Registration for Parks & Trails NY’s Cycle the Erie Canal 2021 opens today, April 1, at noon. The traditional eight-day, 400-mile biking adventure is returning for a 23rd year in 2021. Riders will leave Buffalo July 11 and reach Albany on July 18.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of riders, volunteers, staff, vendors, and local community members is at the forefront of planning. With this in mind, the PTNY coordinators have made the following changes:
The tour is limited to 350 participants and volunteers. Be sure to register early to reserve your spot!
All registrations will be for the full eight-day option.
Non-rider drivers will not be allowed to accompany the tour this year.
To keep everyone safe and meet state and local COVID-19 regulations, registration fees have increased this year.
To register, visit ptny.org/ctec2021. Registration opens today, Thursday, April 1, at noon.
The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands.
The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States. Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now more than 85 percent complete and the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.
Designed as a camping trip, accommodations are provided with showers, toilet facilities, some with pools or lakes for swimming; eight breakfasts and six dinners; two daily refreshment stops along the route; evening entertainment including music and historical presentations; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums and other attractions including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument and a boat tour through the Lockport locks; kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration; Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt; baggage transport; SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support; daily maps and cue sheets; painted and arrowed routes; pre-departure info packet including training trips. Other amenities available (at additional fee) include fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up (for those who don’t want to pitch their own tent).
The price up until June 7 is $1200/adult, $650 youth (6-17); $290 child (5 and under); shuttle is $100.
The PTNY coordinators are following the guidance from New York State, and will be prepared to follow all regulations in place in July. Registrants will be notifiedof any updates or changes. Visit New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory to stay abreast of restrictions that might impact your travel plans.
This is huge for New York State’s tourism and recreational
opportunities: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s is proposing a $300 million plan
to reimagine the Erie Canal by creating recreational activities on the Canal to
boost tourism and recreational
fishing, mitigate flooding, enhance irrigation and restore wetlands.
“When the Erie Canal was created in the
19th century it set the state and the nation on a path to
prosperity, and this year we will repurpose the canal to fit our state’s
21st century needs,” Governor
Cuomo said. “This bold and visionary plan to transform
this historic waterway will build on the success of the Empire State Trail (750
miles of connected bikeways), grow tourism across Upstate New York,
improve resilience of today’s Canal communities and ensure the
economic sustainability of the waterway into the future.”
“The canals have played a crucial role in New York’s history and
growth, and with the implementation of these new exciting projects, the canals
will remain a vital force and make a positive contribution to the economic
well-being and quality of life in the 225 communities they travel through,”
said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.
A first phase of funding starting this year – through the New
York Power Authority Board which oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary
– includes a $100 million economic development fund to invest
in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment
in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the
The remaining $135 million of the plan’s funding will subsequently be allocated
to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well
as to solutionsrelated to flood mitigation,
invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.
New Economic Development Fund for Canal Communities
In the first phase of the program, a $100 million economic
development fund will support projects that adaptively reuse canal
infrastructure to enhance water recreation, tie the Canal’s new
recreational improvements to the Governor’s Empire State Trail,
celebrate historic canal structures, and develop unique canalside
attractions and activities. Roughly $25 million of that will be allocated
immediately to a set of initial projects:
Connecting Communities: The “Brockport Loop” project in Monroe County will
connect SUNY College at Brockport to the Empire State
Trailand the village of Brockport through
the transformation of a canal guard-gate into a
pedestrian bridge and overlook, with a supporting grant of $2 million
from the Ralph Wilson Foundation.
Celebrating “Iconic Infrastructure”:Interactive, hydro-powered illumination of Canal “movable
dams” – initially in
Amsterdam and Canajoharie in the
Mohawk River valley – will celebrate the Canal’s
heritage and its history as an engineering marvel.
