The cross-state east-west route of the New York State Canal System (formerly known as the New York State Barge Canal).  Its construction began in 1817. The canal contains 36 locks and a total elevation differential of about 565 feet (172 m). 

The Erie Canal, which once went through the center of the village of Lyons, was rerouted to the south when it was enlarged in the 1850s.

Lyons is part of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Erie Canal Lock 27 is located below the bridge on Leach Road, just off N.Y. Route 31. It was built around 1913, and has a lift of 12.5 feet (3.81 m) to the west.

In 2000, the United States Congress designated the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, to recognize the national significance of the canal system as the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America.  The Erie Canal is mainly used by recreational watercraft since the retirement of the last large commercial ship in 1994, the canal saw a recovery in commercial traffic in 2008.