I will never forget the first day I clipped into a bike here in the Adirondacks. It is the moment that started everything for me and brought me closer than ever to this area in a whole new way. I remember when I first clipped in I also felt nervous and unsure of what I was doing. Now I feel that click of the shoe and I’m home, my bike and I working as one powerful little machine to take me all over the Adirondacks.
Starting in early spring there is this day, it happens once every year. What is this day? It is the first day of being able to ride a bike outside after many snow filled months. It’s not marked on the calendar and there is no big announcement. You patiently wait and watch for it. Until one day, there it is - marking the beginning of a season full of new biking adventures. When the Adirondacks provide only a short few months for biking, I seize the moment and bike as much as I can.
These are the months where the air is filled with vitality, the vegetation grows steadily from day to day; the once bare bone trees now covered with vibrant green, the rivers roaring with life and the warmth of the sun shining in a way it hasn’t in so long. Summer will come and go in a blink of an eye and I must absorb it all, just me and my bike with limitless miles to explore!
There are many different routes to ride here in the Adirondacks, so I want to share a few of my favorites with you that start and end in Wilmington. Here are three of my favorite bike loops:
Ride the Ironman loop backwards
Starting in Wilmington, ride north on Haselton Road all the way to the end where it intersects with Silver Lake Road, turn around and return to Wilmington. There, take a left onto Route 86 towards Jay. At the intersection in Jay, take a right onto Route 9N towards Upper Jay; there, take a left at the bridge to Keene. In Keene, turn right onto Route 73 and start to climb back to Lake Placid. To avoid town, you can take a right onto River Road near the ski jumps and follow the winding rive back out to Route 86, then take a right to head back to Wilmington. If you like a challenge and like to climb this is the route for you. I love climbing up through the Cascade Lakes because it provides an entirely different perspective than flying down that section on your bike. Give it a try, you won’t regret it. Plus, you will feel quite accomplished after.
This route is about 55 miles with 2,600 feet of elevation gain and will take 4 - 5+ hours to ride depending on your ability.
Silver Lake, Union Falls, Franklin Falls, Whiteface Mountain loop
Starting in Wilmington ride north on Haselton Road; at the end of the road turn left onto Silver Lake Road. When you reach Hawakeye, turn left onto Union Falls Road. At Union Falls, turn left onto Rock Street and follow that until you reach the intersection for Fletcher Farm Road and Franklin Falls Road. Take a left onto Franklin Falls Road. Follow this road until it turns into 18A, Gillespie Drive, which will take you up and over Whiteface back down into Wilmington. This is an amazing ride. It has its challenges and is also flat-out enjoyable the entire way. This loop includes some big climbs at the end, so save your energy! It is on mostly back country roads with beautiful views.
This route is about 35 miles with 2,700 feet of elevation gain and will take 3 - 4+ hours to ride depending on your ability.
Hardy Road, Haselton, Bonnieview loop
This is a fun easy loop where you will enjoy every second and still feel refreshed at the end to go bike something else! Starting in Wilmington, head south on Springfield Road, then left onto Hardy Road. At the end of Hardy Road, go straight across Route 86 onto Bilhuber Road and then a right onto Haselton Road. Take Haselton Road all the way to the end and turn left onto Silver Lake Road and then turn left onto Bonnieview Road and take Bonnieview all the way back to Wilmington. This is a quaint little loop all on back roads that is a very relaxing and enjoyable spin through the Adirondacks.
This route is about 20 miles long, only 800 feet of elevation gain and will take about 1.5 - 2+ hours depending on your ability.
There is something truly remarkable about biking and even more so when doing it here. I will spend thousands of miles and endless hours out riding my bike all summer long and I hope you get to experience some of this too. To be honest, I can’t think of any better way than to spend a whole summer here in the Adirondacks out biking. So, why not take a bike trip to the Adirondacks where there are endless amounts of biking routes to discover?
Don't forget to finish your adventurous day with a bite to eat and rest your muscles at a cozy lodge. Your vacation awaits!