Beth and I and her son Jack took a chance at a bicycle ride over the weekend and ended up pedaling through history.

The Erie Canal Bike Trail spans 350 miles across the middle of New York State, from Buffalo to Albany and intersects the Mohawk Valley in Utica and Rome and other cities and towns in Central New York. The stretch from Little Falls toward Canajoharie was the segment we tried, and it was fantastic.

Credit: Dave Coombs/TSM

We began our ride in Little Falls at Canal Place, headed east toward the Capital District, and got to see a bunch of great places of interest. You could take in the cool sights that we saw and a whole lot more during just a portion of this ride, depending on how far you pedal:

  • Erie Canal Lock #17 (once the highest lift lock in the world)
  • Herkimer Home of Revolutionary War hero General Nicholas Herkimer
  • The 1747 Nellis Tavern
  • Rock-climbing spots
  • Railroad trestles
  • Bird-watching spots

The path itself is mostly dirt and fine gravel, and also fairly flat, so you can pedal easily in a comfortable medium gear for miles and miles. For an interactive map and a lot of great info, see bikeeriecanal.com. The Parks and Trials of New York website has a separate listing that's also very useful.