Exploring Lake George region on two wheels

Go places many visitors never get to see
Bikers on the Warren County Bikeway off Beach Road, in Lake George, May 30, 2019.
Bikers on the Warren County Bikeway off Beach Road, in Lake George, May 30, 2019.

When you visit the Lake George Region this summer, don’t forget to bring your bike. 

Two wheels can take you places many visitors never see, and the region’s bike paths traverse a lot of beautiful terrain.

Mountain bike fun

Right off the Northway, near Six Flags Great Escape, you’ll find a different type of amusement park — Gurney Lane Recreation Area. Gurney Lane is home to 13 miles of professionally built mountain bike trails that wind through 152 acres of gorgeous backcountry. The trails can be used free of charge. 

Mountain biker Dave Matthews lives nearby and bikes there regularly, sometimes with four-year-old grandson, Matti, in tow. Matthews said Gurney Lane has trails for all ability levels.

“It’s novice through expert, but I would call it mainly intermediate. It’s definitely a good place for people who are just getting into mountain biking. It’s not that hard, and it’s got a lot of nice trails to get your feet wet,” he said. 

Steve Lovering rides Gurney Lane.

Trails are rated from black diamond to easy, with Rock Buster being the most challenging in the park, according to Matthews, who recently published the Ride On! Warren County MTB Trail Guide. The publication, available online and in area bike shops, includes maps and information about Warren County’s mountain bike trails.

“[Rock Buster] is kind of an expert trail where you hop over boulders and things like that, and [there are] log climbs for balance,” he explained. 

On the other end of the spectrum are kid-friendly trails like Salsa and Ridge Runner — the ones little Matti rides on, for now. 

There’s also a skills park where riders can hone their techniques. 

Matthews said cyclists can ride the whole trail system in about an hour-and-a-half. 

“They’re just fun trails. They’re well built, they’re not scary, there’s enough challenge in there on some of them and it’s just a neat place,” he said. 

The trails are centrally located, so a mountain biking excursion at Gurney Lane can easily be extended into a more involved outing. 

Matthews suggested an apres-ride beer at Common Roots Brewing Company in South Glens Falls, a stop at the Factory Outlets of Lake George, a swim in Lake George or a dip in the pool right at the Gurney Lane Recreation Area. 

A map of the trails can be found here.

Bike to the lake

If you hate the thought of battling Lake George summer traffic, park your car in Glens Falls or Queensbury and bike to the lake, by way of the Warren County Bikeway. The paved path is about 10 miles long, one-way, from its beginning in Glens Falls. There are parking lots for public use in Glens Falls and Queensbury.

Warren County Bikeway, from Lake George to Glens Falls, shown off Beach Road, in Lake George on Thursday, May 30, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Warren County Bikeway, from Lake George to Glens Falls, shown off Beach Road, in Lake George on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

The bikeway follows a branch of the Delaware & Hudson Railway, which once carried Lake George vacationers. It winds through neighborhoods and woodlands, with some challenging hills and a few on-road sections. 

Along the way are kiosks with maps and information about local points of interest. There are also signs that tell about local history and offer a great excuse for a rest. 

Places to stop for snacks and drinks are conveniently located along the trail. One favorite is Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, located at 2 Sagamore Street in Glens Falls. Nearby bike racks offer a perfect place to park and there’s a takeout ice cream window facing the bike path. Cooper’s Cave serves lunch and dinner and has a full bar featuring house-made beer and gourmet soda. Along with inside seating, there’s a covered deck that overlooks the bikeway. 

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

The Warren County Bikeway briefly parallels busy Route 9, offering a view of the new Lake George Expedition Park, formerly Magic Forest theme park, which features dinosaur-themed attractions for young children. 

A long, gradual downhill stretch leads to Lake George Village. The trail ends at Lake George Battlefield Park, near Million Dollar Beach and Fort William Henry. 

On a recent Thursday afternoon, cyclist John Feret of Schenectady was pedaling at the Lake George end of the path with a group from Albany-based Singles Outreach Services. The group started the trip in Queensbury and planned to have lunch in Lake George Village before riding back.  

Stopping for a moment to take in the lake view, Feret described the ride. 

“Don’t do it as a beginner. It’s a gorgeous trail, it’s just a little bit hilly,” he cautioned. “It’s not bad, except that the last mile-and-a-half is downhill, which is good on the way down. On the way up, it’s a killer.”

Check out a trail map.

Other nearby places to ride:

Rush Pond Way Trail, Queensbury – Continue your Gurney Lane mountain bike adventure on this nearby, 2.6-mile, crushed stone, multi-use trail.

Glens Falls Feeder Canal Trail – This seven-mile, hard-packed trail stretches from Feeder Dam to the Old Champlain Canal and is suitable for road bikes or mountain bikes.

Hudson Pointe Nature Preserve Trail System, Queensbury – Mountain bikers will enjoy the 2.6-mile multi-use trail system and inter-looping single track course in this 83-acre preserve bordering the Hudson River.

Meadowbrook Preserve Trail System, Queensbury – This 54-acre preserve offers 1.5 miles of trail suitable for mountain biking.

Find more places to mountain bike in the Ride On! – Warren County MTB Trail Guide.

Reach freelance writer Kelly de la Rocha at [email protected]

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George


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