Erie Canal State Park and NYS Barge Canal

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Erie Canal State Park and NYS Barge Canal

General Description

Begun in 1817 near Rome, the Erie Canal is one of New York's historic treasures that today provides for excellent outdoor recreation including hiking, biking and boating.  In order to accomodate bigger barges, the canal was enlarged most recently between 1905 and 1918 to produce the Barge Canal which seperates from the original Erie Canal west of Rome.  While the barge canal runs directly to Oneida Lake, the Erie Canal snakes south-west through Oneida, Canastota and Chittenango.  This section is part of the older canal and has a tow path which is accessible in many areas for hiking or bicycling.  In fact one can journey almost the entire length from Rome to Syracuse on the Old Erie Canal, a linear state park 36 miles long.  The canal passes through some pleasant farm country with a mix of fields and woods.

Special Features

The Erie Canal Village, a recreated 19th century village located near to where the first shovelful of earth was turned to begin canal construction in 1817, provides historical tours as well as several scheduled events at a minimal cost.  There is a wonderful collection of old buildings which are interpreted by costumed staff and volunteers as well as a replica horse drawn canal boat available for public rides.  Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $4 for children between 4 and 17, and free under the age of 4.  Boat and train rides are an additional $3 each.


Lock 19 is located on Route 5 in Schuyler about 8 miles east of Utica.  Utica Marsh has bike path access.  To access the Old Erie Canal there are several options. Park in the Erie Canal Village parking lot (in Rome on Route 49) or continue west on Route 49/46 for another 1/2 mile to another parking lot.  Follow Route 46 towards Oneida for other parking areas that provide access to the tow path such as on Mills Road just north of Oneida.  This section of the canal is 13.3 miles and the trail is extremely flat, making it easy for all ages to enjoy.