The Wardsboro Loop Overnighter, New York
38 Mi.(61 KM)
% Rideable (time)
Kyle teaches in the outdoor education program at SUNY Adirondack, and is the area director for Southern Adirondack Young Life. Kyle serves on several local mountain bike development/stewardship groups, and loves working on bikes almost as much as he loves riding them. Follow Kyle on Instagram @kylejespo
Spring in the Adirondacks awakens with a subtle beauty. Trilliums, fiddleheads, trout lilies—all the new life emerging after a cold winter fills every scene with a vibrant baby green. However, you must capitalize on the brief window of time where the snow has melted, but the black flies have not arrived in force.
Brant Lake, a sorely underrated Adirondack town, is the start/end for our springtime adventure. Park at The Hub cafe, get in a warm up ride at the Brant Lake Bike Park; and then grab lunch, a brew, and any last minute bike supplies while you load up for the main loop.
Each section has its own charm. The bike park has an alpine feel with exposed rock spines and loose switchbacks. The pavement rewards you with mountain vistas across the Southern Adirondacks. The descents are loose, fast, gnarly, and unapologetically “Adirondack”. Padanarum Road follows a few mountain creeks with several small waterfalls and pools. An extra night and some flyfishing gear would be time well spent here. Wardsboro Road crosses several active beaver ponds which are quite a nighttime symphony if you choose to camp nearby. In addition to the symphony a spotted salamander (a rare treat given their susceptibility to acid rain, a problem the ADK’s is slowly recovering from) trekked under my tarp on it’s nighttime migration to the vernal pool of its birth! You can also expect to see/hear ospreys, owls, beavers, otters, and ravens.
- Brant Lake Bike Park has several miles of purpose built singletrack with more added each year. Plan on 2-3 hours of riding here if you want to hit everything.
- Hit up The Hub for local beer, excellent food, and any bike repairs/supplies. This is the business that should exist next to every trail system!
- Lily Pond has some great campsites and a lot of extra trails for exploration.
- Wardsboro Road and Padanarum Road both parallel small mountain streams so fly fishing will be good outside of hot midsummer stretches.
- The grind up Route 8 is a challenge, but don’t forget to turn around and take in some incredible mountain views.
- Check out some Adirondack history at the tiny Wardsboro Graveyard.
- When to go: May through September. (Black fly season is mid May through mid June so proceed with caution if you don’t know what this entails!)
- Logistics: Park at The Hub. There are several small rentals and cottages nearby if staying longer.
- Dangers and Annoyances: The northern access to Wardsboro Rd is on logging land that a local hunting club leases. Out of respect please do not use this access point during hunting seasons (Oct.-Dec.). The road is gated to motor vehicle traffic, and you cannot camp until you reach state land further south. There are a few downed bridges and washouts on Padanarum Road that will require some hike-a-bike.
- Lily Pond has a few designated campsites.
- There is a stretch of state land along Wardsboro Rd where primitive camping is allowed.
- Please set up 150 feet from any water source, road, or trail.
- The entire route follows streams or traverses around ponds so there is no lack of fresh water. Most Adirondack locals don’t bother to filter water, and drink straight from the source. Do so at your own risk.
- The Hub and Crossroads are both good spots to grab any last minute food items. The closest grocery stores are in Warrensburg.
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