Champlain Canal

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Champlain Canal
Lock 12 of the Champlain Canal in Whitehall, NY.JPG
Lock C-12 in Whitehall, New York
Modern route of the Champlain Canal
LocationNew York State
CountryUnited States
Coordinates43°26′31″N 73°26′48″W / 43.44194°N 73.44667°W / 43.44194; -73.44667Coordinates: 43°26′31″N 73°26′48″W / 43.44194°N 73.44667°W / 43.44194; -73.44667
Lock length328 feet (100 m)
Lock width45 ft (14 m)
Maximum boat length300 feet (91 m)
Maximum boat beam43.5 feet (13.3 m)
Maximum boat draft12 feet (3.7 m)
StatusOpen (seasonal)
Date approved1817
Date completedSeptember 10, 1823
Start pointHudson River
End pointLake Champlain
Branch ofNew York State Canal System
Connects toErie Canal
Route map
Lake Champlain
Smiths Basin
Town of Fort Edward
Village of Fort Edward
Hudson River
Crockers Reef Guard Gate
Fort Miller
Troy Federal Lock
Champlain Canal
LocationRensselaer, Saratoga, and Washington counties, New York, US; extends from Waterford through Fort Edward to Whitehall
ArchitectWright, Benjamin;
Jarvis, John B.
Architectural styleTransportation Canal
NRHP reference No.76001274 [1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 1, 1976

The Champlain Canal is a 60-mile (97 km) canal in New York that connects the Hudson River to the south end of Lake Champlain. It was simultaneously constructed with the Erie Canal for use by commercial vessels, fully opening in 1823. Today, it is mostly used by recreational boaters as part of the New York State Canal System and Lakes to Locks Passage.


An early proposal made in the 1790s by Marc Isambard Brunel for a Hudson River–Lake Champlain canal was not approved. Another proposal for the canal was made in 1812 and construction authorized in 1817. By 1818, 12 miles (19 km) were completed, and in 1819 the canal was opened from Fort Edward to Lake Champlain. The canal was officially opened on September 10, 1823.[2] It was an immediate financial success, and carried substantial commercial traffic until the 1970s.[citation needed]

In 1903, New York authorized the expansion of the Champlain Canal—along with the Erie, Oswego, and Cayuga–Seneca Canals—into the "New York State Barge Canal."[3] The project broke ground in 1905 and was completed in 1918.[4] The "Barge Canal" name fell out of use in 1992.

The abandoned Lake Champlain Seaway proposal would have upgraded the Champlain Canal into a ship canal, easing marine transport between New York City and Montreal.

Perspective map of Mechanicville from the late 19th century by L.R. Burleigh showing the Champlain Canal and Hudson River


Tug and barge on the Champlain Canal during the 1980s

The Champlain Canal begins about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the locks at the Troy Federal Dam, at the point where the Erie Canal splits from the Hudson River. The canal follows the Hudson River north for approximately 35 miles (56 km), with six locks providing navigation around dams on the Hudson River, until it reaches lock C-7 in Fort Edward, New York. At this point, the canal follows a constructed channel for approximately 25 miles (40 km), with five additional locks, bringing the canal to the southern end of Lake Champlain at Whitehall, New York.

The elevation on the Hudson River portion increases from 15 feet (4.6 m) above sea level at the southern end, on the northern end of the locks at the Troy Federal Dam, to about 130 feet (40 m) above sea level at lock C-7, where the canal leaves the Hudson River. The elevation of the constructed portion reaches a peak of 140 feet (43 m) above sea level between locks C-9 and C-11, then declines to the level of Lake Champlain, between 94 and 100 feet (29 and 30 m) above sea level, at Whitehall.[5] By traveling the length of Lake Champlain, boaters can access the Richelieu River and Chambly Canal, which connect Lake Champlain to the Saint Lawrence River.


Second-generation water supply locks (the five combines), built to supply water from the Hudson River to the Champlain Canal, Glens Falls Feeder, Fort Edward, NY. Also utilized as secondary locks to navigate from Glen's Falls to the Champlain Canal. Not in use.

The following list of locks is provided for the current canal, from south to north. There are a total of 11 locks on the Champlain Canal.

