Through the little town of Macedon, NY runs the reconstructed Erie Canal. The canal is mostly for pleasure crafts these days, paid for by your New York Thruway (I-90) tolls. The canal path is also well-used by cyclists (that would be me), runners, hikers, and even dog sleds in winter (if you believe the stories of some friends with a husky). Last summer, while biking the path, I stumbled across one of the original locks – Lock 60 from the Enlarged Erie Canal, which came after the original “Clinton’s Ditch” and before the current canal.
The lock has gone through some modifications over the years – originally designated as Lock #71 in the original Erie Canal in 1821, it became Lock 60 when the canal was enlarged 20 years later. In 1874, the lock was doubled (from one way to two side-by-side locks), and then it was lengthened in 1888. The lock was shut down in 1914, when the current canal was constructed.
Today all that remains are the lock chambers, grassy and a little overgrown, with small plants and flowers growing between the stones. Nearby, the original canalway “ditch” is visible (although it’s small enough that I wonder if it was just part of the lock workings). Really, it’s very well kept up, and it’s well worth a stop if you’re in the area.
Perhaps the coolest thing was that there really aren’t that many signs – a couple stating that this is Lock 60 Historic Park, and another couple with the history of the lock. That’s about it. There are no picnic tables, no restroom, and, best of all, no signs telling you in no uncertain terms to keep off and stay back.
So we climbed all over it, enthralled by the massive stones and the flowers blooming between slabs, deducing what each odd stone part was used for, and generally enjoying the peace and quiet (we nearly didn’t see another soul – a couple came along after a bit, but that was it).
Overall? Probably not worth driving a whole lot out of your way for (unless you’re a real canal buff), but if you’re in the area, stop by! Five minutes, and you can walk around and inside the old lock chambers, and with 15 or 20 minutes you can explore in depth.
Round Trip Trail Length: Varies. You’ll need to walk from the parking area to the lock chambers, so make that at least 500ft. each way.
Net Elevation Change: About 10 ft.
Trail Notes: You can’t access this from the current canal path (more’s the pity) because the path is on the other side of the current canal from Lock 60 Historic Site. To access from the canal path, at O’Neil Road, head north a short distance (if you’re coming from the east you’ll have to cross the bridge – you’d have to do that anyway to pick up the path on the north side of the canal), then turn right on Quaker Road 0.4 miles to the unassuming dirt parking area on the south (canal) side of the road with the little sign for Lock 60 Historic Site.
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
Key GPS Coordinates for the Lock 60 Historic Site
Parking Area: 43.07006N / -077.28162W (43° 4′ 12.2154″ / -77° 16′ 53.832″) 493ft.
Getting to the Lock 60 Historic Site
From Macedon (junction of Rt-31 and Rt-31F), drive east on Rt-31 (W Main Street). After 0.4 miles, turn left onto O’Neil Road for 0.1 miles (you’ll cross the canal) and then turn right on Quaker Road. After another 0.4 miles, the parking area with an unassuming sign for Lock 60 Historic Site will be on right.
From Palmyra (junction of W Main Street and Canandaigua Street/Church Street aka the junction of Rt-31 and Rt-210), drive north on Church Street (Rt-210) 0.4 miles. After crossing the canal, turn left onto Quaker Road. After 2.7 miles, the unassuming parking area will be on left with a sign for Lock 60 Historic Site.
If you’re coming from I-90, take Exit 43 towards Manchester and Palmyra. Drive north on Rt-21 6.2 miles to the center of the town of Palmyra; take the directions (above) to the park – you’ll go straight at the intersection with Rt-31, then cross the canal and turn left onto Quaker Road.
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If bicycling along the Erie Canal is on your list of things to do, consider checking out this guide with maps of the trail and suggestions on places to stay and eat.
Fri Nov 17
A mix of clouds and sun. High 38F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.
Sat Nov 18
Rain likely. High 47F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%. Rainfall around a half an inch.
Sun Nov 19
Windy. Light snow during the morning will taper off during the afternoon, but it will remain cloudy. High 38F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70%.
Mon Nov 20
Snow showers before noon. Becoming partly cloudy later. High 41F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 40%.
Tue Nov 21
Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 52F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.