Fall is in the air and my bike was asking for that cooling feel of a crisp autumn breeze across it’s cylinders before its long winter's nap. Me, I’m just in it for the views!
To celebrate the end of the season I decided to saddle up recently and explore some new roads along what is now one of my new favorite loops! Bonus points, it gives you a sampler of all the great things the Whiteface Region has to offer!
Fall colored glasses? Check.
I live in Saranac Lake, a short drive from the Whiteface Region, and I’ve been all over the region by car, and when I volunteer as a motorcycle driver for the Lake Placid Ironman each year I put in about 60 miles just driving back and forth between the towns of Keene and Jay along the Ausable River. But this is the first time I ever had the opportunity to cruise on my own schedule, soak in the views, and really appreciate the unique beauty this land of rivers and valleys offers.
My Motorcycle route through the Whiteface Region
Starting in Saranac Lake, I made my way through Lake Placid and then up to Keene before heading into the Whiteface Region. From here I headed up through Upper Jay, Jay, and Au Sable Forks before heading west to Black Brook and then down Haselton Road to Wilmington. From Wilmington I headed back out of the Whiteface Region towards Saranac Lake via Franklin Falls and Bloomingdale.
An Adirondack river ride
Nearly from the moment you leave Keene you begin to follow the Ausable River, which keeps you company for a good portion of this loop.
This is one of the things I find most enjoyable about this ride. The road hugs the river rather closely all the way to Wilmington and provides multiple pull offs where you can park and sit a spell by the river and soak in the sights and smells of fall with few to no other people around. The Jay Covered Bridge also makes for one of the most unique stops along this route.
In between river stops you can also hit up some of the destinations between Jay and Au Sable Forks like Sugar House Creamery and Asgaard Farm (you can pick up some snacks for your river picnic)! Or you can roll into the Ice Jam Inn for a farm to table meal. If you want to get your shopping fix for some saddlebag momentos, keep your eyes peeled for the little shops that dot this route like the Jay Craft Center and Young's Studio. You’ll even find a few motels along the way if you want to make the river your basecamp for your next Adirondack adventure!
If you're lucky, the Sugar House Creamery cows might even come say hi!
Riding through the mountains too!
I think the river is a unique feature of this loop, but that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of mountain views! Especially as you head back into Wilmington from Black Brook. You’ll be treated to multiple breathtaking views of Whiteface and the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately, it’s already closed for the season (October 10th), but if you’re planning next years Adirondack motorcycle bucket list I would highly recommend riding to the backside of the mountain and spending the $20 to drive up the Whiteface Veterans' Memorial Highway, which will take you straight to the top of the Adirondacks 5th highest peak with views you cannot get anywhere else on two wheels!
Wilmington is just about one of the cutest little mountain towns you could imagine and well worth a stop or stay with a handful of bars, restaurants, motels, and unique shops. If you’re in the holiday mood you can swing up to America's oldest theme park, Santa's Workshop at the North Pole, just a mile out of town!
Headed back home
From here I headed back out of the Whiteface Region via one of the most beautiful and secluded roads in the park. Routes 431 and 18A take you out of Wilmington and through Franklin Falls for a breathtaking view of a pristine Adirondack lake before heading towards Bloomingdale and then back to Saranac Lake.
A final great day of riding before tucking the bike in for it's nap!