Cycle with a view
Pack a lunch and head out on this seasonally opened road to feast along the shore of one of the largest bodies of water in the Adirondack Park, which is completely surrounded by a forest preserve.
How to get there
Start at the well signed parking area for the Gulf Brook Road located along Essex County Route 84 (aka Blue Ridge Road), 7.2 miles west of Exit 29 of the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87).
Parking for those intending to do the Intermediate or Difficult ride is at the parking area that is a few hundred feet off the Blue Ridge Road (Essex County Route 84) (Coordinates: 43.955676, -73.872265).
The Easy ride starts from the Fly Pond Parking Area further along the gravel road and beyond the moderate to steep 2-mile climb described below. This option is only possible from late-spring through fall, when the gates along the road are opened to allow motor vehicle access. If you are intending to do the Easy ride it is best to contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at (518) 897-1200 to confirm that the gates to the Fly Pond Parking Area are open before heading out. The coordinates for the Fly Pond Parking Lot are 43.981132, -73.900719.
By the numbers
- Level of difficulty: Easy (seasonally, when the entrance gate is open and motor vehicle access to the recommended starting point is possible), Intermediate, or Difficult
- Route length: Easy 6.9 miles (11 kilometers), Intermediate 13.2 miles (21.2 kilometers), Difficult 19.6 miles (31.5 kilometers)
- Elevation gain / loss: Easy 525 feet (160 meters), Intermediate 1,255 feet (382 meters), Difficult 1,769 feet (539 meters)
- Loose dirt and gravel
Take the scenic route
Riding the Gulf Brook Road will take you deep into an Adirondack hardwood forest where you may very well see signs of moose, bear, and coyote. It offers you solitude and the potential for a deeply personal and unique experience. This ride is why you ride unpaved roads, and it is a ride like this that will rev you up and get you to hop on your bike for the next adventure.
Intermediate and difficult routes
For those riding the Intermediate or Difficult rides, heading out from the parking area means a quick gain of nearly 500 feet of elevation in a little less than 2 miles. For much of this time the grade is moderate, however a few short stretches of this dirt road have challenging grades of 10% It’ll grab your attention on the way up, and the way down, where speed control over this loose surface is important.
Those planning to ride the Easy route should not be discouraged by this description as they are driving this section to the Fly Pond Parking Area and should read on as there are opportunities to do a ride over rolling terrain that begins beyond this more challenging stretch of road.
From the height of land which occurs at the 2-mile mark the road becomes a super fun romp over rolling terrain. You roll by the Fly Pond Parking Area at mile 3.2; this is where those planning to do the Easy ride would park and begin their fun. The easy rolling terrain continues until the 5.2-mile mark; this is the 2-mile mark for the Easy ride. The road then makes a sweet noticeably steeper half mile descent to the bridge over LaBier Flow, and to the ride’s first spectacular view. This is a great location to take a break and soak in the sun and great scenery. Once your soul is satiated, settle back onto your saddle and climb to the top of a small rise to the Four-Corners Parking Area, turn right passing by an old hunting cabin and continue into a northern balsam fir forest for a little less than a mile and half to the turnaround point of the ride. However, the terminus isn’t the end of the fun. The parking lot beyond which bikes are prohibited is just 500 feet from the pond itself. Leave your bike behind, grab your windbreaker and snacks and follow the road to the dam where a most perfect view of Boreas Pond and the High Peaks region beyond awaits.
For those intending to only ride the Easy or Intermediate rides this is the point where you retrace your steps to return to your car. However, if you’re interested in up to 6.4 miles of much more difficult riding you can retrace your route to the Four-Corners Parking Area then continue straight (instead of taking the left back over the LaBier Flow dam) to a barrier that marks the start of private land. This more difficult 3.2-mile spur is a poorly maintained road and will eat up time and energy but is a lot of fun if you’re up for a challenge. It is also not included in the RideWithGPS route. You should expect to have to carry your bike over downed branches or trees, or over washed-out culverts, and it should only be considered by more advanced riders.
The solitude of the Gulf Brook Road comes at the cost of the need to be well prepared before heading out. This is especially true should you choose to do the Intermediate or Difficult rides when the gates are closed as even fewer people will venture into this stretch of wilderness. There is no cell service in this area and if you do find yourself hurt you can call 911 or the NYS Forest Ranges (1-833-697-7264), but to do so you or someone in your party must get out to make the call. If you have a mechanical problem, you may have to push your bike back to your car. As such, everyone in your riding party should bring proper clothing for the weather, food, water, and a spare tube that fits their bike. A first aid kit, and a handful of necessary tools (including a bike pump and tire levers) are also helpful. It is best to bring a bug net and bug spray if you plan to visit Boreas Ponds in the spring or early summer as mosquitos and black flies can be quite bothersome.
This short out-and-back ride into an historic great camp is one to savor.