Expanding Water Recreation: A new whitewater destination, at the north end of Cayuga Lake near Seneca
Falls, will rely on existing water control infrastructure to construct an
active water sports course adjacent to the Montezuma National
Wildlife Refuge, to increase eco-tourism and sport visitors to the region.
Adapting Industrial Property for New
Uses: Winner of the Reimagine the Canals competition,
a canalside pocket neighborhood, will be developed by Madison
County in Central New York at a former industrial
property in Canastota along the Old Erie Canal –
demonstrating a new model for 21st century canalside living.
Developing Destination Accommodations: The
historic Guy Park Manor, on the Mohawk River in
Amsterdam, will be reborn as a hospitality destination and a
pedestrian bridge constructed
across the already-existing Canal lock will provide
access to additional overnight accommodation along the Empire
State Trail on the opposite side of the river.
World-Class Fishing and Restored Wetlands
To create world-class fishing in Western New York, the new
plan recommends managing water releases from the Canal to enhance fish
habitat, improve angling opportunities, and extend the fall fishing season in
Lake Ontario tributaries. It also includes funding to expand public
fishing access along key streams in Orleans, Monroe and Niagara
Counties. In addition, it identifies a program to divert Canal water to restore and
re-nourish wetlands in Central New York that were compromised a
century ago by the Canal’s construction. This will allow areas in
close proximity to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a migratory
stopover for more than 1 million birds each
year, to be significantly enhanced to further
attract naturalists, locals, and visitors from throughout the region and
Ideas in this plan originated from the Reimagine the
Canals Task Force recommendations, launched by
Governor Cuomo in May of 2019 to pursue a
comprehensive investigation of how the 195-year-old Erie Canal
could be reimagined for the 21st century. The Reimagine
the Canals Task Force Report was just released.
The Task Force engaged with municipal leaders, stakeholders, local
business owners, scientists and other experts, along with community
members, to identify opportunities and solutions that support a
new vision for future investments in the waterway. Many of the ideas that the
Task Force explored came from the completed Reimagine the Canals competition, held
last year by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal
Corporation. SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government, on behalf of
the Task Force, conducted a series of outreach sessions during the summer
in five canal communities – Lockport, Brockport, Schenectady, Utica and
Syracuse – to solicit new ideas from the public at large. Ideas were also
solicited on a Reimagine the Canals website, offering more
distant canal users an opportunity to provide their views to the Task Force.
The “Reimagine” initiative builds on successful
efforts by Governor Cuomo to invest in the canal corridor, including
the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and successful Taste NY program, which have stoked new industries,
businesses and housing in canal communities. Harnessing the Canal’s full
potential to attract more tourism and recreation is a key focus of the
Initiative. Governor Cuomo and state agency and authority staff
will collaborate with Empire Line communities and continue to consult with
Task Force members and other stakeholders to ensure the success
of projects as they move forward.
There are 1.6 million trips taken annually on the Erie Canal Trailway,
the former towpath used by mules and horses to pull barges in the canals’ early
days. The Trailway is part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail,
which at 750 miles will be the largest state multi-use trail network when
completed in late 2020. Governor DeWitt Clinton began work on the original
Erie Canal on July 4, 1817.
In addition to investing $300 million in the Canal System, there are
also plans to create two new state parks in the
Hudson Valley, add 4,000 acres of land to parks and introduce a $3 billion
“Restore Mother Nature” bond act.
Meanwhile, registration has opened for the
22nd Annual Cycle the Erie, eight-day 400-mile, fully supported biking/camping
trip, from Buffalo to Albany, operated by Parks & Trails NY, taking place
July 12-19, 2020. For information on
Cycle the Erie Canal, call Parks & Trails New York, 518-434-1583, email email@example.com or visit www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal.
