When they opened in 1915, the five locks of the Waterford Flight combined to form the highest lift in the shortest distance on any canal in the world. They raise and lower boats 169 feet in just over 1-1/2 miles, connecting the Hudson River with the Mohawk River above Cohoes Falls. Tugs, barges, and canal motorships used to line up to transit the flight.
Today pleasure boats and paddle craft outnumber commercial vessels passing through the Waterford Flight. The NYS Canal System is central to an emerging world-class recreation corridor that also includes the Empire State Trail and the NYS Canalway Water Trail. No other state in the nation boasts more than 850 miles of interconnected navigable inland waterways and 750 miles of continuous trails. Festivals such as the Tugboat Roundup and annual paddling events introduce thousands of people to the nation’s most famous canal each year.