Monday, July 7, 2014

Erie Canal, Great Family Vacation Place

Erie Canal, Family Vacation, New York State
Update 2014

Four Hundred Mile Bike Trail
The Erie Canal offers one of the great family vacation places in the Northeast because it is not only a wealth of recreational opportunities but was once crucial to the building of the United States and therefore is full of history.

  • Family Biking
Find 400 miles of trails beside the canal which stretch between Niagara Falls and Albany New York.

  • Off-Road Bike Trails
Some of the bike and walking trails on the Erie Canal are paved trails built on the old service roads and rail beds beside the canal.  Trails run for 20  to 100 miles along the route of the canal, in all, 400 miles of trail.  Some trails are stone dust, others are paved, and others are gravel or a combination that runs along the canal and then loops through the downtown center of a canal-side village. 

  • On-Road Bike Lane
At times the trail runs on a wide path set aside along the highways that parallels the canal.  This network of bike and walking trails connects Albany, New York to Tonawanda near Buffalo, New York, a distance of 400 miles or so.

  • Erie Canalway Trail
Most of the bike and walking trails along the canal are part of the Erie Canalway Trail, an off-road trail that follows the Erie Canal for much of its length.  Other sections of trail are on a wide path along the paved highway, Route 31 in the west section of the Erie Canal and Routes 5s and 5 in the east section.

  • New York State Bicycle Route 5
These highway trails are part of New York State Bicycle Route 5, and as such they offer a wide bike path on one side of the highway.  The highway trails follow the Erie Canal for its length and offer hiking and biking

  • Western End of the Erie Canal
On the western section of the Erie Canal, towns like Fairport  offer rest for the bike rider and vacationer with a quaint village center, restaurants, and shopping.  There is much history in the old canal towns such as Palmyra, Lockport and Rochester.

  • Eastern End of the Canal
On the Eastern end of the Canal remnants of the 1825 Erie Canal, the first of three versions, offers historic sites and old towpaths where mules once pulled the boats.  The original canal on the eastern end was incorporated into the Mohawk River and the old canal bed was abandoned to become history parks while the mule haul roads became railroad lines that were later turned into bike trails. 

  • Safe Biking
The great feature of the Erie Canal Bikeway is that much of the trail system is off-road and therefore safe for family biking.  The trails are not entirely contiguous, however, but each section is long enough for a good day of biking.

Boats lock through the canal on the way between Lake Erie and the Hudson River

  • Attractions For Family Vacation
Another great feature of the Erie Canal area is the diversity of attractions.  Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame is within reach, Finger Lakes wine country, Canal History museums, and Rochester Eastman House Museum  (Kodak), and Niagara Falls among others.
  • 400 Mile Bike Ride
Take an extreme family vacation and join the 500 riders who make the annual 400-mile group trip each July to promote awareness of this resource.  This is a recreational ride, not a race.
Erie Canal Bike Trail, Summer 8-day Tour Buffalo to Albany  July
check the latest schedule  

2014 Dates, July 13 to July 20

Related Link, Erie Canal History

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