The Canal System Today

Nearly 200 years old and still going strong.

New York's canal system has been in continuous operation since 1825, longer than any other constructed transportation system on the North American continent.

Over the years, it has been enlarged three times to accommodate larger boats and more traffic. Today, pleasure boats, kayaks and canoes, and commercial vessels share the waterway. The NYS Canal System includes:

  • Erie Canal, which connects the Hudson River with Lake Erie, 338 miles to the west;
  • Champlain Canal, which connects the tidal portion of the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, 63 miles to the north;
  • Oswego Canal, which follows the Oswego River from the Erie Canal 23 miles north to Lake Ontario;
  • Cayuga-Seneca Canal, which connects the Erie Canal to 92 miles of canalized rivers and lakes, including the Seneca River and Cayuga and Seneca Lakes.

The NYS Canal System links the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River, allowing boaters to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

Go Through a Lock

It takes about 15 minutes to go through a lock, but you can experience it here in one minute.