Chenango Canal Towpath Trail In New York

Here is everything you need to know about the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New York
  • Length: 6 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Chenango Canal Towpath Trail holds a significant place in the history of New York State. Constructed in the mid-19th century, the canal was a vital transportation route that connected the Chenango River to the Erie Canal. The idea for the canal emerged in the early 1830s as a means to facilitate trade and transportation between the Southern Tier and the rest of the state.

Construction of the Chenango Canal began in 1834 and was completed in 1837. The canal stretched for approximately 97 miles, running from Binghamton to Utica. It featured 116 locks, allowing boats to navigate the varying elevations along the route. The canal played a crucial role in the economic development of the region, enabling the transportation of goods such as lumber, coal, and agricultural products.

The Chenango Canal Towpath Trail, as it is known today, follows the path of the original canal. It offers visitors a glimpse into the past, allowing them to walk or bike along the historic route. The trail showcases remnants of the canal’s infrastructure, including lock sites, aqueducts, and canal bed remnants. These remnants serve as a reminder of the canal’s importance in the region’s history and its impact on the local communities.

Despite its initial success, the Chenango Canal faced challenges in the form of competition from railroads and the decline of the canal system as a whole. By the late 19th century, the canal had fallen into disuse and was eventually abandoned. However, the legacy of the Chenango Canal lives on through the Towpath Trail, which provides a unique opportunity for visitors to explore and appreciate the historical significance of this once-thriving transportation route.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Chenango Canal State Historic Site – This is the starting point of the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail. It is located in Bouckville, New York.

2. Oriskany Creek Aqueduct – This access point is located near the village of Oriskany Falls, providing a scenic spot to start or join the trail.

3. Hamilton – The town of Hamilton offers multiple access points to the trail, including the Hamilton Village Green and the Hamilton Public Library.

4. Earlville – This small village has an access point near the intersection of Canal Street and North Main Street.

5. Sherburne – Sherburne offers several access points, including one near the Sherburne Public Library and another near the Sherburne-Earlville Central School.

6. Norwich – The city of Norwich has multiple access points along the trail, including one near the Norwich City Hall and another near the Norwich High School.

7. Oxford – Oxford provides access to the trail near the Oxford Memorial Library and the Oxford Academy and Central School.

8. Greene – Greene offers an access point near the Greene Central School and another near the Chenango Valley State Park.

9. Binghamton – The trail ends in Binghamton, where there are access points near the Confluence Park and the Binghamton University Downtown Center.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail. There may be additional access points or smaller trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Chenango Valley State Park: Offers parking facilities and access to the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail.
2. Broome County Transit: Public bus service with routes near the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail.
3. Uber: Ride-hailing service available in the area for convenient transportation.
4. Lyft: Another ride-hailing service option for getting around near the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail.
5. Taxi Services: Various local taxi companies provide transportation services in the vicinity of the trail.
6. Car Rental Agencies: Several car rental companies offer vehicles for rent in the area, providing flexibility for transportation needs.
7. Biking: Rent or bring your own bicycle to explore the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail and its surroundings.
8. Walking: The trail is easily accessible by foot, allowing for a leisurely stroll or hike along the canal.


The amenities available at the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail may vary depending on the specific section or location along the trail. However, some common amenities that can be found along the trail include:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the trail may have restroom facilities available for public use. These restrooms may be located at trailheads, parks, or other designated areas.

2. Parking: Parking areas or lots may be available at various access points along the trail. These parking areas allow visitors to park their vehicles and access the trail easily.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may offer designated camping sites for overnight stays. These camping sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: Along the trail, there may be designated picnic areas where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles.

5. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there may be interpretive signs or panels that provide information about the history, ecology, or points of interest along the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail.

6. Benches and Seating: Benches or seating areas may be available at various points along the trail, providing visitors with a place to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

7. Water Fountains or Hydration Stations: Some sections of the trail may have water fountains or hydration stations where visitors can refill their water bottles.

8. Bike Racks: Bike racks may be available at trailheads or other designated areas, allowing cyclists to securely park their bikes while exploring the trail.

