The 36 miles of Erie Canalway Trail that run through Old Erie Canal State Park are some of the most picturesque along the entire state-wide route. A new event, Tour the Towpath, showcases these scenic stretches and the historic communities that they connect on a one- or two-day supported ride.
On Friday July 31, the inaugural Tour the Towpath, kicked off on the Old Erie Canal State Park section of the Erie Canalway Trail between Rome and Dewitt. Along this historic Long Level section of the original Erie Canal, in use between 1825 and 1917, cyclists ride on the original towpath, in the hoofprints of the trail’s intended users.
Organizers of the Tour the Towpath report that more than 50 riders took part in the first-time event. Participants were able to choose between a two-day ride, leaving from Rome on Friday and arriving in Dewitt on Saturday, and a one-day option leaving from Rome on Saturday. Riders’ ages ranged from a green six years old to a “young at heart” 87. Lots of families hit the trail together, with two-day riders over-nighting in Canastota, where free tours of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the Great Swamp Conservancy, and the Canastota Canal Town Museum were offered. Add a band and a movie on the lawn at the campsite and you had plenty of happy campers.
One-day riders weren’t left out, either. These participants dispensed with the formality of an overnight, and instead rode the entire 36 miles from Rome to DeWitt on Saturday. They must have been anxious to catch up with the two-day riders who left Friday, as both groups rolled into Dewitt as the community’s 47th Annual Canal Fest was in full swing.
Enjoy the pictures below, and congratulations to all the event organizers on what is expected to become a new summer tradition on the Old Erie Canal!