Old Erie Canal State Park Trail In New York

Here is everything you need to know about the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New York
  • Length: 35 miles.
  • Type: Multi-use
  • Surface: paved
  • Managed By: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/23/details.aspx

The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail holds a significant place in the history of New York State. The canal itself, known as the Erie Canal, was a groundbreaking engineering marvel that connected the Hudson River to Lake Erie. Construction of the canal began in 1817 and was completed in 1825, spanning a distance of 363 miles. The canal played a crucial role in the economic development of the region, transforming New York into a major trade hub and opening up the western frontier for settlement.

The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail follows the path of the original Erie Canal, offering visitors a glimpse into the past. The canal was initially designed as a transportation route for goods and people, utilizing a system of locks to navigate the varying elevations along its route. The trail showcases remnants of these locks, as well as other historical structures such as aqueducts and canal bridges.

During its heyday, the Erie Canal was bustling with activity, with boats carrying goods and passengers from one end to the other. However, with the advent of railroads and later highways, the canal gradually fell into disuse. In the early 20th century, the canal was abandoned and replaced by the larger and more modern New York State Barge Canal. The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail was established in the 1960s, preserving a portion of the original canal and providing a recreational space for visitors to explore and learn about this important chapter in American history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. DeWitt Trailhead – Located in DeWitt, New York, this trailhead provides access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. It offers parking facilities and restrooms.

2. Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum – Situated in Chittenango, New York, this access point allows visitors to explore the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. The museum offers exhibits and educational programs related to the canal’s history.

3. Canastota Canal Town Museum – Located in Canastota, New York, this access point provides access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. The museum showcases artifacts and displays related to the canal’s history.

4. Rome Canalway Trailhead – Situated in Rome, New York, this trailhead offers access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. It features parking facilities and restrooms for visitors.

5. Camillus Erie Canal Park – Located in Camillus, New York, this access point allows visitors to explore the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. The park offers picnic areas, a playground, and interpretive displays about the canal’s history.

6. Jordan Aqueduct Park – Situated in Jordan, New York, this access point provides access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. It features a restored aqueduct and offers scenic views of the canal.

7. Baldwinsville Canal Park – Located in Baldwinsville, New York, this access point allows visitors to access the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. The park offers picnic areas, a boat launch, and fishing opportunities.

8. Seneca River Crossing Park – Situated in Baldwinsville, New York, this access point provides access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. It features a pedestrian bridge over the Seneca River and offers scenic views of the canal.

9. Three Rivers Heritage Trailhead – Located in Syracuse, New York, this trailhead offers access to the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. It provides parking facilities and connects to other trails in the area.

10. Green Lakes State Park – Situated in Fayetteville, New York, this access point allows visitors to access the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. The state park offers camping, swimming, and hiking opportunities.

These are just a few of the major access points or trailheads along the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail. There may be additional access points or smaller trailheads along the trail as well.

Transportation Available

1. Uber – On-demand ridesharing service.
2. Lyft – Ride-hailing service available in the area.
3. Taxi – Traditional taxi service for local transportation.
4. Bus – Local bus service for public transportation.
5. Bike Rental – Rental service for bicycles to explore the trail.
6. Car Rental – Rental service for cars to travel around the area.
7. Train Station – Nearby train station for regional transportation.
8. Airport – Local airport for air travel options.
9. Walking – Convenient option for short distances within the vicinity.
10. Private Shuttle – Shuttle service for group transportation needs.


The amenities available at the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail may vary depending on the specific section or location of the trail. However, some common amenities found along the trail include:

1. Restrooms: There are usually restroom facilities available at various points along the trail, such as trailheads or visitor centers.

2. Parking: Parking areas are typically provided at trailheads or designated parking lots along the trail for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Some sections of the trail may offer designated camping areas or nearby campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park RVs for overnight stays.

4. Picnic Areas: There are often designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes grills where visitors can enjoy outdoor meals or snacks.

5. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may find interpretive signs or informational panels that provide historical, cultural, or natural information about the area.

6. Benches and Seating: Benches or seating areas are often placed along the trail, providing visitors with spots to rest, relax, or enjoy the surrounding scenery.

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

8. Bike Racks: Bike racks are typically available at trailheads or other key points along the trail, allowing cyclists to securely park their bikes.

9. Trail Maps and Information: Informational kiosks or boards may be present at trailheads, providing visitors with trail maps, brochures, or other relevant information.

