Biking from Saranac Lake to Norman Ridge Road and back is a ride that takes me back to my home-grown roots. Every view along the way is a view I’ve seen my entire life. They are views that I may not see as frequently now, but they do more for me than any other in the area because they remind me of who I am and where I came from. These views are home, the home that resides deep in my heart. And they are views that are worth every peddle stroke on the bike.
If you are looking for a scenic bike route, this is it. I started out my day by parking in the municipal lot on Broadway in downtown Saranac Lake. I grabbed a coffee from Origin Coffee — because when I’m near Origin Coffee I can’t pass up a coffee — and headed down Broadway, then I took a right on Bloomingdale Ave. to head out on Route 3 toward Bloomingdale.
The road all the way to Bloomingdale is in great condition, with very forgiving shoulders that make riding easy. The road winds along the Saranac River and with views of the High Peaks. You'll want to stop and take it in, especially this time of year when the leaves are popping with color.
One of the things I find so unique about this area is that a view of Whiteface Mountain, which is in Wilmington, tends to be at the heart of wherever I adventure. When I was little it always seemed so magical to me that this giant, mysterious mountain was always there with me wherever I went. I would stare at it from my living room window and imagine reaching out to touch it. So, when I say it is worth the bike ride to see this perspective of Whiteface, I promise you there is no other view like it in all of the endless places you may go to see it.
Once arriving in Bloomingdale, if you are feeling like you need a refreshment — or more like an ice cream cone — stop at Teddy’s Ice Cream. After Teddy’s I turned right at the four corners to stay on Route 3 until reaching Norman Ridge Road, where the view will knock you off your feet.
I turned right onto Norman Ridge — I always look out for the big blue house on the corner to know when to turn — and headed up the steep but pleasantly short climb that surprises me every time with the most spectacular view after rounding the corner. Here is the most breathtaking view in the entire Adirondacks. If you don’t believe me, bike there and check it out for yourself! The pictures don’t do it justice. The vast open fields make way for the magnificent mountainscape, with Whiteface towering over it all. It’s a view that stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away every time.
The ride down Norman Ridge is fun and fast. I felt like a bird flying. The road comes to a T-intersection at the bottom of the hill, where I turned left and headed down Fletcher Farm Road. This is the road I grew up on, the road on which I rode a bus to and from school, pushed a stroller with my dolls in it, ran on, walked on, and drove my first car on. It’s the road that made me who I am today.
As I biked along it this time, I found myself feeling nostalgic and content while enjoying every sensation of the crisp fall air and the changing leaves around me. The road is peaceful, beautiful, and quaint. Perhaps I’m partial to it for personal reasons, but I know it’s more than just that — it is one of the best bike routes around. About six miles down Fletcher Farm Road, I turned right onto Franklin Falls Road and stayed right on River Road as it wound through the forest along the Saranac River. Arriving back at Route 3, I made a left and headed back to Saranac Lake.
This is about a 37-mile roundntrip that will leave you with a memory bank full of stunning images from one of the best Adirondack road cycling experiences. If you are looking for a not-so-ordinary High Peaks region cycling route, head out to Bloomingdale from Saranac Lake and ride over to Norman Ridge. You will not be disappointed.
Hit the town after you worked up an appetitie form that glorious day of cycling. Saranac Lake has a lively downtown with plenty of great restaurants and bars.
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