CHENANGO CANAL HERITAGE TRAIL:
BOUCKVILLE-HAMILTON, NEW YORK
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: August 02, 2011
Length: Chenango Canal Towpath; 6.7 miles.
O & W Rail Trail; 1.4 miles.
Feeder Canal Towpath; Not yet checked out.
Difficulty: Moderate. Flat trail with many different surfaces; Grass, hard packed dirt, cinder & woodchips.
To Start from Montgomery St in Hamilton; Follow Route 12B into Hamilton from either the north or south. Travel west on Montgomery St. Parking is located at the Courthouse/Community Center. The trail starts directly across from the gas station by a brown hiking sign.
To start from the Canal Museum in Bouckville; From Routes 20 & 26 in Bouckville, the Canal Museum is located at the intersection of Canal Rd.
The Chenango Canal Heritage Trail follows the Chenango Canal Corridor. Because some sections of the canal have been abandoned or returned to private ownership, some of the trail uses sections of the O & W RR right of way. Three different trails are located in this corridor; Chenango Canal Towpath, O & W Rail Trail and Feeder Canal Towpath. The Chenango Canal Towpath was built and operated in the mid-19th century in Upstate New York. It was 97 miles long and for much of its course followed the Chenango River, from Binghamton on the south end to Utica on the north end. It operated from 1834 to 1878 and provided a significant link in the water transportation system of the northeastern U.S., connecting the Susquehanna River to the Erie Canal. The Chenango Canal was 42 feet wide at the top and 26 feet wide at the bottom and averaged 4 feet deep. It had 116 locks, 11 lock houses, 12 dams and 19 aqueducts. The Chenango was unique in that it was the first reservoir-fed canal in the U.S. In this design, reservoirs were created and feeder canals were dug to bring water to the summit level of the canal. In 1878 the canal was abandoned with the arrival of the O & W RR. For more information visit; CHENANGO CANAL & CHENANGO TRAIL . Another trail section along the canal is located north in Deansboro. See; Chenango Canal Towpath .
Starting from Montgomery St in Hamilton; A map/informational signboard is located near the start of the Chenango Canal Towpath which heads north alongside the Chenango Canal. The trail combines woodchips, grass and gravel surfaces as it heads through a wooded corridor before entering some fields where it hooks left and travels past the end of the Hamilton Municipal Airport. This brings you to a Trail Intersection at about 0.7 miles.
Note; Left (south) brings you to the O & W Rail Trail; See below.
Continuing right (north) along the woodchip trail you travel alongside the runway. Check out the wind turbines in the distance. At 0.9 miles you leave the runway behind and head into the woods along a hard packed grass & dirt path. Cross a culvert at 1.1 miles over a stream. The trail is now open as it follows the remnants of an old road. Cross a farmers road at 1.4 miles and head past the gate along a grass lined gravel road. You'll return alongside the canal at 1 3/4 miles. An informational sign here describes the canals feeder system. This was part of the West Branch Feeder Canal. Also, to your right is a small shed with a covered picnic table and bench. The hard packed grass trail follows alongside the cleared canal, which is part of the Woodman Pond Wildlife Refugee. Occasional views of Woodman Pond on your right. Warning, watch out for sunken holes along the path, they'll jar your teeth. Cross Woodman Pond Rd at 2 1/4 miles and continue alongside the canal where you'll find more informational signs. The trail veers away from the canal and travels past a farmers field on a hard packed dirt road before crossing Route 46 over to Canal Rd at 3.5 miles. The soft grass trail then parallels Canal Rd on the right and the overgrown canal on your left. Tough biking. I utilized Canal Rd along this section. The trail then passes a map board before coming to the Canal Museum in Bouckville, just off Route 20 at 5.1 miles.
Note; You may take a quick detour right along Route 20 to check out first, an 1850 stone Ye Old Landmark Tavern on the right, followed by the old Canal House on the left and finally the old Bouckville Depot at 0.2 miles. The old Canal House has beautiful original tin ceilings inside.
Cross Route 20 where Canal Rd continues. Below to your left the trail continues alongside the canal as well. However, if biking, a set of stairs lead down to the trail and you'd have to carry your bike down. Instead continue along Canal Rd for 0.3 miles and just across from the Cider House Campground entrance will be a gravel path down to the canal trail. Continue north along the soft grass lined trail. Well shaded but some tree root and divot issues. Pass by a map board as you come up to Canal Rd and Elm St at 6.5 miles. The trail continues north on the opposite side of the road but abruptly ends at 6.7 miles.
Note; If you return alongside Canal Rd, check out the 1840 Inn along the left.
O & W RAIL TRAIL:
From the Trail Intersection head Left (south). Follow the woodchip path 0.2 miles out to Eaton Rd. Cross Eaton Rd and head left, then turn right along the old rail trail. Look for the brown hiking sign. Follow the tree lined corridor along the hard packed grass & cinder trail with fields to your right and residential along the left. You'll soon be following a gravel road past old factory buildings and the old "blue" Hamilton Depot, built in 1899 before coming to Lebanon St at 0.9 miles. Cross over to the wide hard packed grass trail that travels to the left of the big red building. Check out the informational sign about the O & W RR. The trail then ends at College St after 1.4 miles.
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CLICK HERE FOR MAP
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