10. Accessibility Features: Depending on the section, the trail may have accessibility features such as wheelchair-accessible paths, ramps, or facilities.

It is recommended to check with the specific section or location of the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail for the most accurate and up-to-date information on available amenities.

Nearby Services

1. Hotel Syracuse – A historic hotel offering comfortable lodging in downtown Syracuse.
2. Hampton Inn & Suites Syracuse Erie Blvd/I-690 – Modern hotel with complimentary breakfast and an indoor pool.
3. Red Roof Inn Syracuse – Budget-friendly accommodation with basic amenities near the trail.
4. Canal Side Inn – Charming bed and breakfast located in Little Falls, offering a cozy stay.
5. The Brewster Inn – Elegant lakeside inn with a restaurant and bar, perfect for a relaxing retreat.
6. Erie Canal Village – A living history museum with period buildings, exhibits, and events.
7. Nice N Easy Grocery Shoppe – Convenient convenience store offering snacks, drinks, and basic supplies.
8. Canal View Cafe – Quaint eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a view of the canal.
9. Canal Side Inn Restaurant – Fine dining establishment offering a variety of delicious dishes.
10. Little Falls Family YMCA – Local YMCA providing fitness facilities and programs.
11. Little Falls Hospital – Medical facility offering emergency services and healthcare.
12. Syracuse VA Medical Center – Comprehensive medical center providing specialized care for veterans.
13. New York State Police – Law enforcement agency ensuring safety and security in the area.
14. Syracuse Fire Department – Emergency services department responsible for fire and rescue operations.
15. Little Falls Police Department – Local police department serving the community and maintaining law and order.

Old Erie Canal State Park Trail Difficulty Notes

The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. The trail spans approximately 36 miles, providing a diverse and scenic experience for hikers, bikers, and runners. While the terrain is generally flat and well-maintained, there are occasional inclines and uneven surfaces that may pose a challenge for some. Additionally, the length of the trail requires a certain level of endurance and stamina. However, the trail is accessible to individuals of various fitness levels, making it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced adventurers seeking a rewarding outdoor experience.

Features And Attractions

1. Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum: This museum showcases the history of the Erie Canal and offers boat rides along the canal.

2. Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site: This site commemorates the Battle of Oriskany, a significant event during the American Revolution.

3. Rome Historical Society: Located in Rome, this society preserves and exhibits the history of the Erie Canal and the city’s role in its construction.

4. Verona Beach State Park: This park offers beautiful views of Oneida Lake and has picnic areas, swimming beaches, and hiking trails.

5. Canastota Canal Town Museum: This museum provides insights into the history of the Erie Canal and the town of Canastota.

6. Chittenango Falls State Park: This park features a stunning 167-foot waterfall and offers hiking trails with scenic views.

7. Fort Stanwix National Monument: Located in Rome, this reconstructed fort played a crucial role during the American Revolution and offers guided tours.

8. Old Erie Canal Lock 21: This preserved lock showcases the engineering marvels of the Erie Canal and offers a glimpse into its operation.

9. Green Lakes State Park: This park features two glacial lakes with crystal-clear water, surrounded by hiking trails and picnic areas.

10. Erie Canal Village: Located in Rome, this living history museum recreates a 19th-century canal town and offers boat rides along the canal.

11. Camillus Erie Canal Park: This park features a restored canal aqueduct, walking trails, and a museum showcasing the history of the Erie Canal.

12. Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge: Situated along the canal, this refuge is a haven for migratory birds and offers wildlife viewing opportunities.

13. Seneca River Crossing: This historic bridge crosses the Seneca River and offers scenic views of the surrounding area.

14. Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises: Located in Lockport, this attraction offers boat tours through the famous Erie Canal locks.

15. Erie Canal Museum: Situated in Syracuse, this museum provides a comprehensive overview of the Erie Canal’s history and impact on the region.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail, but must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– Camping is not allowed along the trail.
– Fires and open flames are prohibited.
– Hunting and fishing are allowed in designated areas only, following state regulations.
– Swimming is not permitted in the canal.
– Alcohol consumption is prohibited, except in designated areas.
– Littering is strictly prohibited.
– Respect wildlife and do not disturb their habitats.
– Stay on designated trails and do not trespass onto private property.
– Observe seasonal restrictions, such as closures during winter months or specific hours of operation.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at specific sections of the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail is a historic and scenic trail located in upstate New York, following the path of the original Erie Canal. This 36-mile long trail offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and natural beauty of the region. When planning a visit to the Old Erie Canal State Park 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 Old Erie Canal State Park Trail is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the trail comes alive with vibrant colors as wildflowers bloom and trees regain their lush foliage. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll along the canal. Fall is equally stunning, as the foliage transforms into a breathtaking display of reds, oranges, and yellows. The cooler temperatures and crisp air create a pleasant atmosphere for outdoor activities.

