Hemlock Lake Cycling Circling

September 20, 2010 at 12:01 am 5 comments

Sun coming up on Hemlock lake

North end of Hemlock Lake sunrise

It’s time for another “Bike or Die” adventure.  A Hemlock Lake loop would have 20-30 miles of of forested roads with breath-taking views (literally in my case), at the top of those long climbs. Hemlock Lake is 6.7 mi./10.8 km. long, .5 mi./.8 km. wide, and 90 ft./30 m. deep.

I found a Hemlock bike ride online, but it was all main roads — 15A to 15 — around the lake. I prefer to stay off main roads if possible. With my modified route, I was able to do a little of both. (The route I rode is displayed at the bottom of this post.)

I took a road bike, but a hybrid would have been fine for this ride and even better for exploring the 2 boat-launch/lakeside trails (pink) and the gravelly roads on the west side.

At sunrise I took in the view at the northern end of the lake, and parked my car near the entrance to the boat launch road. It was easy to hop on Route 15A and head south.  There was not much traffic, and enough shoulder to be off the road. The road was entirely in shade, which would be great during a summer ride. Even with wool gloves, my hands felt like chunks of ice until I was well up the western side of the lake.

If you are hoping for inspiring lake views along this ride, you’ll be disappointed. There are lovely forests — which in a few weeks will sporting their new fall wardrobes — but you really have a hard time seeing the lake.

State Launch southern end

View of the southern end of the lake — great cayaking

The ride to the south end of the lake went by very quickly. I stopped at the southern boat launch and rode the trail (see pink lines on the map) that continued along the lake. It was maybe a mile and a half long.

If you wanted a fun, short, trail ride with your kids. This would be perfect. Not too long, nor too hilly, but you could ride and boat from one parking lot, and it comes with a porta-potty.

southern end of Hemlock Lake

Beautiful wetlands at the southern end of the lake

Before reaching Springwater, I passed a lot of very interesting marshland. On to Springwater, and I was hoping something hot to drink or eat. No luck. Springwater did not have breakfast waiting for me. I looked for access to Marrowback Rd in town, and the bridge was out, so I headed north on 15.

Route 15 has a very aggressive up-hill climb coming out of Springwater. I was in the easiest gear and still wheezing. This was still preferable to having to ride down this hill.

White  Rd hill climb view

The "breath-taking" view at the top of White Rd., looking south

At Webster’s Crossing I was able to take White Rd — much less trafficked but once again a steep climb. There was an entrance to a nature trail that I passed by with a sign on it called Babbit Hill Rd (better for a hybrid bike).

Marrowback Rd has a hard-packed surface and is high enough up that you get some lovely views. This next section is the best part of the ride. A flat road surface, no traffic, great scenery and warm sunshine. You could continue on Marrowback all the way north, but why would I do that?

At Bishop Rd, I jogged over to Mission Rd. Bishop was steeply downhill and newly paved with loose gravel. I remember taking the skin off my knees and shoulders with past gravel-navigational failures.

I rode by the Eagle Crest Vineyards and continued on Mission Rd. Hey, there is a mission on this road! It looked like it had been transplanted from southern California! It had no signs outside, nor any activity that I could observe. I think it is listed online as the Hemlock Lake Holistic Health Center.

Mission Rd turns into Blank Rd and made for a quick and easy end to my lake loop. Beware! Rix Hill Rd has a hill! You have to go down it. It is steep, curvy, gravelly, and sports little shoulder. I knew I was close to home, and was by this time thinking more about breakfast than safety. I flew down it, and past the beautiful lake view.

The bike map gave this route only 2 stars out of 3 for difficulty. I wonder what a 3-star hill looks like? I was seeing stars at the top of some of these hills.

2010 Bike route

Challenging ride with lots of scenic variety



Entry filed under: Activities, Biking, Hemlock Lake, New York. Tags: , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hemlock Lake Cycling Circling « New York Outdoors Blog  |  October 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    […] October 4, 2010 by newyorkoutdoors Hemlock Lake Cycling Circling […]

  • 2. John M. Morgan  |  May 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Hello Friend — Enjoyed your post about Lake Hemlock. I’m writing a short history of the “mission” you briefly talked about on Bishop Road. Is there a chance that you took photos of what is called the Hemlock Lake Holistic Health Center? From 1930-1980 this place was a catholic missionary seminary preparing priests and brothers for missionary work. Send me a note if you have photos or any additional information. Thanks, John

    • 3. Finger Lakes Summer  |  May 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Hi, Sorry for the slow reply. I DO have photos of that building I think, I just have not been able to locate (archived). Should I find those CDs, I’ll email you a shot.
      Would love to know more about what you wind up writing too,

      • 4. chadschuster  |  July 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        I took several pics of this place the last two days back and forth from the Hemlock Little Worlds Fair. You can contact me at cschuster2@stny.rr.com. I may even post them on fb or wordpress.

    • 5. chadschuster  |  July 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      I think I replied to the wrong message the first time.

      I took several pics of this place the last two days back and forth from the Hemlock Little Worlds Fair. You can contact me at cschuster2@stny.rr.com. I may even post them on fb or wordpress.


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