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Canalway Challenge Promotes Health and History Along New York’s Canals

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor invites New Yorkers to take part in the Canalway Challenge in 2020, tracing history and tracking miles along New York’s canals and Canalway Trail. Part fitness challenge, part journey of discovery, the Canalway Challenge is free and registration is open to people of all ages and abilities.

“Staying healthy is a #1 priority for everyone right now. The Canalway Challenge is a great way for people to get outside and invest in mental and physical health, while exploring the canals in their local area,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Participants register online and choose a mileage goal of 15, 90, 180, or 360 miles; then walk, run or cycle on the Canalway Trail or paddle safe sections of the NYS Canal System to achieve it. The Canalway Challenge can be done in one big trip or many small ones.

This year’s Challenge runs through the end of October, so people have plenty of time to complete it.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “Set alongside our state’s iconic canals, the Canalway Challenge offers participants an opportunity to enjoy the bucolic landscapes of Upstate New York, exercising their minds and bodies, while also practicing safe social distancing.”

Families are encouraged to use the Canalway Challenge to supplement home-based learning about New York State history. Educational worksheets and learning resources are available from the National Heritage Corridor to complement what children will see while on the trail.

Participants in last year’s Canalway Challenge logged 285,000 miles, the equivalent of circling the Earth 11 times.

Participants should follow all New York State Department of Health guidelines for social distancing, wearing a mask and proper hygiene while on the Canalway Trail and while visiting state parks, historic sites, and communities along the way. Updates are posted

Sign up at

Nearly 200 years after its construction, the Erie Canal remains an iconic symbol of American ingenuity and determination. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor preserves our extraordinary canal heritage, promotes the Corridor as a world-class tourism destination, and fosters vibrant communities connected by more than 500 miles of waterway. We achieve our mission in partnership with the National Park Service, New York State agencies, non-profit organizations, local residents, and more than 200 communities across the full expanse of upstate New York.