The route starts and ends in the Village of Northville at the town’s Waterfront Park. It is an adventure that stays true to the Adirondack Park: a journey from the southern foothills to the rugged interior, and on to the vast north and the picturesque Champlain Valley. It is a loop through a beautiful and diverse eastern wilderness on trail, pavement, and dirt road.
-Length: 553+/- miles
-High Point: Ft. 2,646’ at mile 125.1 – Moose River Plains
The riding is a mix of pavement, dirt road, two track and single track. The trails are very rugged, rocky and laced with roots. Some are sublimely rideable while others force you to slog across creeks, bushwack, route find and hike-a-bike. Be prepared for everything!
Touring Time: Allow 10 days. Many variations of the route can be made. For instance, fully loaded tourers may want to avoid some of the rougher trail sections. The complete route is best ridden with a lightweight bikepacking setup.
TATR can be ridden May – October. Although the summer months (July-August) are the warmest and potentially driest, there will be lots of biting insects. Fall is perhaps the best time of year with perfect temps and no insects but if you push it too late you run the risk of cold weather/rain/snow.
What to Know
Northville has a few places to stay including the Sacandaga campground, the Inn at The Bridge, The Flip Inn, The Orendaga, and Timeless Tavern. There are a few bars that serve food, a pizza shop, deli and a diner. There is no bike shop in Northville, the best place to go is The Bike Works in Johnstown (16 miles south) before you head to Northville. Neil is a great mechanic if you need any last minute support and the shop is well stocked. There is a general outdoor shop on rt. 30 about a mile south of Northville for any last minute gear needs. With a number of places to eat, a brand new Stewarts Shops, a grocery store, and one of those old time hardware stores that has just about everything, you should be able to find whatever it is you are looking for. There is also public parking available to leave vehicles right in town.
The trail is a mix of surfaces. The pavement sections give relief from the rugged trail sections and the dirt roads give you a sense of being “out there”. This route is not for beginners. The singletrack and doubletrack trails are rugged and technical! Some follow snowmobile trails and can be wet and overgrown. Some sections lack signage and may be a bushwhack, so good map skills and a GPS will be necessary. In addition to the two major river crossings (The Sacandaga at mile 33 and the Boreas River at mile 469), there are sections of trail that carry you across water many times. Despite the trail not encompassing the higher peaks of NY state there are a number of spots with open views – savor them. For the most part this trail is in the trees. Some highlights include many backcountry ponds that you will have all to yourself – solitude – great trail riding and a sense of what the Adirondack Park is all about.
Camping is possible virtually anywhere except private land. There are lean-tos dotted throughout the Adirondacks that are first-come-first-served. Where there are designated campsites please use them and if you are wild camping respect the rules of leave-no-trace. There are state run campgrounds that are either on route or not far off route, two notable ones would be Lewey Lake campground south of the town of Indian Lake and Meecham Lake campground which the route passes right through.
Weather can be tricky. Generally storms blow in from the Northwest. Be prepared for all types of weather, especially in the spring or fall when storms can bring cold rain, sleet and the errant snow. Typically spring means rain and mud and some of the trails will be unrideable. Summer provides ample daylight hours and warm temps (sometimes hot) but things cool down in the evenings and there is lots of water in the Adirondacks. Take a swim!
There is plenty of water along the route if you have a way to purify. Spigots can be found in the campgrounds that are on route. The first re-supply is the town of Speculator at mile 70. Speculator has plenty of food options (pizza, market, gas stations), hardware store, hotels and lodging.
Indian Lake is another re-supply at 108 miles. Options include a Stewarts gas station/market. One note on Stewarts Shops: they are usually open as early as 6 am and close at 11pm. The hours vary but not by much. This is all you will find in most Adirondack towns- They carry everything from packaged food to pizza to made-to-order sandwiches and ice cream. They are also a fairly well stocked convenience store. Other options in Indian Lake include a Mexican restaurant, hardware store/general store, pizza shop, and a bar. There are limited lodging options.
Inlet at mile 145 is another re-supply. The Market/general store has great sandwiches, a bakery and anything else you may need. There is a pizza shop, coffee shop, a couple cafes and a few places to stay. Also a bike shop (Pedals & Petals) on route!
Star Lake at mile 215 has few options. The main gas station is also a pizza/sandwich shop/ convenience store. There is a coffee shop and small market.
Wilmington at mile 335 has a few places to eat, a small market/grocery and most notably a bike shop (Leepoff cycles) on route.
Essex at mile 380 is a very small town on the edge of Lake Champlain. Not much here in the way of re-supply, there is an Inn that serves food and has rooms, there is an ice cream shop and there is a small cafe. This is a beautiful historic town.
Westport at mile 391 is also a small historic town on Lake Champlain. There is a pizza shop, a small market or two and a cafe.
At mile 466, North Creek would be the last reliable re-supply. There is a full grocery store here, a few lodging options, pizza shop, cafe and a bakery.
There are other options for food and lodging along the route but they are hit or miss. You may find an Inn back in the woods somewhere that happens to be open and serving or there may be a gas station available, but those are best left to chance. The resources I have listed are more reliable options.