New York and Vermont to Montreal
The New York and Vermont to Montreal bike tour has it all! Pedal from the lush Lakes Region of New York, cross Lake Champlain by ferry, climb Vermont’s Green Mountains, descend back to an island for a stay in the middle of Lake Champlain, cross the border into the vibrant city of Montreal and finally return via train along Lake Champlain.
New York/Vermont/Montreal Bike Tour: Highlights
- Pedal through small towns on roads and bike highways that see little traffic.
- Ride Vermont’s quiet road over the mountains (aka Gaps). Climb up to six Gaps during three days of Vermont mountain cycling.
- Experience Lake Champlain’s islands while riding bridges and causeways into Canada.
- Read why Montreal is considered a top biking city.
- To shuttle from Albany & the surrounding area to the meeting hotel, we recommend Saratoga Hybrid Cab.
New York/Vermont/Montreal Bike Tour: Tour Dates
Potential tour dates are listed below. Please see the spring/fall calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891.
2017 Autumn Tour Dates:
- September 22 to 28, 2017 (Book Now!)
New York/Vermont/Montreal Bike Tour: Overview
Tour Length: 7-Days | 6-Nights
Meeting Town: Saratoga Springs, NY (8am on Day 1) Guests fly to Albany, NY
Ending Town: Albany, NY (Return by train from Montreal on Day 7). Cyclists can also fly out of Albany or return via the van & trailer which drives back with bikes & luggage to Albany & meets the train.
Total Miles: 265 up to 400 over 6 days of riding. (Can I keep up on this tour?)
Ability Level: 3/4 (Upper Intermediate to Advanced) A combination of quiet, car-free roads, easily accessible mileage options and plenty of climbing options (during the three days in Vermont) makes this tour well suited for intermediate to advanced cyclists.
Tour Cost: $2,800 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
Single Room Supplement: $575 for a private room each night of the tour.
Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rentScott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.
Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.
Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.
Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.
Tour Includes: 6 nights of exceptional lodging, 6-days of meals, guide service, return train ticket from Montreal, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, massage & bike rental are additional.
Lodging Includes 6 Nights: (subject to change)
- Day 1 & 2: Two days experiencing the 19th century elegance of the Middlebury Inn .
- Day 3: Abounding mountain scenery at Stowe’s iconic Trapp Family Lodge.
- Day 4: The Crown of Champlain Island: The North Hero House.
- Day 5 & 6: The Canadian cosmopolitan city culture of Montreal at Hotel Nelligan.
Meals On Tour
Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post ride element.
Lunches on Tour: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!
Overall Route Map
View Tour of New England: New York to Montreal in a larger map
Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?
Do the Bump!
Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a “bump” via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is “off the front” and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They’ll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.
Seamless Mileage Options
Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we’re well known for in our business. Daily shuttle options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy our tours through mileage customization.
Slow or Fast?
PLEASE don’t be scared away from this tour. Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they’re surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist as relative terms to other people. Speed does not matter as long as you are moving on the bike.
Like we say to even the most reluctant cyclists: “You will be ready for a Lizard Head Cycling tour when you are finished with a Lizard Head Cycling tour”.
If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!
Please also see this blog post for more information.
New York/Vermont/Montreal Bike Tour: Itinerary*
*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
Day 1: Lake George, NY to Middlebury, VT
40 miles or full-pull of 57 miles
The NY & Vermont to Montreal tour meets at the rejuvenating Roosevelt Mineral Baths of the Gideon Putnam Resort. These renowned springs healed injured soldiers during the Revolutionary and French/Indian Wars.
The cycling begins along seldom traveled roads following the west banks of Lake George, nicknamed Queen of the American Lakes, and Lake Champlain. Water, rivers and lakes abound in this region. Vermont’s Green Mountains are visible to the east and the Adirondack Mountains rise to the northwest. What a beautiful start to a bike tour!
Day 1 offers one sustained 2-mile climb (650-feet) up and over a ridge to reach the shores of Lake George.
The route passes through the Revolutionary war town of Ticonderoga, a native Mohawk word meaning, “between the two waters”. The two waters are the north end of Lake George and south end of Lake Champlain.
In Ticonderoga, NY cyclists board a ferry boat across Lake Champlain to reach the shores of Vermont. Upon landing in Vermont cyclists spin northeast past Vermont’s bucolic farms and fields to Middlebury, VT for a two night’s stay at the Middlebury Inn.
DAY 1: Lake George, NY to Middlebury, VT: 57 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,450 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 3,430 feet)
Day 2: Gap Riding Options!
