Champlain Canal

Champlain Canal Home Albany to Troy Waterford to Schuylerville Fort Edward to Whitehall HistoryPhotos Locks
Champlain Canal Facts

A large yacht entering a lock.
Length: 60 Miles
Depth: 12 Feet
Bridge Clearance: 17 Feet
Elevation Change: 141 Feet
Number of Locks: 11 Locks
Speed Limit: 10 MPH (man-made sections)
Canal Towns Waterford
Fort Edward


The Champlain Canal follows the traditional Native American route that connects the Hudson River to Lake Champlain and eventually the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Officially beginning at Waterford where the Erie Canal departs from the Hudson River, the 60 mile long Champlain Canal continues upstream along the Hudson River to Fort Edward. At Fort Edward, the canal branches away from the Hudson River towards Whitehall. Whitehall lies at the base of Lake Champlain, where boaters can continue to travel northwards enjoying the picturesque beauty of Lake Champlain. For the transient boater, one can continue to travel northward to Montreal, Canada via the Chambly Canal and the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

The modern day canal is part of New York State Canal System and the Lakes to Locks Passage in honor of the route's importance to the freedom of the United States. Along this route there are many historic places to visit, many of which were key towns in independence of our the United States.

The Hudson River portion of the Champlain Canal is wide and lined with houses. As one approaches Fort Edward and the man-made portion of the canal, the houses fade and scenic fields line the canal. Cows walk right up to the canal for water. The 60 miles of canal really have something for everyone; check out each town to see what you will like.

Champlain Canal History

Main article: Old Champlain Canal

The waterway route connecting New York City with Montreal via the Hudson River, Wood Creek, Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River has played a critical role in the history of New York and the United States. Many famous battles have taken place along this route including Native American conflicts and battles of the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

On April 15, 1817, to enhance trade in the area and export precious raw materials out of the Champlain Valley, a bill was passed by New York Legislators which appropriated funds and created a committee to build a navigable waterway connecting the Lower Hudson River with Lake Champlain (as well as the Lower Hudson River with Lake Erie...the Erie Canal). Six years later the Champlain Canal was officially opened on September 10, 1823 simultaneously with the stretch of Erie Canal from Albany to Rochester. The 64 mile waterway between Whitehall and Waterford consisted of 46.5 miles of artificial channel and 17.5 miles improved river.

The canal was enlarged many times and the current Champlain Canal primarily uses the Hudson River from Waterford to Fort Edward and parallels the original canal from Fort Edward to Whitehall at the foot of Lake Champlain. There are numerous remains of the former canals and feeders, primarily in Waterford (Now used a a feeder for Lock E2) and Glens Falls. The Glens Falls feeder was a navigable canal that also supplied water to the Champlain Canal to prevent low water levels in times of drought; today this feeder canal and the remains of its locks are easily viewable by taking a walk or bike ride on the old tow path. There are efforts underway to further restore this historic waterway.

Champlain Canal Guide

The Champlain Canal is a 60 mile canal that connects the Hudson River at Waterford to southern Lake Champlain at Whitehall. Beginning from the south at Waterford, the northbound trip along the Champlain Canal can be made as a day trip by fast movers and take three to four days (or more!) days of exploration for others.

This historic route passes from the largely settled Hudson River near Albany north through the small quaint towns of Mechanicville, Schuylerville, and Fort Edward before branching away from the Hudson River into an artificial channel. Here the route leaves civilization and is lined by farm fields and trees as it continues north entering the lower Champlain Valley with the Adirondack Mountains visible to the West and Green Mountains to the East. At the northern terminus of Whitehall, the canal ends and southern end of Lake Champlain begins.

This guide is split into three regions:

  1. Champlain Canal Guide: Albany to Troy
  2. Champlain Canal Guide: Waterford to Schuylerville
  3. Champlain Canal Guide: Fort Edward to Whitehall.

Free Docking, Boat Launches, and Marinas Along the Champlain Canal

Free Public Walls

Boat Launches

  • Waterford, Small ramp at the end of the 1st street parking lot. Car-top and small vessels only.
  • Lock C1, Nice paved ramp with floating dock on north side of lock.
  • Schuylerville, Single lane paved ramp with floating docks. Access via Tow-Path Road (look for signs).
  • Whitehall, Single paved at southern southern end of visitor's park, south of Skenesboro Museum.


  • Lock 1 Marina, 461 Hudson River Rd., Waterford, NY 12188, (518) 238-1321
  • Admiral's Marina, 288 N. Hudson Ave., Stillwater, NY 12170, (518) 664-9093
  • Alcover Marina & Pub, 886 Route 4 South, Schuylerville, NY 12178, (518) 695-6079
  • Schuylerville Yacht Basin, One Ferry St., Schuylerville, NY 12871, (518) 695-3193
  • Whitehall Marina, 11 N. Main St., Whitehall, NY 12887, (518) 499-9700, fax: (518) 499-9701
  • Liberty Eatery, 16 N. Williams Street, Whitehall, NY 12887, (518) 499-0301
  • Lock 12 Marina, 82 N. Williams St., Whitehall, NY 12887, (518) 499-2049

Champlain Canal
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