Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

Women's Rights sulpture, Seneca Falls

Visit the place that touched off the largest social movement in American History—the Women’s Rights Movement—and discover how New York's canal spread not only people and goods, but ideas and information. Starting in Seneca Falls, this itinerary presents options to experience some of New York's Finger Lakes great treasures: pristine lakes, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, fine wineries, premier birdwatching, and recreational adventures. 

Start Your Trip Here

Students stand with bronze statues at Women's Rights NHP
Visitors take a photo with life-sized bronze statues at Women's Rights.

Women’s Rights National Historical Park
136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY
(315) 568-2991
Stand in the place where women and men first gathered to champion the rights of women. You’ll be inspired by the words and actions of those who started and spread this revolutionary idea. In 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and four other women invited the public to attend “…a Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious rights and condition of women.” This now famous gathering in Seneca Falls became the first Women's Rights Convention, a crucial beginning of the movement to advance the position of women in America.

While the campaign for women’s right to vote is the most famous of the demands made at the convention, it was only one of many. Attendees also advocated for the right to equal educational opportunities, to property and earnings, and to the custody of children in the event of divorce or death of a spouse.

Start at the visitor center to get oriented, see the film and museum, and then head out to experience the Wesleyan Chapel, site of the first Women's Rights Convention. The park also includes the homes of three of the convention’s organizers: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Jane Hunt. If you are traveling with kids, be sure to pick up a Junior Ranger Activity book.

Cayuga-Seneca Locks 2 and 3
Seneca Falls, NY
Visit Locks 2 and 3 to see the canal in operation. The two lock chambers are connected like a staircase and work in sequence to lift and lower boats a total of 49-feet.

How far?
Locks 2 and 3 are just one mile from the Women’s Rights NHP visitor center. Head east on Fall Street, turn right on Ovid, then take your first left on E Bayard St., and turn left on Washington St. Visit Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s home at 32 Washington Street, then proceed just a bit farther to see the locks. 

Get Active!

paddlers in a lock on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal
Paddling on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal

Choose from these great options for active recreation in this area:

Walk the Ludovico Sculpture Trail- Take a stroll along the canal on the 1.75-mile Frank J. Ludovico Sculpture Trail. The trail is marked by numerous sculptures inspired by the women's rights movement. Access the park from Bridge Street in Seneca Falls.

Paddle the Cayuga-Seneca Canal- Launch your kayak or canoe at the waterfront park in Seneca Falls (access and parking on Souhan Lane off Water Street). Paddle downstream across VanCleef Lake to Locks 2/3 or upstream toward Lock 4 and Waterloo.

Kayak and Canoe rentals- Rent a kayak or canoe in the nearby village of Waterloo to experience the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. Hourly, half-day, and full-day rental options are available from:

  • Fuzzy Guppies: www.fuzzyguppies.com; Paddle to Lock 4 in Waterloo (one mile round trip), or go on to Seneca Falls (estimated 2.5-3 hours/6 miles one-way); inquire about shuttle service for your return.
  • Canal Side Experiences: www.canalside.net; Paddle west on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal just 30 minutes to Seneca Lake State Park or head east to Lock 4 (45 minutes one-way). A guided paddling option is available.

Take a Cruise- Get on the water for a narrated tour:

Explore More

Waterfront in Seneca Falls, NY
Stroll the canal promenade in Seneca Falls.

Seneca Museum of Waterways and Industry, Seneca Falls
(315) 568-1510
Located in the heart of Seneca Falls, this museum illustrates how the Seneca River and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal powered  manufacturers, fostered cultural development, and spread social reform.

Cayuga Lake State Park
(315) 568-5163
Swim, picnic, fish or camp on the shores of Cayuga Lake, just five miles from Women’s Rights NHP.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
(315) 568-5987
One of New York’s premier bird refuges is just six miles from Seneca Falls on Rte. 20. The 9,800-acre wetland complex is a great place to see waterfowl, wading birds, raptors, and songbirds.

Wine Tours
Seneca Falls is a gateway to New York’s Finger Lakes wine country. Tours and tastings are offered by wineries throughout the region.

Finger Lakes Tourism Information

Best Bet Dining Options

Choose from several restaurants in Seneca Falls or bring a picnic. The waterfront park in Seneca Falls is a lovely spot on the canal with picnic tables, a gazebo, boat launch, and canal promenade. 

Find other adventures in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor at www.eriecanalway.org

Last updated: March 19, 2015