All locks on the New York State Canal System are single-chamber; the dimensions are 328 feet (100 m) long and 45 feet (13.7 m) wide with a minimum 12-foot (3.7 m) depth of water over the miter sills at the upstream gates upon lift. They can accommodate a vessel up to 300 feet (91 m) long and 43.5 feet (13.3 m) wide.[6][7][8] Overall sidewall height will vary by lock, ranging between 28 feet (8.5 m) and 61 feet (18.6 m) depending on the lift and navigable stages.[9]

There is no Lock C10 on the Champlain Canal. The Troy Federal Lock, located just north of Troy, New York, is not part of the New York State Canal System proper; it is operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.[6] The Champlain Canal officially begins at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers at Waterford, New York.

Distance is based on position markers from an interactive canal map provided online by the New York State Canal Corporation and may not exactly match specifications on signs posted along the canal. Mean surface elevations are comprised from a combination of older canal profiles and history books as well as specifications on signs posted along the canal.[6][10][11] The margin of error should normally be within 6 inches (15.2 cm).

Lock # Location Elevation




Lift or Drop Distance to Next Lock


Troy Federal Lock * Troy 15.3 ft (4.7 m) 1.3 ft (0.40 m) 14.0 ft (4.3 m) C1, 5.41 mi (8.71 km)
C1 Waterford 29.6 ft (9.0 m) 15.3 ft (4.7 m) 14.3 ft (4.4 m) C2, 3.94 mi (6.34 km)
C2 Halfmoon 48.1 ft (14.7 m) 29.6 ft (9.0 m) 18.5 ft (5.6 m) C3, 2.55 mi (4.10 km)
C3 Mechanicville 67.6 ft (20.6 m) 48.1 ft (14.7 m) 19.5 ft (5.9 m) C4, 1.84 mi (2.96 km)
C4 Stillwater 83.6 ft (25.5 m) 67.6 ft (20.6 m) 16.0 ft (4.9 m) C5, 14.41 mi (23.19 km)
C5 Northumberland 102.6 ft (31.3 m) 83.6 ft (25.5 m) 19.0 ft (5.8 m) C6, 3.73 mi (6.00 km)
C6 Fort Miller 119.1 ft (36.3 m) 102.6 ft (31.3 m) 16.5 ft (5.0 m) C7, 7.13 mi (11.47 km)
C7 Fort Edward 129.1 ft (39.3 m) 119.1 ft (36.3 m) 10.0 ft (3.0 m) C8, 2.18 mi (3.51 km)
C8 Fort Edward 140.1 ft (42.7 m) 129.1 ft (39.3 m) 11.0 ft (3.4 m) C9, 5.83 mi (9.38 km)
C9 Smiths Basin 124.1 ft (37.8 m) 140.1 ft (42.7 m) −16.0 ft (−4.9 m) C11, 9.24 mi (14.87 km)
C11 Comstock 112.1 ft (34.2 m) 124.1 ft (37.8 m) −12.0 ft (−3.7 m) C12, 6.44 mi (10.36 km)
C12 Whitehall 96.6 ft (29.4 m) 112.1 ft (34.2 m) −15.5 ft (−4.7 m) Lake Champlain

All surface elevations are approximate.

* Denotes Federal managed locks.

Lake Champlain has a mean surface elevation ranging between 95 feet (29 m) and 100 feet (30.5 m).


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ Whitford, Nobel E. (1906). "The Champlain Canal". History of the Canal System of the State of New York. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  3. ^ Whitford, Noble E. (1922). History of the Barge Canal of New York State. J. B. Lyon Company. p. 14. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  4. ^ Whitford, Noble E. (1922). History of the Barge Canal of New York State. J. B. Lyon Company. p. 557. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  5. ^ "Champlain Canal Locks". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b c New York State Canal Corporation - Canal Map, New York State Canals, Retrieved Jan. 26, 2015.
  7. ^ New York State Canal Corporation - Frequently Asked Questions, Retrieved Jan. 26, 2015.
  8. ^ The Erie Canal - Locks, Retrieved Jan, 26, 2015.
  9. ^ The Erie Canal, History of the Barge Canal of New York State by Noble E. Whitford, 1921, Chapter 23, Retrieved Jan. 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Wilfred H. Schoff, The New York State Barge Canal, 1915, American Geographical Society, Vol. 47, No. 7, page 498, Retrieved Jan. 26, 2015.
  11. ^ The Erie Canal - Canal Profiles, Retrieved Jan. 6, 2015.

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