Looking for some suggestion Erie Canal

I am looking for some suggestions for paddling places near Albany so we can paddle the canal and go through a couple of locks. Where are some good places to put in near there. We have never gone through locks and would just like to try it and paddle that area.


I live farther west
so I can’t give you a perfect answer, but I did learn about locking through this past weekend. I went from Palymra to Clyde NY.

I have never done it before and I admit I was a little intimidated by the whole process, so I decided to portage instead. I did stop and talk to the lock keeper though. He said they don’t mind opening the lock for one or two kayaks. I was concerned with wasting energy to open and close the lock gates, but he said even the gates are gravity driven, so it does not waste any energy at all.

He said to just call the number on the sign as you get close to the lock, tell them you are in kayaks and they will give you directions. I have heard from a lot of people that you want to take some old gloves to hold onto the cable with too. I guess it gets pretty nasty.

Locking thru is fine

– Last Updated: Jul-01-10 8:59 AM EST –

We are from the Capital District. To start, you can lock thru either the Erie (on the Mohawk River) or the Champlain Canal (Hudson River north of Troy). The Erie is probably easier though in terms of launch points that don't have gates that close if you are running late. And an easier drive for you.

You want to drop in west of the five main "big steps" that start in Waterford and initiate the Erie Canal, just because it takes a long time to get thru them and that's all the paddle will be about. Plus you might find yourself in more crowded company.

I'd say your best bets are:
Launch from Lock 7 park (Mohawk River, off of River Road in Niskyuna) and lock east thru the one that's right there. Paddle around the lower section a bit and lock back thru. The old Erir Canal bed is reachable from that stretch as well, though it is probably impassable due to weeds by now.

Drop in at Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam, get there by taking Exit 26 of the thruway then 890 west to rt 5 west. Head east on the Mohawk to the first lock you hit and got thru and back.

As to the glove thing - if you are in there with some big motor boats you are expected to hold your position as the water drops. So maintaining some constant relationship to the wall via the ropes that hang down is a matter of practicality. But you just need to have your hand loosely around them - no need to grip. (very bad idea if you think about it)

When it's just our paddle group, most of us are sitting in the middle of the lock without hanging onto anything going up and down. The only turbulence is near the gate where the water is coming in on the way up, and it's hardly major surf.

And yes - the lock gates work the same way they did before we had a fancy electric grid. I'd suggest that wherever you paddle, you take a swing thru Waterford and go up Flight Lock Road that runs along the big steps.

suggestions …

– Last Updated: Jul-01-10 9:47 AM EST –

....... listen to Bruce sing the Erie , remember ol Sal .


and do at least 15 miles ...

We did it with a group
and we had a good time. I have lived near Lockport my entire life but had never been through the locks. My wife and daughter enjoyed it also. My only suggestion is to bring a pair of gloves for holding the ropes between the gates. They get pretty slimy.

see Bruce sing it too …

– Last Updated: Jul-01-10 11:24 PM EST –

........ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roqhd3yG3Qk&feature=related

low bridge everybody down ... low bridge we're comin to a town

There is also …
the Federal dam at Troy on the Hudson. Four of us locked through in kayaks last week. You hold on to a ladder in that one. It is very near the Flight of Locks at the beginning of the Erie Canal (probably less than two miles). The Flight of Locks is the first five (Lock E2-Lock E6) locks along the Erie Canal. These locks are the largest lift over the shortest distance in the world. A total of 1.5 miles. A VHF radio is helpful to contact the lockmaster (Ch. 13 for both the Troy lock and the Erie locks). As Celia mentioned, you can also lock through the Champlain Canal a few miles North. From the launch in Waterford, NY (or launch directly across the Hudson in Lansingburg, NY) (both are free with parking) you could do all these in one day (Champlain, Erie and Troy), but traffic backs up at the Flight of Locks and they are short staffed, so it might take half a day to get through all five. The locks open at 7 AM.


Thanks for the info. Going to be go mid week in a couple of weeks.

Thanks it was a nice trip today

– Last Updated: Jul-12-10 11:44 PM EST –

We launched at the Kiwanis park and went through lock 8 to the Rt 5 overpass and back. Thanks for the info.
We might go back in the fall and look for some foliage anyone know a good area for that?