Paddling the Erie canal

Has anyone here done it? How about camping along the way … lodging, etc? I understand that you can buy a 10 day pass for about $25 that will get you through the locks … will they open the locks for a kayak or canoe or would you have to portage?

I believe it’s done quite often
Here is a URL for you.

I think they have lifted all fees for recreational boats.

kayakguy did it this past summer

Erie Canal
SeaKayaker Magazine had an article about paddling the length of the canal a few months ago. It was a great article. I put it on my to do list.


Erie Canal vs New York State Barge Canal
Seems the old Erie is getting more dillapidated and filled with down trees, tires, garbage, fill, etc. Really too bad. History is being lost.

For the modern New York Canal System:

The canal is
cool I would love to paddle it.Saw some of it out a train windowwhen in NY state once.Facinated,reading the Artficial River Carol Sheriff


Erie on 13
Carry a VHF radio and contact the locks on channel 13. They will open for you.

Erie paddle
There is no longer a fee for locks. Just paddle up and they will open them. Some locks only open after you have called them on your martine radio! (just wait for the lockmaster to finish his/her lunch in this case!) But you can portage around most easily since the drops are relatively small if you are in a hurry. My understanding is that you can camp along the “tow path”. That has been my practice and no one has ever run me off. The tow path is narrow and 25 feet from the water is often private property. There are a few places designated for camping. There is a nice canal guide with maps of the whole thing available. Has every bouy numbered and every river side convenience. Some towns have showers along the canal to clean yourself up. I have found it to be great cultural canoeing. Paddle a while, stop for a beer and a sandwich, paddle a while, walk thru a small town…

contact me…

– Last Updated: Apr-26-07 7:32 PM EST –

I will be doing the Buffalo to Oswego section this June and have done most of it already in sections... this will be my first thru-paddle tho of more then a night or two.

Canal trip
I just ordered maps for the canal. I too am planning a trip this year. Im having second thoughts though after reading that travel journal. Personal safety might be an issue while camping.

Some of the canal can be hot and boring as it has high banks that block the view and the breeze.One of the best things is all the history and things to see along it.plan to get out and sightsee often.ther are also many side chanels not navigatable to power boats that are my favorite part.


The Canal
I grew up in Rochester, I’m not sure what part of the canal you mean, it’s a real big ditch. But I knew about 50 miles of it really well, I doubt it would be the same section you’re talking about. I don’t know how familiar you are with it, but there are lots of little ports along the way. I know of a few of those towns with little taverns on the water that cater to the house boat crowd that cruise the canal in the summer. The distances between places to stay or camp would be difficult, but I’m sure there are sections of it that you could do. Lot’s of cows and apple trees along the way in that part of the state. It’s pretty. I’m guessing that’s not where you’re thinking of going. I’d be interested to find out what you find. I’m very fond the canal, I spent a lot of time biking it and my great great grandfather worked on it, that’s how he ended up in upstate New York. It might be a fun paddle sometime.

Interesting reading
In William Least Heat Moon’s book “Riverhorse” the second leg of their cross-country water trip (after ascending the Hudson River) was on the Erie Canal. While only a small portion of teh trip, the narrative on the history, peoples and culture was fascinating. I highly recommend it.


Sorry to bump such an old thread…
I just did a small section of the canal this past weekend, this weekend coming up I am going to do the 12 or so miles between Lyons and Clyde. Very easy paddling…

The only thing I didn’t like was the railroad runs right along side the canal here for a few miles. trains go by every 10-15 minutes or so, so it’s not really that peaceful. Once the canal gets away from the rails, I bet it’s perfect.

Anybody else run the canal lately?