Trail Programs

The Canal Corporation offers Trail programs focusing on generating community involvement to beautify conditions, improving connections to local businesses, and promoting health and wellness from the many recreational uses of the trails.
A signpost for the Canalway Trail on the Erie section of the Empire State Trail stands prominently in the foreground. Vibrant autumn leaves in shades of orange, yellow, and green provide a colorful backdrop to the serene paved pathway, hinting at the tranquil experience of exploring the Canalway Trail in the fall season.
Two active individuals enjoying a leisurely day of cycling alongside a serene canal under a partly cloudy sky, with a bright blue 'On The Canals' sign promoting local biking and boating in Finger Lakes, Wine Country Waterloo, NY.

On the Canals

Join us year-round for FREE recreational programs offering unique opportunities to experience the Canal waterways and trails. On the Canals excursions include kayaking, cycling, cruising, painting, birding, snowshoeing, cultural heritage experiences and accessible activities such as adaptive paddling and biking.

A peaceful autumn scene unfolds along a tranquil canal, with waters reflecting an overcast sky. Flanked by a walking trail to the right, the canal is bordered by lush trees boasting a mosaic of fall colors.

Working Together for the Trails

Two cyclists pauses for a chat on a sunlit, tree-lined sidewalk, emphasizing the 'Bike Friendly New York' atmosphere. Each cyclist's bike is equipped for a long ride, suggesting they're taking full advantage of the bike-friendly amenities.

Bike Friendly New York

Bike Friendly New York is a free certification program that recognizes and supports businesses that offer services and amenities that accommodate cyclists. To become certified as a Bike Friendly New York business, all establishments must meet three baseline requirements in addition to specific services based on the type of establishment.

A group of four cyclists in colorful gear pause to consult a map along the Empire State Trail. Their bicycles, positioned for a brief rest, point towards the information board which details the 'Empire State Trail Town' route ahead.

Empire State Trail Towns

The Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails NY works with canal communities, through an annual competitive process, to develop and implement the Empire State Trail Town program, modeled after the Great Allegheny Passage’s highly successful program. The program aims to demonstrate how improved access to communities for trail users can benefit local economic development.

Four cyclist are traveling over a small stone bridge over round water drainage area by the canal. Lush green trees fill the background.

Trail Users in the Millions Annually

Each year since 2005, the Canal Corporation and Parks & Trail NY have conducted trail counts, Who’s on the Trail, along the Canalway Trail. Estimates of trail use volume help inform expenditures for trail construction and maintenance. The counts also show the economic impact of the trails on counties, towns, villages and cities across the Canal corridor.

This image captures the essence of exploring the trails with a view along a wooden-planked footbridge adorned with a vibrant mural, leading to an underpass beneath a busy overpass. The bright yellow Canalway Trail Connections sign stands out, symbolizing the accessible and interconnected trail network.

Take a Trip on the Trails

Interactive map itineraries that direct Canalway Trail visitors to communities, local attractions, bike friendly businesses, and amenities within a short distance of the trail, allowing users to fully experience the Canalway corridor.

The graphic banner for the 'Canalway Challenge' shows the silhouetted close-up of a person paddling on the left, and the figure of a jogger on the right. The text says Canalway Challenge, Facing History, Tracking Miles.

Canalway Challenge

The Canal Corporation in partnership with Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor to run a personal mileage goal program on the Canalway System called the Canalway Challenge. Whether you are taking your first steps toward fitness or are an experienced athlete, set your sights on adventure and fun along the 524-mile NYS Canal System and 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail. Reach your one-of-a-kind, personal mileage goal – whether cycling, paddling, running, hiking, rolling, or walking – and discover all you can do along New York's canals! Participants register online and choose a mileage goal, track their miles over the course of the summer, and upload a photo when they finish. Finishers receive a certificate, bandana, and mileage decal.

Cyclists enjoying the scenic Empire State Trail during the Weeklong Cycling the Erie Canal event in German Flatts, NY.

Empire State Trail

The 750-mile Empire State Trail, the longest multiuse in-state recreational trail system in the nation, showcases New York State’s special places, diverse history and iconic landscapes.

The trail welcomes bicyclists and walkers of all ages and abilities to experience urban centers, village main streets, rural communities and diverse history—from New York City through the Hudson River Valley, west to Buffalo along the Erie Canal, and north to the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks.