Recently, my wife and I rode our bicycles along the shores of Lake Champlain on both the Vermont and New York side. In addition, we took an excursion into Canada and followed the Richelieu River up to Saint Jean sur Richelieu a small city about 20 minutes driving time south of Montreal.
We started in Burlington, Vermont and went north through the Champlain Islands of Vermont to the Canadian border. We traveled for the most part on side roads that run parallel to Route 2. This bike route is one of the most beautiful rides in the eastern United States with spectacular views of the lake. A map with recommended bike routes can be obtained by visiting the web site at champlainbikeways.org. Plus, there are multiple state parks where you can picnic, swim, or camp along the way. To find a state park along the route go to: vtstateparks.com.
We spent our first night at the Tabor House Inn (taborhouseinn.com) on the Alburg/West Swanton, Vermont town border after having biked approximately 50 miles through the Champlain Islands. We discovered that the Champlain Islands along with nearby towns have great places to stay and eat.
We entered Canada, the next day at the Alburg, Vermont border crossing and biked the approximately 30 miles to St. Jean su Richelieu. This route follows the Richelieu River, the river where Lake Champlain flows northward. Miles and miles of flat farmland leaves one in awe of farmers in Quebec.
We spent that afternoon and night in St. Jean su Richelieu, a small city about 20 minutes driving time south of Montreal. The city is vibrant with many fine restaurants and a hotel called the Auberge Harris ( aubergeharris.com ) that caters to bicyclists. Along the river a walking and biking path is a relaxing place to take a stroll.
We headed south the next day from St. Jean su Richelieu in Quebec to the border crossing at Rouses Point, New York. Established bike routes on lightly traveled roads help you avoid most traffic on the more establish automobile routes in Quebec.
On the New York side there is also beautiful scenery along Lake Champlain. Lake Shore Road that runs along the lake through Chazy Landing and Montyâ€™s Bay, New York is a long piece of road with rolling hills, little traffic, and spectacular views. We spent the night in Plattsburgh, New York after biking approximately 50 miles that day.
Plattsburgh sometimes gets upstaged by events in Burlington, Vermont, but a quick check of the local chamber of Commerceâ€™s web site at northcountrychamber.com shows that Plattsburgh has its share of great events too. Bicyclists may be interested in what both Burlington and Plattsburgh have to offer.
On the fourth day we again traveled south from Plattsburgh, New York to Ausable Chasm, (ausablechasm.com) which is an impressive stopover and then over our first series of substantial hills to Essex, New York about 27 miles away. It is here where we caught the ferry across the lake to Charlotte, Vermont. From Charlotte we follow back roads to Shelburne. The scenery is beautiful along this route too. We then followed the new bike lane on Route 7 until we could link up with the Burlington Bike path; we then raced a thunderstorm home. The total mileage for this dayâ€™s bike trip was approximately 54 miles.
Of course you donâ€™t have to do a 4-day bicycle trip to enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain. You can just bike a half a day, a single day, or two days by selecting a portion that best fits your time schedule and fitness level.