Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour

Parks & Trails New York's 23rd Annual Bike Tour

Buffalo to Albany July 11 – 18, 2021

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Every summer, more than 650 cyclists leave their cars behind in Buffalo to pedal along the historic Erie Canalway Trail to Albany for Parks & Trails New York’s annual Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour.

The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany 8 days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the northeastern United States.

Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now over 80 percent complete and a significant part of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.


Covid-19 has changed our lives in so many ways.

At Parks & Trails New York, we continue to focus on the protection and promotion of the outdoors and are inspired by the increasing number of people spending time outdoors and discovering the joys of nature.

With 2021 fast approaching, we are considering how to provide new and returning cyclists with safe bicycle touring opportunities along the Erie Canal next summer, following all state guidelines.

Consequently, registration for Cycle the Erie Canal will open March 1 rather than January 1 this year.

The Parks & Trails New York team is meeting regularly to continue planning for July, 2021.

As part of this effort, we are:

  • Continuing to educate ourselves and stay informed of NYS Covid-19 guidelines.
  • Networking with other bicycle tours nationwide
  • Staying in touch with all Cycle the Erie Canal interested parties
  • Keeping information on our website current
  • Continuing to consider and explore any and all options

We want to know what you’re thinking, and would very much appreciate if you would take a few minutes to fill out a short Cycle the Erie Canal 2021 survey:

Message and Info Regarding the 2020 Tour Cancellation

After careful consideration and out of concern for the health and safety of our riders, volunteers, staff and the communities we pass through, we have reluctantly and sadly made the decision to cancel Cycle the Erie Canal this year. It was a very hard decision to make but we feel confident it is the right one.

We will be back better than ever in 2021, however, and are already starting to plan for the 23rd Cycle the Erie Canal, scheduled for July 11-18, 2021. Mark your calendar now! If you’d like to carry over your registration from this year to next year, we’d be happy to do that.

We understand that everyone’s situation is different and have come up with three options for 2020 registrants:

  1. Roll over your registration to the 2021 Cycle the Erie Canal tour. With the many health and safety accommodations we are expecting to have to make next year, a sizable price increase is expected in 2021. But we will honor your registration for 2021 as paid in full (for the options you chose in 2020) if you roll over this year's registration. Plus, we’ll give you a $10 voucher toward 2021 merchandise.
  2. Cancel your registration, but donate a portion of the fee to support future Cycle the Erie Canal tours and Parks & Trails New York’s work to expand the trail network throughout the state. Any donation—small or large—would be very appreciated.NOTE: Taxpayers can claim up to $300 for cash donations to charitable organizations on their 2020 federal income tax return, even if they do not itemize deductions.

  3. Cancel for a full refund of your registration fee (this includes shuttle fees, if applicable).

If you opt for a refund, please allow six weeks for your refund to be processed.

If you signed up for Comfy Camper services, you will be receiving an email directly from Comfy Campers with 2021 deferral or refund options. If you don't receive an email, contact Shawn Stewart at 315-283-0220.

To complete your cancellation, fill in the Covid-19 CTEC Cancellation Form. Save it and attach it to an email addressed to:, or print and mail the form to: PTNY, Attn: Erie Canal Tour, 33 Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207.

We are disappointed we won’t get to ride with you across the state this year but are looking forward to 2021’s Cycle the Erie Canal.

Are you interested in joining us on a future tour? Keep in touch with us by joining the Cycle the Erie Canal mailing list:

The Route

The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands. Learn more about each day's route with our 2019 interactive maps.

The Terrain

Riders cover about 50 miles a day on mostly flat terrain. About 75% of the ride is on the off-road Canalway Trail, with the remainder on public roadways with good shoulders. Most days, the route follows the canal along level ground, although there are some rolling hills and two long, gradual climbs in the Mohawk Valley.


Riders stay overnight in Buffalo, Medina, Fairport, Seneca Falls, Syracuse, Rome, Canajoharie, and Schenectady at colorful tent cities. A variety of lodging and amenities are also available, from national hotel chains to bed and breakfasts. Rental and set up of tents and air mattresses is available from Comfy Campers.

What's included?

  • Camping accommodations every evening with showers and toilet facilities. Some campsites include pools or lakes for swimming.
  • Eight hearty breakfasts and six delicious dinners
  • Two daily refreshment stops, stocked with fruit, snacks and beverages
  • Evening entertainment, including music and historical presentations
  • Guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums, and other attractions, including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument, and a boat tour through the Lockport locks
  • Kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration
  • Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt and water bottle
  • Baggage transport
  • SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support
  • Daily maps and cue sheets
  • Painted and arrowed routes
  • Pre-departure info packet, including training tips
  • Recognition as a Cycle the Erie Canal End-to-Ender
  • Amenities (for an additional fee) including fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up, and evening massage

The free Rider Handbook offers everything you need to prepare!

The Cycle the Erie Canal Rider Handbook is a free, comprehensive guide to the tour. It includes everything you need to know about the ride: training and gear; travel and registration; daily itineraries and meals. This convenient resource is the go-to guide for planning and participating in the ride.

Stay connected to receive the latest info

Learn how you can get a discount on your registration

Become a member

Parks & Trails New York is the leading statewide not-for-profit organization working to expand, protect, and promote parks and trails in New York State including the Erie Canalway Trail. Become a member and receive exclusive member benefits, including a discount on this year's bike tour:

  • $35 members get $15 off
  • $50 members get $25 off
  • $100 members get $50 off
  • $250 members get $100 off
  • $500 members get $200 off

Volunteer on the Ride

Both riders and non-riding participants can volunteer to help out during the ride. Volunteers who commit to the entire tour ride for free. Time commitments are detailed here. There are many volunteer possibilities available, including SAG and luggage truck drivers, rest stop help, route marking and more!

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors and tourism partners

Premier State Sponsor


Heritage Sponsor


Supporting Sponsors


Event Sponsors




Tourism Sponsors






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