Historic Trails

Old Erie Canal State Historic Park

The Old Erie Canal State Historic Park contains the longest and one of the only remaining portions of the original Erie Canal system begun in 1817. The park also includes an off-road towpath trail that stretches 36 miles from DeWitt through Chittenango, Canastota, Wampsville, Oneida and onto Rome. Numerous trails and routes connect into this State Park linking you to surrounding communities, restaurants, and even more sites! Let this comprehensive Old Erie Canal Corridor Map (PDF) be your guide to a canalway adventure!

Follow the Old Erie Canal on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OldErieCanal/

TourTheTowpath.com is a great resource for anyone looking to explore the trail by bike. This website is maintained by the Old Erie Canal Community Working Group. It contains information about communities and amenities around the Old Erie Canal. It also has information about special events including the Tour the Towpath bike ride and the Erie Canal Boat Float kayaking event. 

Heritage Trail Maps

In December 2005, the Madison County Planning Department, on behalf of the Madison County Bicentennial Commission, received funding from the General Fund of the Central New York Community Foundation for a 2006 Heritage Trails project that has resulted in the establishment of these four trails:

Madison County Architecture & Preservation Trail

The Madison County Architecture and Preservation Trail (PDF) identifies buildings selected at each of Madison County’s sixteen Townships that best represent their social, economic, and cultural history. In addition to reflecting the composition of early settlers of the County and the unique style of architecture typical of the times, this Trail features buildings associated with individuals who participated in the abolitionist movement, the building of the Erie Canal, and another movement in our country’s history, the formation of Utopian societies.

Madison County Freedom Trail

The Madison County Freedom Trail (PDF) marks countywide sites of the Underground Railroad that have been identified and researched by the Madison County Freedom Trail Commission. This Commission was created in 2001 by the County Board of Supervisors to ensure that steps were taken to identify and preserve the historic resources of the County related to the Underground Railroad and the struggle to end slavery in the United States. The Madison County Freedom Trail recognizes former Madison County residents who provided significant local community leadership in the struggle to end slavery in the United States. This Trail provides a missing link to the Heritage New York Trail, the statewide Underground Railroad Trail, and the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom, the National Underground Railroad Trail.

Madison County History Trail

The Madison County History Trail (PDF) marks the locations of twenty historical organizations in the County and highlights the history of each Township. These diverse cultural institutions contain special exhibits featuring photographs, area artifacts, period clothing, furniture, memorabilia, and genealogical material which tells the story of the life of Madison County’s earlier generations.

Madison County Hop Heritage Trail

The Madison County Hop Heritage Trail (PDF) marks hop kilns and other related hop sites still in existence that document the agricultural impact and history of commercial hop production in Madison County and New York State. Hops were grown in a seven county area of which Madison, Oneida, and Otsego County were the highest producers.

Marked with numbered cast aluminum signage designed in the shape of the map of Madison County, these historic theme trails collectively span the 661 square miles of the County. By traveling down these thematic trails, individuals can learn more about the physical, economic, cultural, and social changes that have taken place in the towns, villages, hamlets, and countryside of Madison County