Bike Trails NY. Erie Canalway Trail

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Last updated 09/27/2014

Raw file: Erie Canalway.gpx (2.86 MB)

My wife, brother and I are bicycle enthusiasts who enjoy riding the ever increasing number of rail / canal trails mostly in the Northeastern US. We also do volunteer work for NOAA by recovering US Coast & Geodetic Survey Benchmarks. We often combine these hobbies while trail riding.

Unlike geocaching, benchmark hunting serves a valuable purpose by providing NOAA with updates on the condition of their 700,000+ benchmarks across the Unites States. Information on Benchmarks is available here:

We have been riding these trails for over 10 years now and I decided to share some of the .GPX files I’ve created. Of the hundreds of trails available in this part of the country, I selected these for their quality, scenic beauty, lack of excessive grades or hazardous terrain and overall riding or hiking enjoyment. These files contain tracks for trails and waypoints for significant features such as road crossings, bike shops, campgrounds and USCGS benchmarks along or near the trail. These files were compiled using a variety of resources including:


Garmin’s Mapsource & Basecamp software

USCGS Topographic GPS Map Files. Available Legally at no cost for many States here:

Google Earth & Google Maps

Garmin’s Birds Eye Imagery

Camping Rivopom’s COMBINED US Campground POI file

Personal Knowledge

Various Internet & Print resources including:

Parks & Trails New York, Erie Canalway website:

National Park Service Erie Canalway website:’s Erie Canalway web page:

New York State Canals web page:

This file is New York State’s 365 mile Erie Canalway Trail which runs the entire width of the state from Albany to Buffalo. It follows the Mohawk River in the East and the three versions of the Erie Canal in the West. The modern Erie Barge Canal is still in operation and views of pleasure boats and occasional commercial vessels navigating the canal locks are visible at many points along the trail. Very little remains of the original Erie Canal or “Clinton’s Ditch” however many structures of the second version of the canal, the “Enlarged Erie Canal” still exist and are visible along the trail. The paved and packed gravel trail surface is mostly level and suitable for all types of bikes however wide tires are suggested in certain sections.

For those interested in riding the entire trail, it should be noted that just over 100 of the 365 trail miles are on road. There are 29 individual on road sections ranging in length from .2 to 25.6 miles. Some are along busy highways with congested intersections in major cities. Pavement markings are sporadic and extreme caution should be used.

Note that the track position in this file assumes an East to West direction of travel however pavement markings should always be observed.

The longest nearly continuous off road piece of the Canalway Trail is the 85 mile section between Newark and Lockport. In my opinion, it offers the best scenery and overall riding experience.

Note that this is a large file with 2000+ waypoints and almost 14000 track points. Editing may be required for use in older handheld GPS units.

Anyone interested in Benchmark hunting can obtain detailed data sheets for each mark by going here: The PID is the waypoint name symbolized by the color coded cube icons. Green= Recovered within the last 10 years. Blue= No recent recovery but set in a massive structure which still exists. Red= Likely missing or reported destroyed.

Be aware that the GPS coordinates provided in this file for benchmarks are approximate and can be off by as much as 600 feet. In most cases, the specific detailed information provided on the data sheets is necessary to locate the benchmark. The on line data sheets are easily converted into .PDF files and can be stored on most smartphones.

Free, legal, 24K and 100K topo map downloads for the states with these trails are available here: Segments of these maps covering the above trails can be loaded into many older handheld GPS receivers with limited memory by using Garmin’s Mapinstall program available here:

I’ll post more trail files as I update and clean them up.

I always enjoy conversing with fellow bike trail enthusiasts so please feel free to contact me with comments, questions, inclusions or revisions. – Enjoy!

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