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Poolsbrook Park, Kirkville, NY

Old Erie Canal

Location Overview

Imagine paddling on the nations first 'super highway', used by the canal boats in the 1800's. Still much the same as it was then, it's possible to put in at this location, or Cedar Bay in DeWitt to the west, or in the village of Chittenango NY to the east in two locations, one at the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum on Lakeport Road, or just east a bit at the village site on Legion Drive. We have paddled the entire ten miles or so, going from west to east with the slow moving current. We've also gone the other way without much extra effort.
Still forty feet wide (some wider sections) and about four feet deep, just like the original canal, the bottom is a bit mucky and with plant growth which in later spring and summer does reach the surface. You'll paddle under a few bridges, about four feet of clearance, right along side the towpath where the mules pulled the boats each way. Walkers/runners and bicyclists use this towpath now. Some fallen trees may be in the water, but these can be paddled around. There are two aqueducts you'll paddle through, one over Limestone Creek in Fayetteville, the other just before Chittenango over the Chittenango Creek. Both of these creeks were water feeders for the canal, not in use for the moment. There's one working feeder in DeWitt that used to use water supplied by Butternut Creek, but now uses Meadowbrook Creek. You can see where this feeds the canal in DeWitt on Butternut Drive, and also put in here just before the third aqueduct over Butternut Creek if you want. Can be quite shallow here, and you can paddle over this aqueduct too heading east. This aqueduct and the one in Fayetteville are no longer full width, but have a channel about four feet wide.
No power craft of any kind allowed, and even on a windy day, the water doesn't kick up too bad.

  • Launch Point
  • Free Parking
  • Seasonal Bathrooms

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