Bicycling along the High Peaks Byway
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Take exit 30 off the Adirondack Northway and begin your 30-mile drive on Route 73 to the Olympic Village of Lake Placid. The route climbs through narrow passes flanked by towering mountains, buy sparkling streams, waterfalls and gem-like lakes. The open valley of the Ausable River provides expansive views of the surrounding High Peaks of the Adirondacks.
Road Bike Opportunities
Family Ride – Just north of the byway, the Jay area offers some fairly level, quiet-road rides on the east side of town near the Jay Covered Bridge. A 4-mile loop starts near Douglas Memorial Park at the corner of 9N & Route 86, or near the Jay Covered Bridge. Using North Jay Road, Hazen Road, Haseltine Road and County Route 22, make the loop out and back to the covered bridge. The historic and scenic bridge, recently rebuilt, is near a popular swimming area on the Ausable River.
Moderate Rides – Try River Road Loop in Lake Placid – a popular 10-mile loop, with ride conditions about evenly split between busy highway riding and quiet blacktop. Scenic and relaxing riding alongside the Ausable River is the highlight of this ride, including great views of the two ski jumps at the Olympic Jumping Complex. The portion on Route 86 can be busy and the shoulders are spotty in places; not for inexperienced riders.
Training Rides – The Lake Placid Ironman Ride is a training ride for the Lake Placid Ironman, although the course can change from year to year, so this example is just one configuration. The bike ride leg of the triathalon is 112 miles, so it’s twice around the course.
- The Pat Stratton Memorial Century Ride, a pleasant ride through Adirondack Park forest and farmland north of Saranac Lake that has great mountain views but no heavy climbing. Wide shoulders on the state routes, otherwise quiet backroads, and along the route are Paul Smiths, Mecham Lake, Lake Clear, Gabriels and St. Regis Falls.
For the Lake Champlain area, check out these other road bike guides and resources:
- 25 Bicycle Tours in the Lake Champlain Region
- Road Rides near Lake Champlain
- Lakes to Locks Passage Bike Links
- Lake Champlain Bikeways
- Adirondack Coast Bikeways
- Northern Adirondack Coast Bikeways
Mountain Bike Opportunities
In the Lake Placid-Wilmington area, check out:
- Flume and Hardy Road Trail Systems –15 miles of newly developed mountain biking trails, easily accessed from the Olympic Byway near Wilmington.
- Wilmington Dirt Jump Skill Park – The Dirt Jump/Skills Park is open to the public during daylight hours free of charge (helmets are mandatory). The dirt jumps, pump track and skills park were designed and built by Kyle Ebbett.
Lift-Service Mountain Biking – Whiteface Mountain Bike Park offers riding for all abilities and styles of riding, from hardcore downhill, to gentle cruisers, great cross-country trails and everything in between. At least 27 different trails, with the longest ride covering 2,476 feet in elevation change. Expect each run to take approximately 40 minutes with a gondola ride up and your memorable ride down.
Family Fun Mountain Bike Rides –The Brewster Peninsula Trails are located behind Howard Johnson’s right on the Olympic Byway in Lake Placid. There is a total of about 4 miles of trails with little elevation change and spectacular views. The Ridge Trail is beginner-intermediate and a ton of fun, while the Lake Shore Trail is more challenging but well worthwhile for the stunning mountain and lake views.
- Head over to Saranac Lake to check out the Bloomingdale Bog Trail that follows a former railroad bed, a route that provides a flat ride of up to 10 miles along bogs and wetlands. Great opportunity to see birds or other wildlife, or even a former president – President Bush was spotted biking the Bog trail in 2010. see also BikeKinetix and Placid Planet for more information on this ride
For the Lake Placid-Saranac Lake area, check out these mountain bike resources:
- Bike Wilmington New York
- Adirondack Park Mountain Bike Initiative
- Franklin County – Northern
- Franklin County – Southern
- Mountain Bike Trails in the Adirondack Lakes Region
- Barkeater Trails Alliance
Not to Miss
- Whiteface Memorial Highway –An eight-mile climb from the crossroads in Wilmington, the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway ascends to the summit of the fifth highest mountain in the Adirondacks.
- The Flume Waterfall – Waterfalls at The Flume, near the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River, 2 miles west of Wilmington.
- John Brown Farm –John Brown’s rustic farm is located just east of the village of Lake Placid, offering guided tours, memorial events, and picnic areas and hikes with scenic views.
- Winter Olympic Museum –The 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympic Museum tells the story of how this little mountain village twice became the center of the winter sports world.
Bike Events in the Area
- Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race, Wilmington,June-3rd Saturday
- Wilmington/Whiteface Bike Fest, Wilmington, June-3rd weekend
- Wilmington/Whiteface 100k, Wilmington, June-3rd weekend
- Saranac Lake Tandem Rally, Saranac Lake, June-3rd weekend
- Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon, Tupper Lake, June-4th Saturday
- Ford Ironman Lake Placid,Lake Placid, July-4th Sunday
- Pat Stratton Memorial Bicycle Ride, Saranac Lake, August-last Saturday
also see the complete list of bike events for the region
Bike Shops Nearby
- High Peaks Cyclery, Lake Placid
- Maui North, Lake Placid
- Placid Planet Bicycles, Lake Placid
- Gear-To-Go Tandems, Saranac Lake
- Maui North, Plattsburgh
- The Wooden Ski & Wheel, Plattsburgh
- Viking Ski Shop, Plattsburgh
also see the complete list of bike shops for the region
- Adirondack Regional Tourism Council
- Essex County-Lake Placid
also see the complete list of visitor information resources for the region
Check in with Chamber offices, bike shops and other sports shops in the area to get the latest information and review your route with someone knowledgeable of the area. When biking, dress for the weather and carry water, snacks, map, repair kit and cell phone. When biking in rural areas, services could be few and far between, and cell phone service may not always be available. See the Before You Ride notices in the bottom section of this website, as well as the Disclaimer notice.