Erie Canal Opens for a Season of Outdoor Fun

Aerial shot of kayaks on the Erie Canal during the Boat Float event near Chittenango
A summer full of fun awaits adults and kids alike on the Erie Canal and the Canalway Way Trail.

Erie Canalway NHC Photo

Waterford, NY (May 23, 2019) – The New York State Canals opened May 17 and already the season is off to a roaring start. With the Canalway Challenge and a new set of paddler-friendly navigational tools, there’s something fun for all ages and abilities in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

The Erie Canal and Canalway Trail are a great way for everyone—families, cyclists, runners, paddlers, and more—to enjoy the outdoors in a beautiful and historic setting. The Corridor’s new Canalway Challenge encourages people to track their miles as they get out and explore the nearly 200-year-old canal by water or land. The free program offers a range of mileage goals—from 15 miles to 360 miles—on foot, on wheels, or by boat, accumulated all at once or over multiple visits. Participants who reach their goal receive a certificate and souvenir of their accomplishment. They may also choose to have their name listed on the Canalway Challenge “Finish Line” on the Corridor’s website.

Cover of NYS Canal Water Trail Guidebook, showing a man and child in a raft on a canal
New York State Canalway Water Trail Guidebook is a great resource for both beginners and experienced paddlers, as well as anyone looking to make the most out of their experience on the Erie Canal.

Image courtesy of Erie Canalway NHC

Also new this season is the New York State Canalway Water Trail Guidebook. Kayaks and canoes sharing the waterways with cruisers and powerboats will find value in this complementary 284-page book that lists detailed mile-by-mile information about launch sites, facilities, amenities, and places of interest along more than 450 miles of the New York State Canal System. Four water-resistant navigational maps accompany the guide to assist both beginners and seasoned paddlers on their trips. In addition, visitors can utilize the interactive Water Trail map on the Corridor’s website.

“This guidebook is an invitation to paddlers to discover the history, beauty, and adventure of paddling the canals,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Corridor. “Paddlers will navigate century old locks, pass stunning stone aqueducts, and experience narrow flatwater stretches and wide river segments.”

You can download the guidebook or order a free hard copy, visit

Kayaks and their paddlers on the Erie Canal near Waterford, NY
Paddlers on the Erie Canal in Waterford, NY

Erie Canalway NHC / Richard Endres

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