It is worth noting that the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail is open year-round, but certain sections may have seasonal closures. During the winter months, some parts of the trail may be inaccessible due to snow and ice. However, other sections may still be open for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, providing a unique winter experience. It is advisable to check with the park authorities or visit their website for the most up-to-date information on trail conditions and closures.

Overall, the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail offers a delightful experience throughout the year. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying the outdoors, this trail has something to offer. From the vibrant colors of spring and fall to the peaceful winter landscapes, each season brings its own charm to this historic trail. So, plan your visit accordingly and be sure to check for any seasonal closures to make the most of your time exploring the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trail entrance for easy access.
2. Paved Pathways: Smooth and level paved surfaces throughout the trail for wheelchair users.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Restroom facilities equipped with accessible features such as grab bars and wider doorways.
4. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas with accessible tables and seating options.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Viewing Areas: Designated areas along the trail with ramps or platforms for wheelchair users to enjoy scenic views.
6. Accessible Trailhead: An accessible entrance to the trail with ramps or level pathways.
7. Accessible Informational Signage: Signage along the trail with braille or large print options for visually impaired individuals.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Water fountains at regular intervals along the trail with accessible height and controls.
9. Accessible Fishing Spots: Designated fishing areas with accessible features such as lowered platforms or ramps.
10. Accessible Interpretive Exhibits: Exhibits along the trail with accessible features like tactile elements or audio descriptions for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Stay on designated trails: Stick to the marked paths to avoid getting lost or wandering into unsafe areas.
2. Use caution on uneven surfaces: Watch your step and be mindful of potential tripping hazards along the trail.
3. Be aware of wildlife: Keep a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding or approaching them.
4. Carry and drink plenty of water: Stay hydrated during your hike, especially on hot days.
5. Wear appropriate footwear: Choose sturdy, comfortable shoes or boots to protect your feet and ankles.
6. Use sunscreen and wear a hat: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially during sunny days.
7. Check weather conditions: Be aware of any potential storms or extreme weather conditions before heading out.
8. Share the trail: Be courteous to other hikers, bikers, or runners by yielding and giving them enough space to pass.
9. Carry a map or trail guide: Familiarize yourself with the trail route and have a backup navigation tool in case of emergencies.
10. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings and be cautious of any potential hazards or suspicious activities.
11. Inform someone of your plans: Let a friend or family member know about your hiking plans, including your expected return time.
12. Pack essential supplies: Bring a first aid kit, snacks, insect repellent, and any other necessary items for a safe and enjoyable hike.
13. Respect park rules and regulations: Follow all posted signs and guidelines to ensure the safety and preservation of the park.
14. Be prepared for emergencies: Carry a cell phone, whistle, or other signaling devices in case you need to call for help.
15. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and leave the trail as you found it, respecting the natural environment and wildlife.

Conservation Notes

The Old Erie Canal State Park Trail, located in New York, holds a conservation status that reflects the efforts made to preserve and protect its natural resources. As a designated state park, the trail benefits from conservation measures aimed at maintaining its ecological integrity and promoting sustainable use. The park management focuses on preserving the unique habitats and wildlife found along the trail, ensuring their long-term survival.

Conservation efforts within the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail encompass various aspects, including the protection of native plant species and the restoration of degraded areas. The park authorities actively work to control invasive species that can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem. By implementing strategies such as invasive species removal and habitat restoration, the park aims to maintain the biodiversity and ecological health of the trail.

Additionally, the conservation status of the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail involves the promotion of responsible recreational activities. The park management emphasizes the importance of minimizing human impact on the environment. Visitors are encouraged to follow designated trails, refrain from littering, and respect wildlife habitats. These measures help to ensure that the trail remains a sustainable and enjoyable destination for both nature enthusiasts and local communities.

Overall, the conservation status of the Old Erie Canal State Park Trail reflects a commitment to preserving its natural resources, protecting native species, and promoting responsible recreational use. Through ongoing conservation efforts, the trail continues to provide a valuable habitat for wildlife and a scenic outdoor experience for visitors, while maintaining its ecological integrity for future generations to enjoy.

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