One of the best bike tours on the planet is in our own backyard: the annual Parks & Trails NY Cycle the Erie Canal ride, eight-days, 400-miles and 400 years of history, from Buffalo to Albany, a fully supported biking and camping trip (you can even hire Comfy Campers to set up your tent).
ride raises money and awareness for advocacy for new trail development and this
year’s ride will highlight new trails that take the riders off the roadway – this
year, cyclists will ride a new stretch west of Lockport in the town of
Pendleton and a gorgeous new trail between Amsterdam and Pattersonville (so you
no longer bike on the highway). Some 550
riders are expected this year, its 21st
annual Cycle the Erie ride, taking place , July 7-14; Parks & Trails NY is
still accepting registrations ($925/adult, 6-17 $545, 5-and under $280,
organization’s key focus now is to build upon the state’s plan for 750-miles of
off-road recreational trails – the 360-mile long Erie Canalway, plus Empire
State Trail, north-south mixed-use, off-road trail system that will fully
connect New York City to Canada.
plans are already in place for the Empire State Trail to be completed by the
end of 2020. In 2019, PTNY launched Trails Across New York Campaign, to build
off the momentum of the Empire State Trail’s planned completion in 2020 and
support ways to turn the statewide trail system into a true network, connecting
local trails with the main spine of the Empire State Trail, including Long
Island, “and cementing New York’s position as the nation’s leader in multi-use
is currently pending in the NYS Assembly (A. 5035B) (S.4416B has already passed
the NYS Senate) would create a statewide multi-use trails plan. This important
bill would direct the state to come up with a blueprint for future trails
development, helping to turn our local trails across the state into a unified network
of trails with major spines and connecting routes, ensuring all parts of the
state have access to quality outdoor active recreation on trails.
Senate version has already passed; the Assembly version is in Ways & Means,
which directs the State Parks department to strategize and prioritize filling
in the trail gaps. Though it was considered possible for the Assembly to pass
its version by the June 19th close of session, if it languishes to
the next session, progress will not be lost. Parks & Trails was urging
people to contact their state legislator to ask them to cosponsor the
legislation and to make sure that the legislation is brought up for a vote
before the legislature adjourns for the year.
Across New York envisions a future in which all New Yorkers will be located
only minutes from a trail and ideally will be able to access that trail easily
and safely by walking or bicycling. Throughout the state, trails, bicycle
boulevards, and Complete Streets will be acknowledged as essential and
mainstream elements of community infrastructure, much as utility lines and
sidewalks are thought of today.”
PTNY notes that New York State’s trail-rich and
trail-friendly reputation will attract visitors from across the nation and
abroad to experience the historic communities and varied and beautiful
landscapes accessible through the state’s trail network.
offer a wide range of benefits, including stimulating local economies, PTNY
notes. The Erie Canalway Trail alone has an estimated annual impact of more
than $250 million, and has created close to 3,500 jobs. New York’s outdoor
recreation economy annually generates $41.8 billion in consumer spending and
supports 313,000 jobs.
Cycle the Erie series on goingplacesfarandnear.com:
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in his 2017 State of the State policy pronouncements, has proposed completing the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails by 2020 to create the Empire State Trail, the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. To achieve this, the state will develop 350 miles of new trail in three phases to create a 750-mile pathway for hiking and biking along scenic vistas and through charming, historic communities. The Empire State Trail will span much of the state, from the New York Harbor up through the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian border – and from the shores of Lake Erie along the historic Erie Canal to the heart of the Capital Region.
“The scenic natural beauty that spans every corner of this state is key to our prosperity, vital to our future and part of who we are as New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Empire State Trail, once completed, will be the nation’s largest state multi-use trail network, providing residents and visitors alike unprecedented access to New York’s outdoor treasures, driving tourism and economic activity to communities across the state and helping to protect our environmental resources for generations to come.”
New York’s existing Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Erie Canalway are two of the most renowned multi-use trailways in the United States, but both trails remain unfinished with a number of gaps across the state. Currently, the Hudson River Valley Greenway is nearly 50 percent complete and crosses the Appalachian Trail, spanning over 260 miles between the Manhattan Battery and Lake George. The trail closely, and in many places parallels State Bike Route 9, which extends the Greenway an additional 130 miles along Lake Champlain to the Canadian border. The Hudson River Valley Greenway generates more than $21 million in economic impact annually from visitors stopping in communities along the trails.
