This 20 mile (one way) route can include a hike up Azure Mountain. A combination of paved and dirt roads creates a difficulty level of beginner.
Travel northwest on the Keese Mills Road as pavement gives way to packed dirt. Pass through forest with interesting glacial errata. As you cross Bay Pond and Ross parklands, the land becomes taken over with blueberry barrens, from a massive forest fire at the turn of the 20th century.
See the profile of St Regis Mountain to the south. Road along the St Regis River to a spruce and fir forest, where birders can enjoy boreal birds like the gray jay and the three-toed woodpecker. About 1.5 miles after the large bridge over the St. Regis River, you will find the trailhead for Azure Mountain on the left.
This hike up the trail is only 3/4 of a mile to the rocky summit, a great place to have lunch. Then ride through forests and past hunting camps for the final 5-6 miles.
Trailhead: Just south of the junction of NY30 and NY86 at Paul Smiths college is a large dirt parking area with the Keese Mills Road. Park a car at NY458 at the end of Blue Mountain Road for a one way trip.