How to get there
The entrance to Camp Santanoni (Santanoni Preserve) is located on the Newcomb Lake Road in the Town of Newcomb. There is a sign on NYS Route 28N identifying the intersection. (Coordinates: 43.972526, -74.163974)
Ride through history
This ride will take longer than you expect, not because it’s difficult, but because there’s just so much to see at this captivating historic site. You will know this isn’t your ordinary ride the moment you cross a small river that connects Belden and Harris Lakes and catch sight of the enchanting stone and wooden guard house. Since parking and the start of the ride are up the hill and beyond the guard house, you will almost certainly begin this ride by going in the wrong direction as you will want to see this building. And this is just the start. As you hop on your bike and head into the woods, you pedal up a gentle hill toward your destination. Along the way you pass over one stone bridge after another including trickling streams and a roaring brook. In less than a mile, you pass by the old farmhouse and remains of historic barns where you will undoubtedly stop to read the exhibits and enjoy cozy homestead.
The road then ride climbs to a height of land approximately 2 miles beyond the farm, and it is then pretty much downhill all the way to historic Camp Santanoni. At the camp you can park your bike in the available bike rack and spend several hours soaking in the historic structures, reading about life in this remote camp in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, and the influence of Japanese architecture on the design of the camp itself. After enjoying the sights, return back the way you came.
By the numbers
- Level of Difficulty: Easy
- Route length: 9 miles (14.5 kilometers)
- Elevation: 692 feet (211 meters)
- One lane dirt road
A few additional notes about this ride: Electric bicycles are not permitted. Also, the road is shared with horses and is a very popular walking trail; bicyclists must yield to both. For safety’s sake should you meet a horse on your journey you should stop and stand quietly at the edge of the road until the horse passes. You also must be mindful of your speed, especially on the downhills as you will likely encounter other trail users during this trip. The first half of this dirt road is in very good shape and then becomes more rugged as you descend to the camp.
Ride With GPS Link: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/42362665
Due to limited cellular coverage, please be sure to download this route and save for offline use before you leave home.
Ride through charming small towns with attractions and services. Lodging and dining available roadside in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva, North Creek, Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, and Long Lake.
This 80 mile loop has wonderful scenery on wide-shouldered roads. Runs along the Hudson River with many mountain and cliff scenes. Abundant scenic rest stops with picnic tables.
This is also a beautiful scenic drive, especially during fall foliage season.
Find out more
Read our blog post, Teddy's Trail is a lovely bike loop.
This route connects North Hudson with Paradox via the Letsonville Road. Go right by Johnson Pond for some gorgeous scenery. It's scenic, there are moderate hills, and it has some paved but mostly gravel roadways.
DISTANCE: 6 miles. Join Fleming Pond Road to go all the way to Crown Point for an additional 14 mile trip.
DIRECTIONS: Take Route 9 North from North Hudson, turn east (right) on the Johnson Pond Road/County Highway 2A. Follow it along the pond and between the mountains until the intersection with Letsonville Road. Head south to Paradox on Route 74.
Scenic country between two charming small towns. A great way to visit the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves!
LENGTH: 6 miles. Add a 5 mile round trip if visiting the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, found at the end of Stone Bridge Road. All paved, with some hilly parts. Services in Olmstedville and Pottersville.
DIRECTIONS: Start at the intersection of Route 9 and Stone Bridge Road. Head west on Stone Bridge Road to visit the caves, 2.5 miles down a pleasant country road. Go south, through Pottersville, from the west, turning right at the giant gray Wells House, to take Olmstedville Road to the town of Olmstedville.
A stretch of great scenery, with wonderful curves to reveal new vistas at every turn. Pack a lunch; this is the wilderness.
When ridden west-to-east, it becomes an exhilarating thrill ride of breathtaking scenery - hold-your-breath downhill slopes!
DISTANCE: 20 miles, one way. Services in Newcomb, four miles from the intersection of Route 28N and Blue Ridge Road, and the endpoint of North Hudson.
DIRECTIONS: From 28N, take the Blue Ridge Road at the corner marked with the Tahawus sign. Head east and hang on tight.
Part of the Grand Loop through the small towns and wilderness of the Schroon Lake Region.
Explore the quiet paved roads giving access to Scaroon Manor Campground on the west shore of Schroon Lake. Informational posts throughout the complex tell the history of this once-famous resort.
A day use pass offers access the swimming, restrooms, picnic tables, bbq grills, and shower facilities, too.
DISTANCE: 2 miles of interlocking paths. Paved road, mostly flat, narrow shoulders but very low traffic.
DIRECTIONS: Follow the loops around the shore of the lake, along different campsites, through the woods, and the amphitheatre complex where they filmed the Gene Kelly/Natalie Wood movie, Marjorie Morningstar.
This road leads to the Tahawus Ghost Town, a former mining town no longer open to the public. But the road leading up to it is a marvelous ride alternating deep forest, hidden meadows, bridges, lakes, and distant mountain vistas.
Rock hounds will find the abundance of mine tailings offer samples of granite, mica, and anorthosite. This was once the largest titanium mine in the world.
DISTANCE: Round trip: 14 miles. Paved road, mostly flat, narrow shoulders but very low traffic.
DIRECTIONS: From the intersection of Route 28N and Blue Ridge Road, look for the sign on the left, turning north onto the Tahawas Mine Road. Follow the road to the end, where a gate bars entrance, and turn around. There is also a hiking path trailhead right before the second bridge for more exploration.