It is recommended to check with local authorities or trail management organizations for specific amenities available at different sections of the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Norwich – A nearby lodging option offering comfortable rooms and amenities.
2. The Silo Restaurant – A food service establishment serving delicious meals and snacks.
3. Chenango Memorial Hospital – An emergency service facility providing medical assistance.
4. Super 8 by Wyndham Norwich – Another nearby lodging option with affordable rates and basic amenities.
5. Nina’s Pizzeria – A food service establishment specializing in mouthwatering pizzas and Italian dishes.
6. Norwich Fire Department – An emergency service provider for fire-related incidents and emergencies.
7. Howard Johnson by Wyndham Norwich – A lodging option offering comfortable rooms and a convenient location.
8. McDonald’s – A popular fast-food chain serving burgers, fries, and other quick meals.
9. Norwich Police Department – An emergency service provider for law enforcement and public safety.
10. Subway – A food service establishment offering a variety of sandwiches and salads.

Chenango Canal Towpath Trail Difficulty Notes

The Chenango Canal Towpath Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers and bikers. The trail spans approximately 6.5 miles and is mostly flat, making it suitable for all skill levels. However, there are some sections with slight inclines and uneven terrain, which may pose a challenge for beginners or those with mobility issues. Additionally, the trail can become muddy and slippery after rainfall, requiring extra caution. Overall, the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail provides a pleasant and manageable outdoor experience for individuals seeking a moderate level of physical activity.

Features And Attractions

1. Chenango Canal Museum: Located in Bouckville, the museum offers exhibits and artifacts related to the history of the Chenango Canal and its impact on the region.

2. Chenango Canal State Historic Site: This site in Bouckville features remnants of the original canal, including locks, aqueducts, and towpath trails. Visitors can explore the historic structures and learn about the canal’s significance.

3. Oriskany Creek Aqueduct: Located near Oriskany Falls, this aqueduct was built to carry the Chenango Canal over the Oriskany Creek. It offers a picturesque view and a glimpse into the engineering marvels of the canal era.

4. Hamilton Village Historic District: The village of Hamilton is home to several historic buildings and sites, including the Colgate University campus. Strolling through the village provides a charming glimpse into the past.

5. Eatonville Gorge: This natural landmark is located near Eaton, offering stunning views of a deep gorge carved by the Chenango River. Hiking trails along the gorge provide opportunities for outdoor exploration.

6. Bouckville Dam: Located in Bouckville, this dam was constructed to maintain water levels in the Chenango Canal. It offers a scenic view and is a popular spot for fishing and picnicking.

7. Chenango Valley State Park: Situated near Chenango Forks, this state park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. The park’s trails provide access to scenic views and natural beauty.

8. Chenango Canal Towpath Trail: The trail itself offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside, passing through forests, fields, and along the Chenango River. It provides an opportunity to experience the historic canal route firsthand.

9. Oxford Memorial Park: Located in Oxford, this park features a section of the Chenango Canal towpath trail. It offers a peaceful setting for walking, picnicking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.

10. Guilford Lake State Forest: Situated near Guilford, this state forest offers hiking trails and scenic views of Guilford Lake. It provides an opportunity to explore the natural landscapes that the Chenango Canal once traversed.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail. Exploring the trail and its surroundings will reveal many more hidden gems and points of interest.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
3. Respect wildlife and do not disturb or feed them.
4. Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but must yield to pedestrians.
5. Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
6. Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
7. Fires and open flames are prohibited.
8. Hunting or trapping is not permitted on the trail.
9. Fishing is allowed in designated areas only and requires a valid fishing license.
10. Swimming or wading in the canal is not allowed.
11. Respect private property adjacent to the trail and do not trespass.
12. Do not litter and use designated trash receptacles.
13. Stay on the designated trail and do not venture off into restricted areas.
14. Be mindful of seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
15. Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trail entrances or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Chenango Canal Towpath Trail is a historic and scenic trail located in central New York. Stretching for approximately 6.5 miles, the trail follows the path of the former Chenango Canal, which was once a vital transportation route in the 19th century. When planning a visit to the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your experience.

One of the best times to visit the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as flowers bloom and trees regain their foliage. The weather is usually mild, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the trail. Fall is equally beautiful, with the changing leaves creating a picturesque backdrop. The crisp air and cooler temperatures make it an ideal time for outdoor activities.