Options of 55-miles, 73-miles or up to 107-mile (E.F.I.)
Day 2: Descending Roxbury Gap on new pavement
Day 2’s route delves into Vermont’s Green Mountains with a defining ride that ascends the range two, three or up to four times! The vistas are grand as the route slices through the heart of the Green Mountain range exploring quaint and picturesque towns that offer restaurants, lodging and classic country stores. Support is offered for whatever option cyclists choose. See descriptions of three options below.
- Day 2’s easiest option is a Two-Gap-Loop that pedals first over Brandon then Middlebury Gap. The ride starts with an easy roll-out past beautiful Lake Dunmore before cyclists engage their first Gap of the tour, Brandon Gap (5 miles & about 1,500-feet). After descending Brandon cyclists turn north for an aid station in Rochester, Vermont. Following refreshments cyclists head up Middlebury Gap to enjoy lunch with view atop the summit.
- Today’s standard option is a Three-Gap-Tour over Brandon, Rochester and Roxbury Gaps serving up 7,400-feet of climbing. The Three-Gap-Tour diverts from the Two-Gap-Loop at the aid station in Rochester. From Rochester cyclists climb the Rochester Gap and are thrilled with a freshly paved (summer 2012) 6-mile corkscrewing descent! Lunch is enjoyed in the small town of Randolph. The final climb of the Three-Gap-Tour is Roxbury Gap which presents cyclists with a ride-able, but challenging mile of packed dirt at its summit. After the descent of Roxbury Gap cyclists meet the shuttle at the Warren Country Store for ice cream, soda pop and/or a cold Vermont micro-brew. To end the day cyclists shuttle over Middlebury Gap for a second night’s lodging at 19th-century era Middlebury Inn.
- For the biggest challenge offered on Lizard Head Cycling’s NY & Vermont to Montreal Bike Tour cyclists can attempt our Four-Gap-Loop back to Middlebury. The Four-Gap-Loop is a 107-mile monster with 9,500-feet of climbing. It follows the same route as the Three-Gap-Tour, but continues through Warren to climb up and over Middlebury Gap to end the day. To date none of our previous cyclists have completed the Four-Gap-Loop.
DAY 2: Easiest Option: Middlebury & Brandon Gaps Loop to Middlebury: 57 Miles
Elevation Gain: 4,650 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 4,653 feet)
DAY 2: Bonus 3-Gap-Ride: to Warren, VT: 73 Miles
Elevation Gain: 7,398 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 6,862 feet)
DAY 2: Bonus 4-Gap-Tour: Loop to Middlebury: 107 Miles
Elevation Gain: 9,573 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 9,573 feet)
Description of climbing Roxbury Gap : The 10-mile (1,500-foot ascent) of Roxbury Gap begins following a shady brook onto Roxbury Mtn Rd. Once on Roxbury Road the climbing starts quickly and is interspersed with dirt sections. The dirt sections of the gap are meticulously groomed, so there is usually no problem for skinny 23 mm tires. There will be some nice glimpses across the Rt 100 valley, so be sure to look over your left shoulder once in while on the climb. The summit of Roxbury Gap is dirt, as are portions of the descent. There are some sharp switchbacks which may have washboard bumps going into them, so watch your speed. Previously riders have hit 40 mph on this descent with 23mm tires, but this is not advised.
Day 3: Middlebury to Stowe, VT
51-miles or 66-miles E.F.I. Option
Ride between the iconic Vermont towns of Middlebury and Stowe and enjoy an end of day visit to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Creamery!
- Day 3’s Three-Gap Option is a 66-Mile Three-Gap ride begins with the ascent of the Middlebury Gap. From the top cyclists descend 7-miles before turning north towards Warren, Vermont. Upon reaching Warren cyclists climb Lincoln Gap, the steepest Gap in the state, with one full mile above 20% (yes 20%). This mile is the “Steepest Paved Mile” in North America and a sight to see. Previous cyclists have said it, “was a great walk” under the interlacing tree canopy. Regardless if ridden or partially walked, the Lincoln Gap is a highlight of the tour.
- Following Lincoln Gap cyclists enjoy a well deserved lunch before engaging the formidable Appalachian Gap (App-Gap). The descent of the App-Gap brings cyclists through the Mad River Valley to Waitsfield, VT. From Waitsfield cyclists are shuttled 20-miles to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Creamery.
