This bicycle tour of the Erie Canal begins with a 5 1/2 hr. train trip from the Amtrak Rensselaer-Albany station to the station in Buffalo. The first night is spent in downtown Buffalo, followed by six days of cycling on the Erie Canal bike path back to Rensselaer, with an average daily distance of approximately 60 miles of cycling for a total of approximately 356 miles.

As of 2020, much of the work on the Erie Canal bike path is completed but there are still many on-road sections. The urban sections in Syracuse and Utica have frequent turns, and signage at some of these turns is minimal or non-existent. The routes will be updated when Google maps updates their maps with recent rail trail additions.

As of late 2020, each car in the Empire Service Train has one bicycle rack, which must be reserved at the time you make your ticket reservations. Tickets cost $40 – $65, plus $20 for the bicycle rack reservation, and the journey takes 5h 23m.

Hotels and accommodations shown on this page were chosen for their proximity to the trail when it is finished but in Syracuse and Utica require navigating through the cities. Other accommodations will be added to the maps.

Information and resources


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Day 2 Buffalo to Medina 50 miles

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Day 3 Medina to Palmyra 70 miles

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Day 4 Palmyra to Syracuse 67 miles

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Day 5 Syracuse to Utica, 61 miles

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Day 6 Utica to Amsterdam 64 miles

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4 thoughts on “Self-guided Erie Canal cycling tour from Buffalo to Rensselaer NY

  1. I have been considering this ride in mid 2022 and you seem to have things broken up into pretty logical pieces.
    I am trying to work out my budget for this adventure and was wondering what are the approximate lodging costs look like. Can you share that information?

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  2. Can you confirm that there are no on-road sections?
    Looking at the most recent map they put out on the trail and empire trail.ny.gov, there appear to be some on road sections (a large one west of Syracuse and north of Cayuga).
    Thanks

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