The Portage Trail is a route used by early Indians to travel from Lake Erie to Chautauqua Lake. The trail is regarded an important part of American history. It aided the settlement of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley.
Early settlers living in the area used The Portage Trail route. Prior to the spread of railroads in the 1850’s it was an essential connection between the Great Lakes, Western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley.
Our adventure begins by driving 131 miles from Rochester west on I-90 to Westfield New York. Then exit at Westfield to route 394 south.
The Portage Trail starts at Barcelona Harbor on Lake Erie traveling southeast over somewhat hilly landscape. It passes Buttermilk Fall in Little Chautauqua Creek gorge along the creek bed for 12.5 miles. Chautauqua Gorge is 100 foot deep over 7 miles between Westfield and Mayville.
The trail ends in Mayville at the northern end of Chautauqua Lake. Elevation changes from 570’ at Lake Erie, the trails highest point at 1400’ ending at Lake Chautauqua’s 1310 feet. Fit hikers may hike the trail in four hours at a brisk rate. Less fit hikers will take hours longer.
Westfield was first settled 1802 in the western part of New York, at the junction of route 20 and route 394. The harbor area of Westfield is named Barcelona. The harbor of Barcelona has a historic Lighthouse, a boat launch with fishing on Lake Erie.
The Chautauqua Creek flows 15 miles in a northern direction through the village of Westfield into Lake Erie. The creek is stocked with brown trout but is better known for the highest catch rate of steelhead of 1.4 steelhead per fishing hour.
The village of Mayville has a total area of 2 square miles bordering scenic Chautauqua Lake. The village resides at the intersection of route 394 and route 430 south of interstate 90 thruway.
Chautauqua Lake is nearly 17 miles long, 2 miles wide with a maximum depth of 78 feet within Chautauqua County of New York state. The lake water flows south at Jamestown into Chadakoin River later into the Allegheny River in Warren, Pennsylvania.
There are several translations of the lake’s name. The translation Place Where Fish are Taken seems appropriate. the lake is well known for its excellent Muskellunge fishing. Chautauqua Lake is a popular recreation destination for boating as well as fishing.
The Lake Erie-Westfield KOA Kampground, Westfield is located just east of Barcelona Harbor, 300 yards from Lake Erie. It has 110 campsites with hot showers, two pools, game room and a playground. A creek flows through the campground with pond fishing for Bass or perch. There is pier fishing nearby in Lake Erie.
This appears to be a favorable spot for a weekend trip for a family. There are a variety of activities appealing to anyone that loves the outdoors. It even has a touch of history that can be relived.