- From Ben and Jerry’s cyclists can shuttle to the finish or choose to work off the ice cream with a final 10-miles and 650-feet of climbing to a mountain top finish at Stowe’s iconic Trapp Family Lodge. The Trapp Lodge sits on 2,500 acres and offers quintessential views of Vermont’s mountains.
- Although only 66-miles in length the 66-Mile Three-Gap option climbs nearly 7,000-feet.
- Day 3’s Two-Gap ride begins with a shuttle to the top of Middlebury Gap and then follows the Three-Gap Route.
DAY 3: Middlebury to Waitsfield: 66 mile or 51-mile options (via Middlebury, Lincoln & “App” Gaps)
Elevation Gain: 6,921 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 6,620 feet)
A true alpine gem, the Trapp Family Lodge will be our host for the third evening. From the von Trapp family’s Austrian roots, the mountain retreat echoes European style and Austrian architecture situated on 2,500 acres in Stowe, Vermont. Tradition meets luxury at the Trapp Family Lodge where, during spring months, maple sugaring is alive and well. The lodge produces maple syrup from its 900-plus maple trees and approximately 1,200 taps—“the true sweetness of Vermont.” A 20-person outdoor hot tub bordered in heated slate is sure too soothe sore muscles, and only a stroll from the 96-room historic alpine lodge. And if the ride here isn’t enough, there are miles of mountain bike single- and double-track trails on property to relieve those muscles with a different style of riding.
DAY 3: Google Map: Middlebury to Stowe
Description of Appalachian Gap Climb:
The Appalachian Gap will humble most riders. The Green Mountain Stage Race climbs the “App-Gap” from the west (same side as Lizard Head Cycling’s tour) and finishes at the summit. The last kilometer or so is about 15% grade. The App-Gap begins gradually enough as the first bump is often referred to as Baby-App. After the Baby-Gap a 100-metre descent follows, but don’t be fooled because once you start going up again, the switchbacks get tighter while the grade stays steep. The view from the top of the App-Gap is perhaps the best of all the Gaps. A cliff overlook gives you views of the road below, the Lake Champlain Valley and the Adirondack mountains (Let’s hope for a clear day).
Enjoy the descent. There are also a couple of surprise switchbacks that can catch a cyclist carrying too much speed. The guardrails would make minced meat out of cyclists losing it at 50+ mph. Approaching Waitsfield, there are several options for food and water at the junction for Route 100.
Day 4: Stowe to North Hero Island, VT
On Day 4 ride from the high-mountains of Vermont down to the wide-waters of Lake Champlain while descedning 4,700-feet!
The stage begins with a climb of Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch past the Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch ski areas. On this final climb of the tour the road engineers did not spend time or money blowing up the house-sized boulders, they simply built the road to wind around them. As a result, the climb of Smuggler’s Notch must be seen to be believed.
At the summit of Smuggler’s Notch cyclists can survey all of northern Vermont and Lake Champlain. Before descending cyclists may take note of riding across Vermont’s Long Trail (Vermont’s Continental Divide) for the sixth time in three days.
The long descent of Smuggler’s Notch delivers cyclists to Pleasant Valley, an appropriately named valley of immense beauty. From Pleasant Valley cyclists ride new pavement (summer 2012) past the iconic farms and fields that comprise northern Vermont. Cyclists then join the Roosevelt Highway to ride from island to island out into the middle of Lake Champlain.
Tonight’s island lodging surrounded by Lake Champlain is at the North Hero House. Upon arrival cyclists are encouraged to find a large Adirondack Chair, their favorite beverage and simply take in the view.
View Stowe to North Hero Island, VT in a larger map
Map: Stowe to North Hero Island, VT.
DAY 4: Stowe to North Hero Island: 59 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,971 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 4,607 feet
Day 5: North Hero Island, VT to Montreal, QC
50-Miles on the Verte Route bike road
Brush up on your French as today’s we ride along northern shores of Lake Champlain to Quebec along the Richelieu River to Montreal. Remember your passport as the final stretch into Montreal is not to be missed.
Nearing Montreal, the route follows the Chambly Canal, a national historical site in Canada known for it’s commercial trade with the United States in the mid 1800s. The route is now used for recreating and connects the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and the Hudson Rivers. Our path joins a well established bike path that meanders over the St. Lawrence River and for the first time on this tour, into the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Tonight’s accommodations at the Hotel Nelligan combine all the character and history of an authentic French country inn with the services and space of a modern boutique hotel.
