Tonawanda Rails to Trails

While you're getting outside, please leave no trace for the safety of the land and pack the ten essentials for your safety.

The Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks & Recreation reports, “This 3.9 mile trail is composed of two segments on top of a former railroad bed in the Town of Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda.”

The town has a useful map which identifies points of interest in the town. The trail even has its own Facebook page. The celebration of trail completion highlighted new technology implemented for crosswalks at Sheridan Dr, Englewood Avenue and Brighton Road.

The south end of Tonawanda Rail Trail connects to the north end of the North Buffalo Rails to Trails at Kenmore Ave.

Trail Surface

The trail is completely paved and well maintained with parking lots at both ends that have accessible curbs.

Please consider carefully whether this trail surface is adequate for your activity.

Restrooms

There are no public restrooms at the trailheads or along the trail.

Points of Interest

Here’s a surprise along the trail: a disco ball tree “in loving memory of Walter and Carol Kuziak.”

History

From Town of Tonawanda Youth, Parks & Recreation:

The railroad corridor was operated for both freight and passenger service dating back to the 1880’s. Two track systems were in place. A westerly set of tracks was primarily operated for passenger and freight service by a succession of companies beginning with New York & Erie Railroad Co., thru the Erie-Lackawanna railway to 1968. The International Railway Company operated passenger service between Buffalo and Niagara falls from about 1918 to 1937 on the easterly set of tracks. In 1988, the NFTA acquired the right-of-way from the Consolidated Rail Corporation thru New York State legislation. This trail is contracted atop the westerly railroad bed.

In 2002, Erie County initiated the rail to trail project, seeking federal funding and working with partners at the New York State Department of Transportation, NFTA, Town of Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda on the project planning and funding mechanisms as well as the operation and maintenance needs. This trail, constructed in 2016 by Erie County, is operated by the Town of Tonawanda and City of Tonawanda in their respective jurisdictions thru a cooperative agreement with the NFTA.

Hiking Solo (and Running, etc.)

Suppose you can do the whole point-to-point trail distance but not the out and back. If you don’t have multiple cars to stage at trailhead start and end, consider using Uber or Lyft to get a ride back to where you parked. Since this trail is in a populated area, you won’t have long to wait for a ride. I’ve done this several times because I usually hike solo.

Trail Summary

Distance 4 miles point to point 8 miles out and back
Elevation gain 7 feet  
Trail surface Asphalt  
Difficulty Easy  
Point of Interest 42.98268, -78.85057 Disco ball tree
State Street Parking 43.01154, -78.86647 5 spaces + 2 handicap, paved, striped
Kenmore Ave Parking 42.95865, -78.83729 6 spaces + 2 handicap, paved, striped

Avenza Map

  • Load the PDF map into Avenza app on your smartphone in one of these ways:
    1. From your smartphone’s browser, tap this magic link to load the map directly into Avenza. QR Code
    2. From Avenza app’s Import Maps function, scan this QR code.
  • Be sure to do this when you have good internet connection. Don’t wait until you are at the trailhead!

For more information about trail maps, see the Maps page.

Load Avenza Map into browser