pedestrian bridge to explore the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, a former canal dry dock where boats were built and repaired from 1856 to 1917.
Canastota Canal Town Museum, Canastota
Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome48.8This is a big day of cycling, so if the round trip distance seems too far, make it one way. Begin by viewing the exhibits at the Canastota Canal Town Museum, which showcases inventions and impacts of the Erie Canal in this small town. Cycle east following the towpath trail through the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park. At about 14 miles, you'll reach Lock E21; continue on to Rome and Fort Stanwix. This 1777 frontier fort tells stories of the nations that fought for control of the Oneida Carrying Place, Mohawk Valley, homelands of the Six Nations Confederacy, and the rich resources of North America.

Erie Canal: Little Falls to Albany

Rotary Park Canal Harbor, Little FallsHerkimer Home State Historic Site, Little Falls
6Here's an easy ride with lots to do on both ends. Park at Rotary Park and head east to Lock 17, the largest lift lock on the Erie Canal. Explore the lock and Moss Island, then cycle east to the Herkimer Home State Historic Site. The 1764 Georgian-style mansion that was the home of Revolutionary War hero General Nicholas Herkimer. Note: this route includes a road crossing at Rte. 169; be cautious. At the end of your trip, head into Little Falls, where you'll find shops, ice cream, and dining options at Canal Place and on main street.
Lock 16, MindenvilleCanal Place, Little Falls18.6This trip is within easy reach for Capital Region residents and makes a nice day. Cycle west on the Canalway Trail, stopping to visit the Herkimer Home State Historic Site, home of Revolutionary War hero General Nicholas Herkimer. Cycle a few more miles to reach Lock 17; just beyond the lock, you'll cross the bridge over the Mohawk River/Erie Canal and visit Canal Place. Poke around the antique shops and Arts Center, enjoy ice cream or lunch before cycling back.
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian Bridge (south side), Amsterdam
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, Fort Hunter10Take in expansive views of the Mohawk River/Erie Canal on the Pedestrian Bridge and then cycle west on the Canalway Trail to Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site. Stop at the 3-mile point to see the Putman Lock Stand at Yankee Hill, a former canal store and 1800s lock. Two miles further down the trail takes you to the park visitor center with views of the Schoharie Aqueduct. Karen's Produce on NY 5S, just 1/2 mile west of the park, is a great place to get ice cream or homemade pie (or both) before heading back.
Lions Park, Niskayuna

Cohoes Falls, Cohoes15.8Cycle east along the Mohawk River. The trail is shady and paved and makes for nice cycling. When you reach Cohoes, turn left on Manor Avenue. You will be leaving the trail and riding on streets for the last 1/4 mile. Turn right on Mohawk Street to reach Cohoes Falls. Visit Falls View Park to see the spectacular 75-foot waterfall.
Corning Preserve, AlbanyWatervliet or Troy11.6 to 14.8Known locally as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Path, this stretch of paved trail along the Hudson River makes for a shady and pleasant ride. Cycle north to the Watervliet trailhead parking area. Consider extending your ride another few miles to downtown Troy, where you'll find shops and restaurants and a great Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. The final ride to Troy is on road, so be cautious.