Elevation Gain 807 feet/ (Elevation Loss: 878 feet)
Day 6: Tour de Montreal, QC
35-mile or 15-mile Options
Today is a day to cruise Montreal on foot or bike, exploring the markets, museums and culture of this vibrant city. If true recovery is on the agenda, head over to the spa next to the hotel or relax with a book on the rooftop terrace overlooking the St. Lawrence River.
But if getting back in the saddle calls, Montreal hosts an urban cycling treat. Tour de Montreal will take you to some of the best vantage points in the city, first from its namesake landmark, Mont Royal, a triple peaked hill. We’ll then descend down into the Victorian neighborhoods of Westmount and St. Henri, and the Lachine Canal, the birthplace of industry in Canada. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, so brush up on your French before visiting the Atwater’s Farmers Market en route to the St-Lawrence River, and St. Helen’s and Notre Dame islands, home to parks, festivals and the Formula-1 Racetrack. We’ll tour back via the Jacques Cartier Bridge, one of the most spectacular views of Montreal.
If your schedule is to head south of the border on Friday (this option exists), say goodbye as you board the Adirondack train route back to the start in Albany, NY. The train departs Montreal at 9:30am and arrives late afternoon.
Day 7: Depart Montreal via Adirondack Amtrak Route
Today’s travel will take us southbound down memory lane via the Adirondack train route back to New York. The train departs at 9:30am and arrives back in Albany, NY on late Saturday afternoon. Depending one’s destination, the route runs all the way to New York City. A shuttle will be provided to the train station for departure.
Previous cyclists have chosen to extend their stay in Montreal by a day or two. If additional sightseeing is on your agenda, rent a car and head up the St. Lawrence river to Quebec City, the only fortified city that remains in North America.
New York/Vermont/Montreal Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs
Bike Rental NY to Montreal
For 2014 Lizard Head Cycling is proud to rent Scott CR-1 carbon road bikes with Shimano 105. The Scott CR-1 is a lightweight, high performance, bike geared for climbing hills ($350- for NY to Montreal Tour)
Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.
Meals on the New York to Montreal Tour
Most meals (aside from two) from lunch on the tour’s first day through breakfast on departure day are included. The exceptions are that guests are own their own for dinner on the layover day in Middlebury and breakfast/lunch on the layover day in Montreal. In total 5 dinners, 6 breakfasts and 6 lunches are included.
Breakfasts and dinners are in restaurants where clients either order off the menu or choose from a buffet. Fresh lunches that include salads, local fruit, vegetables and meats are served in roadside parks by the Lizard Head Cycling Guides. Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.
If on any given night a guest is tired or not feeling particularly social, they can choose to eat early and retire. Lizard Head Cycling enjoys hosting its guests for meals each evening, but understands some of us may just need to lie down after a day in the saddle. A meal should not feel like marathon after a big day on the bike.
Riders are responsible for their own lodging on the Saturday night prior to the NY to Montreal tour.
The NY to Montreal Tour is designed for intermediate to advanced cyclists. It is challenging tour with mileage options that allow cyclists to customize their experience. The tour averages 60 to 70 miles per day and is similar to riding Ride the Rockies, The Bike Tour of Colorado, Cycle Oregon or RAGBRAI.
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment supports Lizard Head Cycling’s tours. Cyclists keep a day bag that is accessible within the support vehicle.
The vehicle will sag and then pass riders to set up aid stations every 15 to 25 miles. This allows cyclists to linger at the back and then take a ten-mile, fifteen-mile or whatever mile “bump” forward to catch-up or get ahead of the group. Energy food, drink mixes, and fresh fruit are available throughout each stage.
It is not uncommon for cyclists on Lizard Head Cycling’s tours to ride their first century with us. Many are surprised by their ability to pedal majority of miles offered. We have all day to reach the destination. If you have any questions about your ability to ride with us, please contact us today (970.728.5891 or Info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com).
The Daily Schedule
Cyclists ride their own pace. Lizard Head Cycling does its best to support riders in their varying desires and efforts. Cyclists can either use our tours to simply support their tour experience or to engage in a guided experience along the route.
Q-sheets with directions, profiles and locations of aid stations are given out for each stage.
General Tour & Cancellation Policies
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.
Lizard Head Cycling Guides teams up with Seven Corners for travel insurance. Seven Corners offers:
- Travel Medical
- Medical Evacuation
- 24/7 Assistance
- Trip Cancellation
Be sure to go to our custom Seven Corners portal by clicking this link or by clicking the the banner on the right after confirming your tour with us to get a quote on travel insurance.