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Biking from Buck Pond

July 19, 2017
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer (jlevine@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

ONCHIOTA - Buck Pond Campground is a state-owned public campground nestled between Buck Pond and Lake Kushaqua. While there is an abundance of excellent fishing available at the park and no shortage of nearby hikes, one of the activities many campers engage in is bicycling.

That's because the roads to and around Buck Pond are scenic, relatively flat and not heavily traveled by vehicles. Even state Route 3, the busiest of the roads, has nice wide shoulders that are inviting to road bikers of any level.

Also, one doesn't have to be staying at the campground to partake in these rides. The campground entrance road is long, and no day-use or camping fee is required to park at the very beginning of the road. As an added bonus, there is a small dirt parking area there on the shore of Oregon Pond, which could provide a refreshing dip after a ride.

Article Photos


County road 60 is rough in some places, but there is so little traffic that any pot holes can be easily avoided.
News photo — Justin A. Levine

On the other hand, if you do want to stay at the campground, it offers hot showers and flush toilets among other amenitities. Just be sure to factor in the 0.6-mile long access road into your mileage calculations.

From the campground, there are three loops on decent roads that a rider can take. Depending on the loop one chooses, there could be swimming spots or a convenience store, but regardless of the loop, bikers are ensured quiet country road riding with plenty of views along the way.

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Swinyer Road

From the campground, turn right and travel on county route 60 for 1.1 miles, then turn left on Oregon Plains Road. Oregon Plains Road was recently paved, but has no shoulders. It is lightly traveled though, and just a short ways down is a crossing of Sumner Brook.

At the 2.5-mile mark, hang a left on Swinyer Road. This is a quiet residential road, much like Oregon Plains. You will climb gradually but steadily for about a mile before hitting a long downhill on the way to state Route 3. This route can also be done in reverse, but the ride might be more enjoyable if you can descend that hill on Swinyer rather than have to climb it.

Once you get to state Route 3, turn left and begin climbing almost immediately. Again, this hill isn't a killer, but will surely give you a good workout. Bikers can take advantage of Kate Mountain Park, which has a pavilion that offers shade, and in the summer months, portable toilets are also available.

From the park, continue another 4 miles on easily rolling hills to county road 60. Turn left and enjoy the views of Kate Mountain on your left as you ride along a mildly rough but lightly traveled road back to the campground at the 5.1-mile mark.

This whole loop is 15.5 miles.

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Muzzy Road

For a slightly longer loop that can easily be pedaled in either direction, the Muzzy Road route is fantastic.

With no hills on Muzzy Road, riders only face the hill in Vermontville on Route 3, and that's it. Follow the same directions as above, but instead of turning onto Swinyer Road, continue down Oregon Plains Road for an additional 2.8 miles to Muzzy Road on the left.

Again, Muzzy Road is a quiet residential area and despite the lack of shoulders on the road, riders should be safe. Take Muzzy Road about 1.25 miles to Route 3 and turn left heading toward Vermontville.

You'll go just over a mile before seeing Swinyer Road on the left, and continue on Route 3 another 4.8 miles to county road 60 on the left, which will take you back to the campground after 5.1 miles.

This entire route is right about 18.65 miles.

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Bloomingdale loop

If you're up for a little longer ride, or you just want to get some ice cream or a cold drink, then doing the whole Oregon Plains Road/Bloomingdale loop has plenty to offer.

From Buck Pond, turn left and go 1.1 miles to Oregon Plains Road. Take Oregon Plains to the end, a distance of 7 miles. When Oregon Plains ends, you will be in the hamlet of Bloomingdale. Just continue straight onto county road 18 and go to the stop sign at 0.1 miles.

From the stop sign, you have a few options. The best option - assuming it's summer - is to go straight on Route 3 toward Saranac Lake for about a half mile, where you will find Teddy's Ice Cream on the right.

If you're not in the mood for ice cream or burgers and fries (or the restaurant is closed), then from the stop sign turn left onto Route 3. The Bloomin' Market is a short ways down on the left and offers ice, cold drinks, sandwiches and snacks. There is also an air compressor there if your tires need any maintenance.

From the Bloomin' Market, Route 3 climbs out of Bloomingdale but soon levels off. You will pass Muzzy Road on the left at the 2.3-mile mark, and Swinyer at 3.4 miles.

Continue past Swinyer Road and go another 4.8 miles before turning left onto county road 60 to get back to the campground.

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Mountain biking

For those looking to get off the blacktop, there is also mountain biking accessible from Buck Pond campground, and while quite beautiful, it's not exactly technical singletrack. Also, if you enter the campground during the open season (mid-May through mid-September), you will have to pay an entrance fee.

From the Oregon Pond parking area, you can cross county road 60 and go around the gate. This is the Onchiota end of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, which is used by snowmobiles and skiers in the winter.

The bog trail can be taken all the way to Saranac Lake, or you can turn around at any time. Parts of the trail are quite sandy and can be hard to ride, but this is an excellent place to look for rare birds, such as gray jays and white-tipped cross bills.

There is also a short mountain bike loop that follows the old railroad bed out of the other end of the campground and can bring you right back into Onchiota.

From the campground booth, go 0.6 miles straight into the park until you see a yellow gate straight ahead. This gate marks the end of the campground and is easy to get around. Follow the sandy railroad bed along the shore of Lake Kushaqua until you reach the power lines.

Hang a left on and ride under the power lines until you hit pavement again. This route will take you past a long-gone summer camp and back into Onchiota. Once you've hit pavement, continue straight to the three-way intersection in Onchiota. From there, take a left and it's just a 10th of a mile or two back to the campground.

 
 

 

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