When is the Quest?

The Quest can be completed any time during the month of August 2019 through September 1st.  You can register and begin any day in August.  Similarly, you can complete it all at once or return as many times as you want during the month of August 1st through September 1st.

Where does the Quest take place?

The Quest takes place in the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park in Central New York.  Specifically, this year’s quest is along the Erie Canalway Trail inside the Park and starts at Lock 21 and ends in the Village of Canastota.   The total distance travelled to complete the quest is about 15 miles.  The Erie Canalway Trail that you will travel on is a scenic, tree-lined path that is almost entirely off road that follows along the historic Erie Canal waterway.  Learn more about route here.

What is the preferred mode of travel to complete the Quest?

The Quest is best enjoyed by bike.  The total distance travelled to complete the quest is about 15 miles.  A very recreational bike pace is 10 m.p.h. which means about 1.5 – 2 hours of biking at a leisurely pace.  Assume an additional 1-2 hours to stop to read the letters and find the clues. 

The Quest can also be done on foot.  In this case, we recommend breaking it up over a few different days or weekends.  A good way to break the Quest up is to complete it one letter at a time, i.e. that is do an out-and-back hike from each letter.   There are 5 letters so each one can act as its own mini quest.  Note though, there is an order to the Quest; all participants should start at Lock 21 and continue to each letter in an east to west direction. 

By bike, plan for the Quest to take a half day.  It is possible to break it up and return over multiple days (for instance, if you want to take more time or do the Quest on foot).  This event is designed to take at your own pace and enjoy.  To make the most of this experience, we highly recommend stopping to see sites along the way. 

How long does it take?

This is not a race.  It doesn’t matter if someone finishes before you as all the clues are available to everyone for the entire month of August.

What if others get to the clues first?

The Quest is good for all ages!  It is designed to be done by families, group of friends, couples, adults, and kids (with adult supervision).  At past Tour the Towpath events, we have had cyclists as young as 6 up to 86!  The Quest takes place along the Erie Canalway Trail in the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park; this trail is great for bikers of all skill levels and ages as it is flat and almost entirely off-road; even the two short on-road segments are rural roads with very little traffic.  The mystery to be solved will be enjoyed by people of all ages.

What ages is this good for?  Is this good for kids?

  1. The map you receive after registering

  2. Your bike and helmet

  3. Water and sunscreen

  4. Snacks

  5. Smartphone (for taking pictures to enter the Photo contest)

What do I need to bring?

Yes!  The price is only $10/group and there is no limit to the amount of people in your group. 

Can extra people join me?

The route is on the Erie Canalway Trail in the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park, but just off the trail are several quaint canal-side communities including the City of Oneida, Village of Wampsville, and the Village of Canastota.  The event is set up to take your time and explore what each of these communities has to offer.

What canal-side communities do we go by?

If you are coming from further afield, there is lodging at Days Inn in Canastota, NY.  Birdbrook B&B in Chittenango, NY is also nearby as is lodging at the Oneida Community Mansion House in the City of Oneida.   If you are looking for some of the many other things to see and do in the area for before or after the Quest visit https://www.madisontourism.com/

Where can I stay?

We have done our best to think through all the places people might get stuck, and it is intended for all teams to find all the clues and finish.  There is no guarantee though!  This is set up to be a real mystery!  There are real clues to be found so you will have to pay attention to all the hints given.  However, even if you don’t finish or find all the clues, the journey itself is meant to be a fun experience and adventure.  Similarly, even if you don’t finish you can still enter the photo contest for an opportunity to win the $100 grand prize.   Please use common sense when looking for the clues – we haven’t placed the clues anywhere that is dangerous, requires digging,  or to go on private property, etc – if you are looking somewhere that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!

What if I

don’t find all

the clues?

The Quest is intended to be self-supported.  There is no ride support available.  Please plan accordingly (bring spare bike tires, your cell phone, etc).  Similarly, there is not a way to get more information about the clues.  If you get stuck, refer back to your map and the letters posted on the route.   

What if I get

stumped or

have trouble?

Tour the Towpath Adventure Quest is an event of the Canastota Canal Town Museum and Village of Canastota with support by Madison County and the Old Erie Canal Community Working Group. Proceeds go to the Canastota Canal Town Museum, a non-profit which offers a history of the Old Erie Canal and brings to life local folklore and history.

Who is putting on the Quest?

Suggestions for transportation?

Drop off/pick up: Someone can drop you off at Lock 21 (the start) and plan to pick you up again at Zem’s Ice Cream in Canastota (the end).

Two cars: Carpool with friends and family to leave one car in Canastota. This way when your group finishes the Quest you end up at a car to drive back to Lock 21.

Bike back: Once you finish the Quest you can also bike back to the start (Lock 21); this would be about a 30 miles total.

Note that parking is available at Zem’s, Lock 21, and all the letter locations.