Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour Register Now

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

Buffalo to Albany July 11 – 18, 2021

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Every summer, 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 eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States.

Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now more than 85 percent complete and the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.

2021 Cycle the Erie Canal Tour Info CTEC 21 COVID RIDE POLICY

We are excited to be offering our traditional eight-day adventure from Buffalo to Albany in 2021.

With the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the safety of our riders, volunteers, staff, vendors, and local community members is at the forefront of our planning.

Our first step has been to limit the size of group to be able to better comply with COVID-19 regulations for capacity in dining, in facilities and on the trail. As such, we are limiting the group to 350 participants and volunteers. Four-day registrations will not be accepted and non-rider drivers will not be allowed on the tour this year. To keep everyone safe and meet state and local COVID-19 regulations, registration fees have increased.

Guidelines from NYS state are evolving each week and we will be ready to follow the regulations in place on July 10. We encourage all participants to visit to stay abreast of restrictions that might impact travel plans. We will let you know of any updates or changes.

COVID-19 will be affecting many aspects of the ride and we have considered these impacts in the COVID-19 CTEC 21 ride policy. Please read through the policy as it will be guiding rider logistics regarding camping, dining, showering and day-to-day activities.

We understand that riders will have many questions. You can find the answers to many of your questions on our Cycle the Erie Canal FAQ page. If you have questions that aren't covered there, please email us at and we will do our best to respond in a timely manner.

We are ready to ride and appreciate your patience with the logistical changes that are being implemented.

Get ready for another great adventure, even at six-feet apart!

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: This year we may not have access to indoor facilities, except for emergency shelter. You should plan on a “outdoor” event, including meal seating under tents. Portable toilets and the shower trailer will be available each evening.
  • 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 (Due to Covid-19 we will not know their hours or availability until closer to the tour.)
  • Kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration
  • Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt
  • 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.

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.

▶ Download the 2021 Rider Handbook

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!

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