It is worth noting that the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail is open year-round, but there may be some seasonal closures or restrictions to be aware of. During the winter months, the trail may be covered in snow or ice, making it less accessible for hiking or biking. Additionally, some sections of the trail may be closed for maintenance or repairs during certain times of the year. It is always a good idea to check with local authorities or the trail’s official website for any updates or closures before planning your visit.

Overall, the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail offers a unique and historical experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you visit during the vibrant spring or the colorful fall, you are sure to be captivated by the natural beauty and rich history that this trail has to offer. Just be sure to plan your visit accordingly, considering the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your plans.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces are available near the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: The trail features smooth, paved surfaces suitable for wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
3. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are located along the trail, ensuring convenience for all visitors.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches provide resting spots for individuals with limited mobility.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to accommodate wheelchair users, allowing everyone to enjoy outdoor dining.
6. Accessible Fishing Spots: Designated fishing areas are accessible to wheelchair users, providing opportunities for inclusive recreational activities.
7. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Platforms: Elevated platforms along the trail offer scenic views and are designed to accommodate individuals with mobility aids.
8. Accessible Interpretive Signs: Informational signs along the trail are designed with accessibility in mind, featuring large fonts and Braille translations.
9. Assistance Animals Allowed: Service animals are welcome on the trail, providing support to individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Trailhead Facilities: The trailhead area includes accessible facilities such as ramps, handrails, and curb cuts to ensure easy entry and exit for all visitors.

Safety Information

1. Stay on the designated trail: Stick to the marked path to avoid getting lost or straying into unsafe areas.
2. Be aware of wildlife: Keep an eye out for animals and respect their space by not approaching or feeding them.
3. Use insect repellent: Protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes by applying insect repellent before starting your hike.
4. Carry enough water: Bring an adequate supply of water to stay hydrated throughout your journey.
5. Wear appropriate footwear: Use sturdy and comfortable shoes to prevent slips, trips, and falls on uneven terrain.
6. Sun protection: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
7. Check weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast to prepare for any potential storms or extreme temperatures.
8. Share your plans: Inform someone about your hiking plans, including your expected route and estimated return time.
9. Stay alert and aware: Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious of any potential hazards or suspicious activities.
10. Carry a first aid kit: Be prepared for minor injuries by carrying a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids and antiseptic wipes.
11. Respect private property: Stay on public land and respect any signs indicating private property boundaries.
12. Practice Leave No Trace principles: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it to preserve the natural environment.
13. Hike with a buddy: Whenever possible, hike with a companion for added safety and support.
14. Be cautious near water: Exercise caution when near the canal or any bodies of water, especially if you are not a strong swimmer.
15. Follow trail rules and regulations: Observe any posted rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all trail users.

Conservation Notes

The Chenango Canal Towpath Trail, located in central New York, holds a conservation status that reflects the efforts made to preserve its natural and historical features. As a designated National Recreation Trail, the conservation status of the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail is of utmost importance to ensure the protection and sustainability of its unique ecosystem.

Conservation efforts focus on maintaining the trail’s natural habitats, including wetlands, forests, and meadows, which provide essential habitats for a diverse range of plant and animal species. The trail’s conservation status ensures that these habitats are protected from encroachment and degradation, allowing for the preservation of the area’s biodiversity. Additionally, the conservation status helps to prevent the introduction of invasive species that could disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail also encompasses the preservation of its historical significance. The trail follows the path of the former Chenango Canal, which played a vital role in the region’s transportation and economic development during the 19th century. Efforts are made to protect and restore the remnants of the canal, including locks, aqueducts, and other structures, to provide visitors with a glimpse into the area’s rich history. By maintaining the conservation status of the trail, these historical features are safeguarded for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail ensures the protection of its natural habitats and historical features. By preserving the trail’s unique ecosystem and historical significance, efforts are made to maintain the area’s biodiversity and provide educational opportunities for visitors. The conservation status plays a crucial role in safeguarding the trail’s ecological and historical integrity, allowing for its continued enjoyment and appreciation by both present and future generations.

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