Originally Posted by spinnaker
I have done part of the route. I will likely never do it again as I was bored out of my mind. I it is basically one long boring ditch.
Only two conditions I would do it again.
1. A supported tour with a historian. I can imagine that would be interesting as I will bet there are a lot of stories to be told about life on the canal.
2. Spend more time in each of the little towns along the way. They truly are wonderful and well worth exploring.
I'm thinking about riding in the Canal area this year, and recently collected a bunch of web links--see below.
But yeah, without actually having ridden it, the trail does appear to just follow the canal, with a narrow strip of trees alongside on a lot of it. I think I'd rather take a road bike and ride in the area, hitting some of the interesting towns along the way.
Lockport looks interesting, with canal locks and museums.
I've been through Geneva and Seneca Falls, both are well worth a visit. The old cut stone masonry of all the warehouse and factory buildings is interesting.
And I'd like to visit the south end of the Finger Lakes region, too.
I haven't even looked at Rochester NY yet, but there's got to be lots to do there.
Cycle The Erie Canal supported ride
It's about 50 miles a day.
The Itinerary page
lists a lot of things to see and do
along the route. So it's useful even if you are doing your own route.
The cycling Interactive Map
is useful, showing which parts of the trail are paved, and local "starred" features as you zoom in.
Here's the Canalway web site page on locks and bridges.
It looks like the small sections of original canal are the most interesting, but there's not much left.
There are abandoned locks in SW Ohio, make from large blocks of cut limestone. Locks are cool.
The Canalway links to nearby loop routes that look good, on their cycling page
Strava Heat Map
Here's the western end
, near Lockport--click Toggle Labels to see the town and road names. The dark red lines are the most popular roads/trails for cyclists, based on a year of GPS ride uploads to Strava. And I also use it to avoid the faint blue roads near red roads--those are often busy roads.
The canal trail shows up clearly, NE out of Lockport, for instance. But there's a lot of other roads in the area that would be nice riding.
on the left side menu, select Bicycling and select Earth, to see the trail in solid green: