This 21 mile (one way) route can include a hike up Azure Mountain. A combination of paved and dirt roads is a nice ride for beginners to more advanced riders.
Travel northwest on the Keese Mills Road as pavement gives way to packed dirt, becoming Blue Mountain Road. Pass through forest with interesting glacial errata. As you cross Bay Pond and Ross parklands, the land becomes taken over with blueberry barrens, from a massive forest fire at the turn of the 20th century.
Enjoy the ride along the St. Regis River to a spruce and fir forest, where birders can enjoy boreal birds like Gray Jays and Three-toed Woodpeckers. About 1.5 miles after the large bridge over the St. Regis River, you will find the trailhead for Azure Mountain on the left.
This hike up the trail is 0.75 miles to the rocky summit, a great place to have lunch. Then continue your ride through forests and past hunting camps for the final 5-6 miles, which includes the paddling, fishing, and hiking at Quebec Brook.
Park at the dirt lot on Route 30, just a few feet north of the junction of Routes 30 and 86 by Paul Smith's College. For a one way trip, park a second car at the end of Blue Mountain Road, where it meets Route 458.
The Blue Mountain Road extends off of Keese Mills Road in Paul Smiths. It leads birders through deciduous and coniferous forests, and over alder-choked streams. Birders can find an array of warbler species including Canada, Mourning, American Redstart, Black-throated Blue, Northern Waterthrush, and most every other Adirondack breeder. As the dirt road continues, it winds into excellent boreal habitat which is good for Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Evening trips in spring can also be great for Barred, Great-horned, and Northern Saw-whet Owls.
Find out more
Read about a birding trip along this route with the blog, Late Summer Madawaska Birding.