We offer a Bike Tour Blueprint for those interested in touring the Erie Canalway and Empire State Trail. We hope to be able to offer self-guided tours in New York in future years.
The Erie Canal Trail is an incredible ride that can span the entire state of New York, from Buffalo to Albany. Our tours focus on the longest contiguous section of this trail system, the western portion from Buffalo to Newark.
The flat, crushed gravel canalway trail can be ridden by cyclists of all abilities and is perfect for a truly relaxing and enjoyable multiday self-guided bike tour experience.
This morning meet your shuttle in Buffalo and drive a few hours to the trailhead in Newark, NY., where you will begin Day 1 of biking!
As you start your bike tour, you’ll pass through wooded areas between Newark and Palmyra. The canalway gradually becomes more open as you near the canal town of Fairport where you will spend the night. Enjoy dinner in town before retiring to your B&B for the night.
Meals: On own
After a full breakfast at the B&B, return to the canal and pedal through a mix of small canal towns and larger cities. You’ll see how so many of these canal towns earn the “port” name as you pass by the lift bridges. If the timing is right, you may even see the bridges lift as canal boats make their way along water beside you. Passing through Rochester you’ll navigate through Genesee River Valley Park. Tonight you’ll bike into Brockport to enjoy dinner and relax for the evening.
Today is a leisurely ride to the historic town of Medina, NY. Take the time to enjoy this somewhat more secluded portion of trail with many stops for photos and benches to rest the legs (or backside). As with so many of the towns on this route, Medina developed as the Erie Canal was constructed, then prospered as the canal and later railroads passed through this area.
The Main Street retains its historic character and preservation efforts can be seen throughout city. Your hotel tonight is part of that historic restoration and shares space with a cafe and meadery.
Have breakfast at the cafe attached to your hotel or explore dining options in town, then begin your last ride day on the canal. You’ll pass through the town of Lockport where you’ll want to take some time to check out the impressive set of historic locks and nearby Erie Canal Discovery Center.
Ride out of Lockport (a few blocks on road) and quickly join up with the newest sections of the Erie Canal route leading to the city of Tonawanda. For a shorter day you can end your ride in Tonawanda and add a shuttle to your itinerary which will return you to Buffalo. For a longer day, continue biking on the river trail all the way into the city of Buffalo and Canalside.
If you’d like to extend your trip toward Niagara Falls, please ask about alternative itineraries.
Meals: on own
Tour is not offered in 2022.
This trip includes lodging for 3 nights and 2 breakfasts.
For non-included meals we provide daily suggestions and will consider your dietary requests, making special arrangements as needed. Please be aware that some restaurants close one day a week, and often that will be on a Sunday or Monday, depending on the town.
Our Erie Canalway bike trips utilize the best in local B&Bs to ensure a comfortable and unique stay each night. Lodgings in most towns DO require a short on-road ride.
There are a very limited number of single rooms, as well as suites, along the trail. If you require either room set up please let us know at the time of your quote request.
We do our best to advise of vegetarian and vegan options for dining along both trails.
Those with significant dietary restrictions, please also advise us AT THE START OF YOUR QUOTE PROCESS so that we can discuss your itinerary options. Food is important!
Erie Canal Trail tours are offered between May and October. This schedule is dictated by weather and trail conditions.
The summer months are ideal for riders who love the long days, sunny and dry weather. Portions of the trail are not shaded, so do plan to bring sunscreen and appropriate clothing.
September and October offer cooler temperatures; fall foliage occurs generally in early- to mid-October, although exact dates do vary each year.
Our Erie Canal itineraries start and end in Buffalo with a shuttle on the morning of Day 1 to Newark. Rides can end in Tonawanda with a shuttle into Buffalo or continue biking on the river trail all the way into Buffalo.
The Erie Canalway Trail is a crushed gravel rail trail surface with a grade of less than 1%. The trail is well-maintained and there are restrooms at several trailheads along the way. Towns are frequent along the trail.
There are 4 short, on-road sections of biking required between Lockport and Tonawanda. These sections are each about 1 mile long and mostly secondary roads. The busiest section is 1 mile on a two-lane road with some moderate traffic. It is reasonably bike-friendly (there is a shoulder most of the way, although no bike lane) and we feel it is safe for cycling – however, you should be knowledgeable about how to bike safely with traffic.
If you wish to avoid all on-road biking, talk to us about ending your trip in Lockport.
For those biking into Buffalo, there may be further on-road biking required depending on your final destination.
Cell and wifi service is strong along the trail, and there are a good variety of food options for all diets.
The best bike for this trail is a hybrid-style bike. Road bikes and bikes with thinner tires can be appropriate in most conditions (in excessively wet weather, wider tires are recommended).
Bike rental can be offered through Campus Wheelworks at $125 for 4 days, plus $25/each additional day.
If you can box and rebuild your bike on your own, and if you have good bike cases for shipping, BikeFlights.com or another shipping method can be much cheaper than renting a bike. If you need help boxing and rebuilding a shipped bike, we can direct you to bike shops along the trails which can assist you for a fee (usually $40-75/bikes).
A one-way shuttle from Buffalo to Newark is included in all trip prices. The drive time is approximately 2 hours barring unusual traffic.
A shuttle from Tonawanda to Buffalo is included in trip with luggage shuttling; it can be added to trips without luggage shuttling for an additional cost.
Daily luggage shuttling can be included on this trip.
Luggage must be ready each day by 9 a.m. and is transferred to your next overnight location by 4 p.m. We request each rider bring one carry-on sized piece (approximately) and one smaller, personal bag. Luggage should weigh no more than 40 lbs per person. Odd-sized and/or bulky pieces such as bike stands, coolers, or bike racks are not permitted.
You will be directed each morning where to bring your luggage – typically to the front desk or B&B common area. The luggage will not be accessible during the day, so you will need to have with you anything you require including cameras, change of clothes (if swimming/rafting), and food. Most B&Bs/hotels do not allow check in before 4 p.m.
I can’t recommend this company enough. This was my second year using them. The first year I got injured on the trail, and they saved the day getting me a shuttle out and cancelling all the subsequent reservations that could be cancelled.
This year, there was lots of flooding and diversions that needed to be taken and they kept in constant contact with what my options were.
With Noble Invention they took the stress out of the trip by taking care of all the logistics necessary to make a five day trek across two states possible. All reservations were handled with B&Bs along the way, our bags were shuttled and always waiting at our next stop, our shuttle back to Pittsburgh was courteous and professional; not a hiccup to be found in the entire trip!
Kelley was professional throughout the booking process answering any questions and catering the trip to our needs as best as possible. I will definitely use them for my next bike trip on any route they serve.
The service that Ann and Sara provided was top shelf. They found wonderful B&B’s for us to stay at, and they were really concerned that we had a good riding experience. And we met plenty of new people that we really enjoyed.