Talk to any serious cyclists and they will tell you the Lake Champlain Region offers some of the best cycling trails anywhere. Lake Champlain Bikeways has made it their mission to get the word out to avid cyclists. They have identified numerous themed loops and bike trails throughout this valley; over 1,600 miles of them. The routes range in length from 10 to 60 miles, and extend between two states and two countries.
Lake Champlain Bikeways
Lake Champlain Bikeways has grouped the loops geographically. Within the Lake Champlain Region, they refer to the routes as the Adirondack Coast Bikeways, which include over a dozen themed loops ranging from 14 to 40 miles. These make for some perfect daylong excursions that can be made from a home base. Port Henry makes a great hub for three interesting loops that could fill up a long weekend for you and some fellow cyclists this fall.
The Edgemont Inn B&B is at the top of bicycle-friendly accommodations. The owner is an avid cyclist himself, and has traveled and toured extensively on two wheels. He has tried to think of everything a cyclist would want in a lodging property, so expect some very special amenities planned for you and your gear.
Covered parking storage for your bike and gear is available. There is also a bicycle maintenance area with a pump, tools, and parts ready to use. The inn is also set up to ship and receive your bike and gear if you are planning on arriving by train or by other transportation that could make toting it along impractical, if not impossible. On site is self-serve laundry and plenty of route suggestions for cycling excursions that can be downloaded onto your phone.
This historic Victorian-style inn sits on top of a quiet hill on the southern outskirts of the village of Port Henry; a little less than a mile from the community’s shopping and dining choices and the Amtrak station. It’s nestled within open, working farm fields and has sweeping views of Lake Champlain. Five spacious rooms all offer private baths and guests get to enjoy their 20-plus acres, a game room, and large, covered porch. The hosts welcome the opportunity to help you plan your stay and even offer options for groups.
Here are three themed cycling loops that would work very well using this as home-base lodging:
Iron to Iron
Iron to Iron is a somewhat hilly ride stretching a little over 26 miles. The theme tells the story of this community’s history. The town of Moriah, which includes the hamlets of Mineville, Witherbee, and Port Henry, has an extensive iron ore mining history. The route begins at the Iron Center Museum, 34 Park Place, Port Henry; less than a mile from Edgemont and adjacent to the Amtrak railroad station. You will want to spend some time prowling the museum itself, which is located in the former Witherbee & Sherman Co’s mining carriage house. There you will learn about the vast industry that operated above and below ground here for over one-and-a-half centuries.
This loop leaves the village and climbs its way south and west over the backroads of Moriah and Crown Point. You will find some stretches are unpaved, so wider tires are a plus here. At about mile 13 you will arrive at the Penfield Homestead Museum in Ironville, a hamlet within the town of Crown Point. This is another site tightly linked to the rich iron ore history of this region. Ironville claims to be the “birthplace of the Electrical Age,” as it is the home of the first electromagnet. Learn more about early iron mining and refining the ore here, and see their new exhibit of a bloomery forge located on the homestead grounds near the scenic Penfield Pond.
The next few miles of the route will have you winding along Putt’s Creek on Creek Road in Crown Point before turning north to head back to the town of Moriah. This loop ends back at the Iron Center, but takes you right by the Edgemont Inn on the return.
Wet and Wild
This route description also begins and ends at the Iron Center Museum, but with a little modification at the very beginning and very end you will leave and return right from the inn. Plan on a day-long ride covering over 35 miles. By departing from the inn going west on Edgemont (approx 1 mile), right on Fisk Road (approx 3 miles), then left onto Tarbell Hill Road, you will merge onto the described route but avoid the significant initial climb.
This route meanders from the town of Moriah and into North Hudson, traveling over some remote, yet paved, Adirondack roads. You will pass numerous ponds, wetlands, and marshes, feel far from most civilization, and have plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. After reaching North Hudson, this route returns east to Moriah over Tracy Road; popular among other two-wheeled travelers. Tracy Road lures motorcyclists since it has about 50 curves in a 7.5 mile stretch.
Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area
A final suggestion is to explore the Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area, where you will find two forts (both National Historic Landmarks), two museums (one in a historic tavern), a lighthouse, fishing pier, walking trails, and a beautiful landmark bridge connecting two states.
Head downhill from the Edgemont Inn to Route 9N and 22. Take a right onto 9N and 22 for about 4 miles. This stretch will wind along the shore of Bullwaga Bay. Take a left onto Route 185/Bridge Road and and you will arrive at the Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area in another 4 miles. This heritage area is comprised of Crown Point State Historic Site, the state DEC campground, the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, Lake Champlain Visitors Center, the 2011 Lake Champlain Bridge, and Chimney Point State Historic Site across the bridge in Vermont. It’s situated in a very narrow section of Lake Champlain and boasts fantastic scenery in every direction. There are approximately 500 acres for you to explore, and much of that on two wheels that have a bit wider tires.
Take the Quest! Answer seven riddles and win a commemorative coin. Quest forms can be obtained from the Lake Champlain Visitors Center, in the historic toll collector’s house at the foot of the bridge, or at Chimney Point Historic Site across the bridge in Vermont. Questers of all ages enjoy the challenge.
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