kids encyclopedia robot

Champlain Canal facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Champlain Canal
Champlain Canal is located in New York
Champlain Canal
Location in New York
Champlain Canal is located in the United States
Champlain Canal
Location in the United States
Location Rensselaer / Saratoga / Washington counties, New York, US; extends from Waterford through Fort Edward to Whitehall
Built 1823
Architect Wright, Benjamin;
Jarvis, John B.
Architectural style Transportation Canal
NRHP reference No. 76001274
Added to NRHP September 01, 1976

The Champlain Canal is a 60-mile (97 km) canal that connects the south end of Lake Champlain to the Hudson River in New York. It was simultaneously constructed with the Erie Canal and is now part of the New York State Canal System and the Lakes to Locks Passage.

An earlier proposal made in the late 1700s 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. It was an immediate financial success, and carried substantial commercial traffic until the 1970s.

Mechanicville, N.Y. LOC 75694795
Perspective map and of Mechanicville and list of landmarks from late 19th century by L.R. Burleigh showing the Champlain Canal and Hudson River

The enlarged barge canal provides a convenient route from the Atlantic Ocean and Hudson River to Lake Champlain for recreational boaters. The 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 Champlain 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. By traveling the length of Lake Champlain, boaters can access the Chambly Canal, which connects Lake Champlain to the Saint Lawrence River.

Champlain Canal 1980s
Tug and barge on the Champlain Canal during the 1980s


Second-generation water supply locks (the 5 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 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. 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.

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. 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. 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 Smith's 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).

  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. NY-14, "Champlain Canal, Waterford Locks"
  • HAER No. NY-184, "Saunders Street Bridge, spanning Champlain Canal" (replaced)
  • HAER No. NY-235, "Champlain Canal, Wall"

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Canal Champlain para niños

kids search engine
Champlain Canal Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.