The Erie Canalway is nearly 80 percent complete and runs approximately 360 miles along the storied Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo to Albany. The Governor’s commitment to complete this trail coincides with the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, as construction of the engineering marvel begin in 1817. Each year, approximately 1.5 million people use the Erie Canalway Trail along the historic Erie Canal, resulting in an estimated $253 million in economic activity from visitor spending. The Buffalo-Pendleton segment is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail with approximately 350,000 annual users. With this proposal, remaining gaps will be completed, connecting the two trails to establish the New York’s Empire State Trail.
Once the Empire State Trail is complete, the trails will attract more hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers than ever before and provide access to destinations, heritage areas, and historic sites and districts including:
Hudson River Valley Greenway
Battery Park, NYC
· Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie
· Olana State Historic Site, Hudson
· Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Kinderhook
· Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing
· Saratoga National Battlefield, Stillwater
· Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga
Erie Canalway Trail
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site, Buffalo
· Buffalo State Park, Buffalo
· The Salt Museum on Onondaga Lake, Liverpool
· The Montezuma National Wild Refuge, Seneca Falls
· The Great New York State Fair, Syracuse
· Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site, Oriskany
· Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome
This extensive trail network will enhance community connectivity and support healthy lifestyles by providing both urban and rural communities access to endless outdoor recreational opportunities. These long distance destination trails are economic drivers that can generate $1.5 – 5 million in annual economic impact for surrounding communities. Additionally, this trail network is expected to support an estimated 9.6 jobs for every $1 million invested, and every dollar will yield $3 in direct medical benefits for surrounding communities. The trails will also draw tourists from around the world to explore New York’s striking landscapes and rich history, while enjoying local bed and breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, wineries, breweries, farmsteads, and cultural attractions along the way.
Empire State Trail Website and Mobile App Launch
A new trail website and mobile app will launch to further connect New Yorkers and visitors to the state’s great outdoors. Both the website and app will feature a list of greenways, trails with hiking descriptions, and their level of difficulty. The app will allow users to find services and attractions nearby using location services with the option to share the user’s exact location with friends, or first responders, in the case of an emergency. Social sharing options will also be available, to share photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. A live tour map, walking and driving directions, are available as well as an elevation reader that lets users know when trails cross hills and mountains.
The trail system will provide travelers access to a number of signature attractions, all of which can be found on the website and mobile app, including Battery Park, Walkway Over the Hudson, Corning Preserve, Lake George, Schenectady Rivers Casino, the Erie Canal Museum, the Buffalo Naval Military Park, local breweries, and other lodging accommodations and family-friendly destinations found along the Empire State Trail.
“Parks, historic sites, and heritage areas are the very fabric of our local communities and the Empire State Trail will further connect these treasured resources with all New Yorkers, neighbors and friends,” said New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey.“Governor Cuomo is rejuvenating the state park system and now with the creation of the Empire State Trail we are deepening the connection and sharing many of these wonderful treasures and all it takes is a bike ride or casual stroll.”
“New York’s natural resources are truly world class destinations and through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the new Empire State Trail will establish important connections to offer residents and visitors even more opportunities to experience all the state has to offer,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I look forward to working with our partners in State Parks, to expand and enhance marketing of all the outdoor adventures one can have throughout the state, and continuing to help communities across the state capitalize on the economic potential of outdoor recreation.”
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said, “Tens of thousands of people already use the Canal trail year-round for hiking, biking, jogging and cross-country skiing. I’m beyond thrilled that Governor Cuomo has proposed completing the trail along the entire length of the Erie Canal. Now, more people will be able to enjoy all this iconic waterway has to offer as we celebrate the canal system’s bicentennial in 2017.”
