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Erie Canal Trail or Road?

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Erie Canal Trail or Road?

Old 02-11-18, 04:28 PM
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koolerb
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Erie Canal Trail or Road?

I've ridden a some 50 mile stretches of the Erie canal trail between Rochester and Savannah, and Syracuse and Rome. Some sections were nice, a lot of it was monotonous. The flat stone dust sections were probably my least favorite sections. Also, trying to stay on the canal trail was really difficult in many sections. Is it just me or is not marked very well in a lot of areas? I'm thinking about riding the full length this spring or maybe half. I'm wondering if it would make sense to parallel the route on surface roads like 31 or 5 while still utilizing the camp sites and other amenities there for the canal riders. Also, for those of you that have done this a few times, which half do you find more enjoyable; Syracuse-Buffalo or Syracuse-Albany?
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Old 02-11-18, 06:17 PM
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Old Navigational Canals must have a Towpath along them for the Horses to use..
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Old 02-11-18, 07:11 PM
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Not exactly what you are looking for but may provide a piece of the puzzle.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=19890&v=39
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Old 02-11-18, 07:17 PM
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There's no answer we can give you. The decision depends on what you prefer and how much distance you wish to cover daily.

I'm an old time road bike tourist who generally finds canal towpaths too sterile and prefers roads that take me through town centers. Of course there are exceptions, and mixing towpath and parallel road riding can make for a nice tour.
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Old 02-11-18, 07:58 PM
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I've never toured or camped so thinking making use of the sites along the canal is a no brainier. Have to do it and figure it out along the way I think. Just have to decide to go east or west.
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Old 02-12-18, 05:47 AM
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Several years ago a friend and I rode to Burlington Vt. from Columbus. We rode on the canal trail from Rochester to Palmyra. A couple nice historic canal towns in that section and good camping at the locks as I recall. We ended up leaving the trail and riding on 31 because we weren't able to travel fast enough and it was getting slightly monotonous. This is generally consistent with my thoughts about bike paths and trails. If I can use sections along my route a bike trail is a welcome diversions from traffic but I don't want to use trails exclusively.
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Old 02-12-18, 06:38 AM
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Ditto the above. My only experience there was on the ACA Northern Tier route, from Lockport to Palmyra as I recall. It far exceeded my expectations as a tourist experience. But I also left the path for twenty miles or so one afternoon to take advantage of a screaming tail wind on some pavement, just for pure fun. Playing it by ear and adjusting to conditions has always served me well.
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Old 02-12-18, 08:32 AM
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As for the trail staying with the canal, I'd say that the canal path is alongside the canal more west of Rochester than to the east.

We split the trail into 2 trips, western & eastern, here are our crazy guy journals:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ErieCanalWest2010
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/8220
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Old 02-16-18, 09:48 PM
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Good stuff, thank you.
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Old 02-17-18, 08:50 AM
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I've done the path a number of times from both directions. I like the bit from Buffalo to Rochester best with all the towpath towns. I mix up towpath riding with road riding....when I'm in a hurry I get on the roads.
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Old 02-17-18, 02:21 PM
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I'm going to take a few days off work this spring and make a long weekend doing a half most likely. Trying to decide; Buffalo>Syracuse, Syracuse>Buffalo, Syracuse>Albany, or Albany>Syracuse. This will probably involve Amtrak unless I do an out and back. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 02-26-18, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by koolerb View Post
I'm going to take a few days off work this spring and make a long weekend doing a half most likely. Trying to decide; Buffalo>Syracuse, Syracuse>Buffalo, Syracuse>Albany, or Albany>Syracuse. This will probably involve Amtrak unless I do an out and back. Thanks for the tip.
If you're looking for someone to ride with, I was planning to go Buffalo to Syracuse in the spring. As early as possible. I plan to camp with a 3 season bag and tent.
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Old 03-04-18, 05:09 PM
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I did the trail in May 2015. I got bored with the slow progress on the trail itself and rode the parallel highways to make better time and to visit great little towns along the way. Special events like civil war reenactment camps and lilac festivals were things I would have missed if I'd stuck to the trail. I did duck back down to the trail to camp at the campsites near the locks.
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