Celebrating the Erie Canal Bicentennial
Celebrate the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal with a waterfront adventure – get out on the water, hike or cycle the canalway trail and experience canal heritage.
Help celebrate the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, America’s most famous man-made waterway connecting the Great Lakes to the Hudson River. Started in 1817 and officially opened in 1825, the Erie Canal established New York as the world’s greatest port. Now with over 500 continuous miles of navigable waterway, 34 National Historic Landmarks, 24 State Parks and over 800 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, this is a great time to plan a canal adventure!
Get on Board: Relax and enjoy a canal boat tour, dinner cruise, or multi-day voyage. Rent a boat and take your own self-skippered vacation – should you need them, you’ll get lessons in steering, docking and locking before heading out! There are more than 80 public boat launches along the NYS Canal System, and marinas and public docks provide services and overnight accommodations. Or explore the waterway by kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board – there are over 125 launch sites and several boater-biker-hiker facilities that allow overnight camping at canal parks.
Cycle or Hike the Canalway Trail: Ride for just a few miles or cross New York State – and enjoy great scenery, fascinating history and unparalleled cycling along the way. Extending 365 miles from Buffalo to Albany, the trail’s route alongside the historic Erie Canal features locks, lift bridges, working tugs and other vessels alongside fun canal community waterfronts. More than three quarters of the trail is off road with a massive project to close remaining gaps in preparation of the launch of the Empire State Trail in 2020 – connecting Buffalo to Albany and New York City to Lake Champlain using a fully networked trail system. Looking for even more adventure? Join over 650 cyclists in July pedaling from Buffalo to Albany along the historic Erie Canalway Trail in celebration of the Erie Canal Bicentennial.
Experience Canal Heritage: Stroll through villages showcasing their canal heritage with waterfront festivals, walking tours, art installations, preservation initiatives and more. World class museums, four national parks, 34 national historic landmarks, historic canal sites and vessels, and a 100-mile mural rail provides countless opportunities for exploring culture and history. As you travel the canal you’ll see locks, bridges, gates, and other engineering marvels used to operate the canal system today as well as the remarkable remains of stone locks, aqueducts and other structures built during the 1800s. Canal festivals and events are in the works for 2019 – stay tuned for updates!