"Apart from anything else, I prefer cycling. It puts you in a good mood, I find."
— Alan Bennett
If mountain bikers know anything, it’s how to have a good time. Add biking with friends and grabbing beers at a local brewery into the mix, and that good time instantly becomes a great time.
I’ve had plenty of great times all around the Adirondacks, but up until recently, I had yet to experience the greatness of an evening of biking and beers with buddies in Speculator, NY. I am pleased to tell you, dear readers, that your shredder soul will be fully stoked after sending it down these trails before stopping at the recently opened Lemon Tree Brewery.
Mountain biking in Speculator, NY: all abilities are welcome
Whether an absolute beginner or a seasoned rider, the variety of trails in Speculator, NY is one of its most inviting aspects to any biking enthusiast. Whether you are just starting out or want a break from single track, the scenic 12-mile loop around Pine Mountain makes for a great ride. The loop is primarily dirt and gravel with a short stretch of pavement to break it up.
Turning off of Elm Lake Road, we parked about one mile onto Cave Hill Road before heading east. This path takes you along a short bridge looking over the Kunjamuk River.
Spelunkers are in for a treat with having the option of exploring Kunjamuk Cave. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so we set our bikes down and made the short (very short) hike down to check it out.
This side-adventure is worth the 10 - 15 minutes it takes to hike down, see Kunjamuk Cave for yourself, and hike back out to your bikes.
At the end of the road, turn left onto Old Route 8. Here you will ride on pavement for about one mile before making your first available left onto Fly Creek Road to Elm Creek Road. (Yes, that’s the actual name of this trail!) 3.5 miles in, the trail takes a sharp left and brings you back to the entrance of Cave Hill Road to get your car.
Oak Mountain has fun for everyone
Prefer tried and true Adirondack trails over gravel roads? You can’t pass through Speculator without playing around at Oak Mountain. Located one mile south of the entrance to Cave Hill Road, the trails at Oak Mountain are beautifully built and maintained. Take the Elm Lake Road Connector to get to the entrance of these trails, and get ready to have some serious sendy fun. Don’t be intimidated by the steep sloped entrance to the trails; the trail builders were kind enough to create a switchbacking trail, Party of 5, that prevents you from burning out your legs before you can get into the woods where the real party begins.
While Oak Mountain doesn’t boast the largest number of trails, the trails they do have are quality and can be mixed and matched for a number of combinations. Bigfoot is the perfect warm-up loop before hitting the main trails. While it is not flat, it is a short .20-mile jaunt that will get your legs and lungs ready to go.
It is important to note that Oak Mountain has some trails dedicated to riding in both directions as well as trails dedicated to primarily downhill riding. Both Smoothie and JSmurf will bring you up for some downhill fun. The two trails intersect in the early portion of the trail, so pick your poison — you can always change your mind. Don’t be fooled by these trails being labeled with green circles; while they are not necessarily the most technical, they pack some serious elevation gain.
Smoothie is the shorter of the two and ends with a shorter descent option down Lupin (or simply turning back around to send it down Smoothie). JSmurf brings you further up Lupin, or riders can continue to climb Supernova (blue square). At the top of Supernova, there are a number of ways to get back down: turn around to descend Supernova to Smoothie or Lupin, or use one of the downhill trails.
Oak Mountain has three main trails used primarily for sending it downhill: Lupin (blue square), Electric Avenue (blue square), and Lucky 7 (black diamond). A short, .15-mile downhill trail, Venom Flow (blue square), connects Lupin to Electric Avenue if you want the best of both blue square worlds. Once you reach the bottom, head back to your car or — my personal recommendation — eat a snack, take a drink, and head back up for more fun!
Cap off your perfect day on the trails at Lemon Tree Brewery
By the end of your ride, you’ve likely worked up an appetite. Grab a bite and a beer (or two) at Lemon Tree Brewery, a recently opened spot in Speculator, NY that you won’t want to miss.
The Lemon Tree Brewery has a varied selection of NY state micro-brewed beers and wines with a local focus. Regardless of whether you feel like spending your time indoors or outdoors, Lemon Tree Brewery offers a cozy, comfortable, and scenic space. The outdoor seating has fire pits surrounded by Adirondack chairs, tables, and corn hole.
Indoors, visitors will be treated to a newly renovated Tap Room and lounge area. Eat at any one of the high or low top tables, or hang out on leather furniture by the gas fireplace. We were able to sneak a peek at their most recent renovation project: an open air garage dining area, complete with leather furniture and tables. My next visit will most definitely include spending time in this new space!
The menu at Lemon Tree Brewery is intentionally simple while simply delicious. We sampled one of everything: pizza logs, pretzel sticks, mozzarella sticks, and a personal pepperoni pizza. To say we left happily full of gratitude, fun, and food would be an understatement! If you come on the right day, you will be treated to live music while you snack and sip the night away. Check out Lemon Tree Brewery’s Facebook page for their live music schedule and announcements!
Extend your visit in Speculator, NY and make a day of it! Start your morning off with a bite to eat and some coffee before exploring some shops in town. Enjoy the many attractions the region has to offer. Play a round of golf, visit a museum, stop by the Lake Pleasant Public Library, or power a railbike at the Revolution Rail Company. Too many options to do for one day? Book a stay at any of the region's accommodations and give yourself more time to explore, have fun, and relax!