Meanwhile, the US Department of Interior has just designated New York State Barge Canal as a national historic landmark. “This massive early-twentieth century enlargement of New York’s canal system was an embodiment of a Progressive Era emphasis on public works. The New York State Barge Canal was built explicitly to counter the growing monopoly of railroad corporations over the American economy. The spine of the canal is a direct descendant of the Erie Canal, which opened the interior of North America to settlement and commercial agriculture, transforming the Atlantic economy.”
19th Annual Cycle the Erie 400-Mile Ride Returns July 9-16
Each year, Parks & Trails New York, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating and raising funds for the maintenance of New York’s trails and greenways, organizes an eight-day, 400-mile trip from one end of the Erie Canal in Buffalo, to the end, in Albany. The 19th annual Cycle the Erie Canal , is scheduled July 9-16, 2017, just in time to celebrate the beginning of the bicentennial celebration of the Canal.
Join more than 650 cyclists from across the country and the world cycling and visiting iconic port towns such as Lockport and Brockport, and places rich in history such as Seneca Falls and Rome, and visit charming small towns, museums, and historic sites which collectively tell the story of America. Marvel at the natural beauty of the rolling farmland of America’s original frontier and experience 19th century engineering innovation.
The trip is supported, which means your luggage and camping gear is transported from each campsite (typically schools and recreation centers) to the next, so all you have to do is cycle from one attraction to the next. A team of SAG vehicles provides peace of mind knowing that you’ll be taken care of if you need mechanical support.
There are some updates for 2017:
Return shuttle: for the third consecutive year, we’ll be offering riders from Buffalo and points west our shuttle from Albany back to Buffalo at the end of the ride.
Erie Canal Trailblazers: Interested in cycling the whole tour for $100? Become a Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer and fundraise to help PTNY Close the Gaps in the Erie Canalway Trail. Registration is only $100 and includes a free Cycle the Erie Canal jersey, guidebook, and special recognition on the tour. Trailblazer registration also opens on January 3.
Cycle the Erie Canal Jersey: A must-have souvenir from the ride. Other merchandise options for this year’s ride include a commemorative Cycle the Erie Canal pint glass, an ECT sticker, our best-selling guidebook, and new for 2017, a Cycle the Erie Canal cap. Visit the PTNY shop for more information about these items.
Four-day and Weekend Options: If you don’t have the time for the entire eight-day tour, consider a shorter getaway on the Erie Canalway Trail. PTNY’s four-day and weekend options allowing you to fit the tour to your schedule. They are also great for families with kids and inexperienced riders.
Registration is now open for Parks & Trails New York’s 18th annual Cycle the Erie Canal 400-mile, eight-day bike tour, an unparalleled opportunity to experience great cycling while taking in the rich history of the legendary canal that helped transform America.
The 2016 tour kicks off in Buffalo on July 10 and arrives in Albany on July 17. This year, the Cycle the Erie Canal tour offers:
2-day and 4-day Options: If you can’t take off a full week, consider joining us for half the tour or for a weekend. With 4-day options from Buffalo to Syracuse and Syracuse to Albany, you’re halfway to becoming an Erie Canalway Trail End-to-Ender. These shorter options are great for children, too.
Return Shuttle: Riders from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and points west will be happy to hear we’ll once again be offering our return shuttle from Albany to Buffalo at the end of the ride. Less driving means more time to discover the Erie Canal, and there is so much to discover.
Erie Canal Trailblazers: Interested in cycling the whole tour for only $100? Become a Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer and help PTNY promote the Erie Canalway Trail and bicycle tourism! Registration includes a free Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer jersey and guidebook and special recognition on the tour. Learn more.
Last year’s ride had more than 600 riders and was frankly amazing, with all the sights to see and special activities arranged, not to mention to comradery and the adventure of camping out. The trip – superbly organized – really touches on all pistons.