View Full Version : Lake Champlain Tour Report

08-15-2007, 02:08 PM
My boyfriend and I just completed a week-long tour around Lake Champlain, and since I sought info here before we left, I thought I'd give a mini-report.

For route maps and other logistics of a tour around Lake Champlain, see www.lakechamplainbikeways.org. LCB also publishes an excellent route map, which I wasn't able to find online but was available in bike/camping shops in Burlington, VT (and assumedly elsewhere around the lake).

Overall, I highly recommend Lake Champlain for a summer tour. The route around the lake is approximately 350 miles, which took us a week to complete - this was our post-Bar exam trip so we were totally out of shape - but there are several bridges and ferries across the lake, and inland loops, so that you could customize a shorter tour or skip certain parts. We started and finished in Burlington, VT (we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Colchester, which I highly recommend - it's right on the route, has nice rooms and laundry facilities, and most importantly, they let us leave our car there for a week), and travelled around the lake counterclockwise - so, Vermont to Quebec to New York and then back to Vermont. We camped most nights, interspersed with hotels every 2 or 3 days. There are lots of state parks along the way, both in NY and VT, so camping was pretty easy (we did make reservations ahead of time for campsites, which was probably only necessary on the weekends).

The roads in Vermont and New York were, for the most part, a delight to us North Carolina riders, with good shoulders and drivers who mostly seemed used to cyclists. The roads in Canada, however, were abysmal. To be honest, if I did this tour again, I'd probably skip the Quebec portion - in the rural areas (most of the route), the pavement was terrible, chewing up both a tube and a tire on my road bike, and the scenery was just miles of corn, corn, corn. We took a day off and took the bus into Montreal for a day, which was great - but if you've been to Montreal before, then you might want to skip cycling in Quebec.

The scenery in NY and VT was absolutely beautiful, on the other hand. Our two days on the edge of the Adirondacks in NY were our most challenging - with fully-loaded bikes, we had to get off and push more than once. The weather was hot during the day, but not unbearably so (remember, we're Southerners), and cool and night.

If anyone is doing this tour, give me a PM and I'll share all the details - there are also a few blogs out there by others who have done it. This was my first tour, so I was nervous about riding fully loaded with gear, but you get used to it quickly. (We carried tents, sleeping bags, Thermarests, and clothing, but no camp stove - we ate a lot of deli sandwiches and peanut butter). In general, if you have the option of a road bike or something sturdier like a touring bike, don't take the road bike. I have a road bike (Specialized Dolce), and I felt like it was barely up to the challenge; in addition, the skinny tires limited the routes we could take (some of the LCB routes are unpaved, so you have to take detours inland for a few miles if you have skinny tires). The poor thing was making some sad squeaks and moans by the end of the week.

Oh, also, we got engaged on this trip! So of course I will always remember it fondly - but even without sparkly rings, biking around Lake Champlain was a pretty great August vacation.

08-15-2007, 02:23 PM

Sounds like a great time all around:)

Are you starting your 3d year, or are you finished with law school (sorry...I can't remember for sure...)??


08-16-2007, 02:05 PM
I'm so jealous, we are on vacation and just did Ausable Chasm and then drove to North hero island and camped. We saw lots of bike tourists, and the roads seem nice and quiet. Next time I'm bringing the bike. Its just gorgeous. The boys are mountain biking on Killington tomorrow.

08-17-2007, 07:10 AM
Congratulations! I wanted very badly to be proposed to on one of our annual hiking trips to the Adirondacks, but it ended up being in our livingroom at home (how unromantic when he had the Adirondacks seven years running! ;)

And you are very fortunate to have had such a fantastic ride, with great weather. I definitely want to do that trip, now.

Thanks for the report!


08-17-2007, 05:34 PM

Sounds like a great time all around:)

Are you starting your 3d year, or are you finished with law school (sorry...I can't remember for sure...)??



08-20-2007, 11:54 AM
I did the Island Line rail trail across Lake Champlain last weekend. See my post under "Adventure Stories". Yes, cycling this area of Vermont is wonderful. If anyone is able to get there next weekend, which is the last weekend of ferry service this year, I highly recommend it.