October 2019 - BICYCLING
By Dave Kraus
On this journey into the heart of the Adirondacks, you’re only halfway there even when you reach the end of the road. Starting in North Creek, you will enjoy 34 miles of the very best the Adirondacks has to offer with beautiful scenery, scarce traffic and historic connections.
Your ride can start in any one of several locations in North Creek. There’s a large paved lot at the train station at the west end of Main Street, and another unpaved parking area lies behind the Johnsburg Town Hall, where you can also have access to the North Creek’s Ski Bowl mountain bike trails.
Heading north on NY Route 28N, you cross the Hudson River and ride gradually uphill toward Olmstedville and Minerva. This is the same route taken in the opposite direction into North Creek by Teddy Roosevelt on Sept. 14, 1901, as he hurried back from an Adirondacks hunting trip to become President after William McKinley was assassinated.
As you head north, enjoy the views of Moxham Mountain to the west, where a relatively new trail opened in 2012 to the summit of this peak that offers spectacular views of Gore Mountain and the surrounding lands.
Just past Moxham Pond at mile five, turn right onto County Route 29, where a short climb and descent leads you into Olmstedville, where Sullivan’s Store provides a handy stop for drinks and snacks. Continuing north, bear left onto Trout Brook Road, where you venture into forest that seems to get taller as you go.
Shortly after mile seven, you will pass the home of Hornbeck Boats, where owner Peter Hornbeck has been building his ultralight canoes since 1975. Continuing north on Trout Brook, you cross a creek that inspired this road’s name. Then just after mile 9.5, take a right turn onto Wamsley Road and climb the short hill to the top to stop, take a rest, and enjoy the spectacular view across an open field toward the distant peaks. If you have a camera with you, now is the time to use it!
Back on Trout Brook Road, continue north with the stream never far away. If you’re riding early in the season, be careful of the liberal coating of sand that town highway crews spread on the pavement every winter. Just before mile 13, cross the Betsy Ross Bridge, named for a local resident who shares her moniker with the famous revolutionary seamstress.
At mile 14, turn left at the intersection onto Hoffman Road. Until now you’ve gone up and down some rollers, but now comes the most challenging climb of the day, with a grade of nearly 11% as you head up toward the remote hamlet of Loch Muller. Once you conquer the climb, hopefully you will catch your breath before turning right on Loch Muller Road, and heading uphill further toward the Adirondack High Peaks.
This area was once home for logging and tanneries that used the lumber for fuel, but today Loch Muller is literally the end of the road. Just before Docs Road the pavement runs out, and shortly you can go no farther on a road bike. Beyond here, a trail leads to scenic Bailey Pond, but beyond lies only the Hoffman Notch Wilderness – over 38,000 acres of almost virgin forest – and then the High Peaks.
Turning around, you now get to head back downhill to rejoin Hoffman Road, which climbs a bit more before snaking through giant pine trees on the shores of Oliver Pond. Just past this stretch of backwoods, enjoy the fast and twisting descent, as Hoffman Road becomes Irishtown Road and heads back toward the town of Minerva. As you head toward the valley and Minerva Stream, the houses begin to appear more frequently, but the towering pines still make it seem as if you are riding through a deep canyon of green.
Just before mile 25, turn left on O’Neil Road at the baseball field, and enjoy a visit to the tiny St. Mary’s Catholic Church, and its historic well-maintained cemetery. The pure whitewashed church buildings stand in stark contrast to the dark green of the forested mountains, and the brilliant annual fall foliage in the area. Make sure to take a peek through the church windows to get a look at the beautiful interior.
Depart Irishtown and head south, and you will have several more challenging rollers before merging left onto the AP Morse Highway, passing the overflow dam on Minerva Stream. Then you climb the short but sharp incline back to Olmstedville and Sullivan’s Store, where you will take a sharp right to head back toward North Creek.
It’s now only six more miles before you reach the end of your Northwoods odyssey. After climbing back over the hill to Route 28N, it’s five miles of mostly downhill riding before you once again cross the Hudson, and arrive at the end of your ride. Just be careful here on this full-fledged highway, but don’t forget to enjoy the views of Moxham and Gore mountains as you head south.
Once you reach North Creek, don’t forget to check out some of the local eateries for some post-ride food and drink. This route map is available at Ride with GPS (ridewithgps.com/routes/31262027).
Dave Kraus (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a longtime area cyclist, photographer, and writer who counts this route as one of his favorite all-time rides. Visit his website at KrausGrafik.com.