Sailing Over the Appalachian Mountains on the Erie Canal

In the summer of 2016, I took a little trip from St Michaels, MD to Port Huron, MI. My route took 5 weeks and 1,162 Nautical Miles and across the Appalachian Mountains via the Erie Canal.

When I reached Albany NY I took down the mast and the real work began.  My first lock was at Troy NY at an elevation of 15 feet above sea level.  The Erie Canal lifted my boat to a height of 420 ft. in Whitesboro, NY. and back down the mountain range to Phoenix, NY where we took a right on the Oswego Canal.

The Oswego Canal continued to bring the boat back down the mountain ending up on Lake Ontario at 244 ft. It was great fun sailing across the lake and it took two days to reach Ft Niagara NY.

I entered the Welland Canal at 246 ft. and it lifted my boat to 547 ft above sea level. The Welland Canal is operated by Canada and was it made the Erie and Oswego Canals look like a child’s toy. This canal is built for the big freight liners.

From the days of the birchbark canoe, the early trade routes of the Northeast utilized New York’s waterways. The Lake Champlain-Hudson River Route and the Lake Ontario-Oswego River-Mohawk River Route were utilized by Native Americans, fur traders, missionaries and colonizers. Fortification along these routes still stands as testimony to their importance in exploration, trade, and settlement.

— Erie Canal Museum, A Brief History of the Erie Canal

Erie Canal

Lock #LocationElevationLift or DropDistance to Next Lock
Troy LockTroy15.3 ft (4.7 m)14.0 ft (4.3 m)E2, 2.66 mi (4.28 km)
E2Waterford48.9 ft (14.9 m)33.6 ft (10.2 m)E3, 0.46 mi (0.74 km)
E3Waterford83.5 ft (25.5 m)34.6 ft (10.5 m)E4, 0.51 mi (0.82 km)
E4Waterford118.1 ft (36.0 m)34.6 ft (10.5 m)E5, 0.27 mi (0.43 km)
E5Waterford151.4 ft (46.1 m)33.3 ft (10.1 m)E6, 0.28 mi (0.45 km)
E6Crescent184.4 ft (56.2 m)33.0 ft (10.1 m)E7, 10.92 mi (17.57 km)
E7Vischer Ferry211.4 ft (64.4 m)27.0 ft (8.2 m)E8, 10.97 mi (17.65 km)
E8Scotia225.4 ft (68.7 m)14.0 ft (4.3 m)E9, 5.03 mi (8.10 km)
E9Rotterdam240.4 ft (73.3 m)15.0 ft (4.6 m)E10, 5.95 mi (9.58 km)
E10Cranesville255.4 ft (77.8 m)15.0 ft (4.6 m)E11, 4.27 mi (6.87 km)
E11Amsterdam267.4 ft (81.5 m)12.0 ft (3.7 m)E12, 4.23 mi (6.81 km)
E12Tribes Hill278.4 ft (84.9 m)11.0 ft (3.4 m)E13, 9.60 mi (15.45 km)
E13Yosts286.4 ft (87.3 m)8.0 ft (2.4 m)E14, 7.83 mi (12.60 km)
E14Canajoharie294.4 ft (89.7 m)8.0 ft (2.4 m)E15, 3.35 mi (5.39 km)
E15Fort Plain302.4 ft (92.2 m)8.0 ft (2.4 m)E16, 6.72 mi (10.81 km)
E16St. Johnsville322.9 ft (98.4 m)20.5 ft (6.2 m)E17, 7.97 mi (12.83 km)
E17Little Falls363.4 ft (110.8 m)40.5 ft (12.3 m)E18, 4.20 mi (6.76 km)
E18Jacksonburg383.4 ft (116.9 m)20.0 ft (6.1 m)E19, 11.85 mi (19.07 km)
E19Frankfort404.4 ft (123.3 m)21.0 ft (6.4 m)E20, 10.28 mi (16.54 km)
E20Whitesboro420.4 ft (128.1 m)16.0 ft (4.9 m)E21, 18.10 mi (29.13 km)
E21New London395.4 ft (120.5 m)−25.0 ft (−7.6 m)E22, 1.32 mi (2.12 km)
E22New London370.1 ft (112.8 m)−25.3 ft (−7.7 m)E23, 28.91 mi (46.53 km)
E23Brewerton363.0 ft (110.6 m)−7.1 ft (−2.2 m)E24, 18.77 mi (30.21 km)

Oswego Canal

Lock #LocationElevationLift or DropDistance to Next Lock
O1Phoenix352.8 ft (107.5 m)−10.2 ft (−3.1 m)O2, 9.33 mi (15.02 km)
O2Fulton335.0 ft (102.1 m)−17.8 ft (−5.4 m)O3, 0.58 mi (0.93 km)
O3Fulton308.0 ft (93.9 m)−27.0 ft (−8.2 m)O5, 6.43 mi (10.35 km)
O5Minetto290.0 ft (88.4 m)−18.0 ft (−5.5 m)O6, 3.29 mi (5.29 km)
O6Oswego270.0 ft (82.3 m)−20.0 ft (−6.1 m)O7, 0.67 mi (1.08 km)
O7Oswego255.5 ft (77.9 m)−14.5 ft (−4.4 m)O8, 0.44 mi (0.71 km)
O8Oswego244.4 ft (74.5 m)−11.1 ft (−3.4 m)Lake Ontario, 0.68 mi (1.09 km)

The Welland Canal

Welland Canal Ontario Canada
The Dread Pirate Dave

David is the Editor in Chief of Postcards From the Edge. I was born on a cold November morning on the showy plains of Colorado. Like my father, before me, I am an American Nomad.

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