This 206 mile ride visits some of the very best roads and scenic views in the upper Champlain Valley and Vermont’s Champlain Islands. Highlights include Essex CR 21 (River Road), NY Route 86, Haselton Road along the West Branch Ausable River, Chazy Lake, Rouse’s Point, West Shore Road, VT Route 129, Isle La Motte, St. Anne’s Shrine, West Shore Road, Chazy Reef, King Bay, Hero’s Welcome General Store, Grand Isle to Plattsburgh Ferry, Cumberland Bay, Plattsburgh, the Macdonough Monument, the historic U.S. Oval to the War of 1812 Museum, Clare and Carl’s for a Michigan Hot Dog, the view of Valcour Island, and Bonneview Road
The ride begins by following beautiful Essex CR 21 (River Road), pretty NY Route 86, and twisty Haselton Road along the West Branch Ausable River to Au Sable Forks. Turn left on Route 1 and follow it past Silver Lake and then along the Saranac River to Route 3. Continue north on Route 1 to Route 374 in Lyon Mountain. Turn right on Route 374 and enjoy great views of Chazy Lake on the way to Dannemora.
Continue east on various backroads to Point Au Roche State Park on Lake Champlain. Follow CR-22 (Lake Shore Road), Route 9B and Route 11 north to the town of Rouse’s Point. If you would like to picnic at Ste. Anne’s Shrine, pick up a picnic lunch at Lakeside Coffee while passing through. Continue north along Lake Champlain on scenic Montgomery Street. Turn right on Route 2 and begin crossing the Rouse’s Point Bridge to Vermont. While crossing, look to your left to see Fort Montgomery, the Richelieu River, and the Invasion Route that General Burgoyne used on the way to the Battle of Saratoga.
Once in Vermont, stay on Route 2 south and then West Shore Road for some of the best views of the day. Next, take the bridge over Squire’s Bay and enjoy my favorite stretch of Route 129 as it winds its way along La Motte Passage and crosses over to Isle La Motte. What a great stretch of road! Stop at St. Anne’s Shrine and the Champlain Statue for a picnic lunch. This is a beautiful spot. There are restrooms and a snack bar.
Continue south on West Shore Road and enjoy the views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks of New York. The lower third of the Isle La Motte contains the Chazy Reef and some of the world’s oldest fossils. The road turns to hard pack dirt near the south end of the island, but it is easy riding and only lasts for a short time. Turn north on Route 129 and ride north back to the curves along La Motte Passage.
VT Route 129
Proceed west on Route 129 to North Hero Island and turn south on Lakeview Drive for a great view of King’s Bay. Continue south on Route 2 to Hero’s Welcome General Store. The store has great sandwiches that you can take across the street to the great scenic picnic area:
Ride south and admire the BONE View at The Gut and then turn right on Griswold Road/Moccasin Ave and take it to the water. Turn left on West Shore Road and enjoy the views of the lake and Cumberland Head across the water.
Board the Grand Isle to Plattsburgh Ferry and look out over Cumberland Bay and try to picture the epic naval battle that took place here during the War of 1812: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plattsburgh
Once in New York, ride along Cumberland Head Road and admire the views across Cumberland Bay toward Plattsburgh. This Bay is where the American ships awaited the British fleet during the original 9-11 in 1814.
Ride south along the Lake past the Macdonough Monument. Continue south through the historic U.S. Oval to the War of 1812 Museum. This is a great small museum that will help you really appreciate the Region and the history.
Stop for lunch at famous Clare and Carl’s for a Michigan Hot Dog. A Michigan is very popular in the Plattsburgh area.
Continue south for a great view of Valcour Island. Benedict Arnold fought the naval Battle of Valcour Island here is October of 1776. He succeeded in delaying the British enough that they retreated to Winter Quarters after the battle. The Americans used the time to better prepare and subsequently defeated the British at Saratoga in 1777.
Leave Plattsburgh and take backroads to Ausable Forks. Turn left on scenic Bonneview Road and follow it and Route 86 back to Lake Placid.