My car camping trip with my sons at Lake Harris Campground in the Adirondack included a mountain bike ride to the Great Camp Santanoni. Camp Santanoni, named for the Santanoni Mountains nearby, is a great example of the rustic Adirondack Great Camps architecture that was popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Camp Santanoni was the creation of Robert C. Pruyn (1847-1934), a successful Albany banker and businessman. Mr. Pruyn used the camp as a refuge for him and his wife from city life and often entertained many prominent guests. Theodore Roosevelt was a regular visitor.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which acquired the property in 1972, initially had no interest in preserving or restoring the camp and was just going to let it deteriorate and bulldoze it. But thanks to hard work of a group of people, who appreciate history and architecture, the camp was saved from going down the memory hole and Great Camp Santanoni is now a National Historic Landmark undergoing long term restoration.
The 5 miles of old carriage road that used to bring visitors from the gate of the camp to the main compound is a double track hard packed dirt road flanked by woods on both sides. The terrain is gently rolling but mostly uphill for the first half and downhill the rest of the way to the camp.
The trail is also open to hikers and a horse carriage ride, and cross country skiing in the winter. There is also occasional truck traffic due to restoration work at the camp.
The trail is very family friendly, except perhaps for very young riders still depending on training wheels due to the hill climbing and distance of 10 miles round trip. You will need knobby tires or mountain bike tires for this ride.
Directions: (from the website of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)
From the NYS Thruway (I-90), Exit 27 at Amsterdam; North on Route 30 through the villages of Speculator, Indian Lake, and Blue Mountain Lake. In Long Lake, turn onto 28N East to Newcomb.
From Tupper Lake: Route 30 South to Long Lake; East on 28N to Newcomb.
Northbound: From Adirondack Northway (I-87), Exit 26 at Pottersville; West on 29 (Olmstedville Road) through Olmsteadville to 28N; Northwest on 28N to Newcomb.
Southbound: From Adirondack Northway (I-87), Exit 29 at North Hudson/ Newcomb; (Blue Ridge Road) West on 28N to Newcomb.
More about the Camp Santanoni Historic Area:
Town of Newcomb
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Adirondack Architectural Heritage