Believe it or not, Western New York is a cycling paradise, with dozens of accessible and enjoyable rides for casual and serious riders alike! Here is a short list of some of our favorite trails and a little bit about them. As a quick refresher in trail lingo...
Out-and-Back - length of the trail is measured from one end to the other, and back again.
Loop - length of the trail is measured in a loop, starting and ending in the same place.
End-to-End - length of the trail measured from one end to the other WITHOUT going back again.
Lancaster Heritage Trail:
Located between Alden and Depew, this trail is a short, fully paved 8.2 miles out-and-back. One can soak in the bright colors of the sugar maples during the fall or wildflowers during the summer. Please be courteous as the trail is multi-use and is also closed for the hunting season from November to January.
Clarence Bike Path:
Starting at Transit Rd. in East Amherst, the Clarence Bike Path runs 16.6 miles (out-and-back) to the outskirts of Akron. Fully paved and loaded with parking and trail access points, this is the perfect trail for longer fitness rides or short family rides. A few miles further, down the Clarence Akron Path, and you can visit Akron Falls Park!
Lehigh Memory Trail:
This short, 1 mile out-and-back trail is located in Cheektowaga, not far from Buffalo International Airport. Fully paved and with several other parks in the immediate area, this is a great trail to get out on if you want to relax or have a little time to kill.
Shoreline Trail (Buffalo to Tonawanda):
This 16 mile out-and-back posses a little more of a challenge, mixed with on-road and off-road segments, tight turns, and short but steep inclines. What do you get for all of that effort? You get a great view of the Niagara River and a visit to Canalside and the Naval Park! This trail has high foot traffic so be cautious.
Erie Canalway Trail:
The Erie Canal is the waterway that shaped our nation and for many Western New Yorker's, it in our back yard! Running 365 miles end-to-end from Buffalo to Albany, the ECT is the most travelled bike path in the state. The trail itself ranges from road to rail trail, pavement to gravel, with countless historical sites and attractions to visit. Go for a day ride or a multiday bikepacking adventure! For more information, please visit the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor website for maps, guides, and trip planning resources.
Tonawanda Rail Trail:
At 6.7 miles end-to-end, this fully paved rail trail passes through some nice urban areas, with plenty of shops and restaurants to visit along the way. Although the trail is locate in a dense urban region, there are plenty of quite stretches away from the sounds of the city.
Ellicott Creek Trailway:
Another hidden gem of a trailway, Ellicott Creek offers two massive parks at either end of it's 5.7 mile length as well as a plethora of bird watching opportunities. Fully paved, this trail is an easy ride with plenty of parking at either end but is more limited in the middle sections of the trail.
Pat McGee Trail:
A little more remote than the previous trails on this list, running from Salamanca to just south of Cattaraugus, this trail boasts some of the best views of northern Appalachia in the area. Whether its the fall colors or the wildlife that draws you in, the Pat McGee Trail is perfect for nature lovers! At 12.1 miles end-to-end, the trail is mostly gravel double track and offers a mild elevation profile for a good workout ride.
Chautauqua Rail to Trail:
For those seeking a longer, more adventurous ride, the Chautauqua Rail to Trail is perfect. At 24.3 miles end-to-end, this trail will take you through forests, the Chautauqua Lake shoreline, and the less traveled backroads of WNY. The trail poses a moderate challenge with mild elevation gain, mixed riding of on-road and gravel double track, and minimal navigation.
Allegany River Valley Trail:
For an easier ride someplace new, the Allegany River Valley Trail has everything from easy gravel paths to parks and scenic views. Located in the heart of Olean, this 6 mile loop is a breeze with plenty of places to visit in town as well!
For more information on trail conditions, reviews, photos, maps, and more, visit www.alltrails.com and simply search for the trail you'd like to experience!
Have suggestions on additional places to ride in WNY? Please leave a comment!