Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19 - Biking the Carriage Roads

In and around the official park are 57 miles of what are known as carriage roads. John D Rockefeller, Jr had a summer home on the island and wanted to preserve the environment from cars so he created the carriage roads. They are wide, stone dust covered roads where only non motorized traffic is allowed. This means walking and horses but mostly biking.

One of the most interesting aspects of the road system are the 16 beautiful stone bridges. Over our time here I hope to get to every one of them.

We started our ride about 10:30 and got back about 4 pm covering 40 km with only a bit of route duplication. There are not a lot of flat spots on the roads. They mostly are skirting around the large hills they call mountains around here. The grades are very gentle so we could easily get up the hills in our lower gears but some of them just seemed to go on forever and towards the last we ended up walking a bit.

Lots of nice views of lots ponds and small lakes.


Our first bridge.


Going over our next bridge. It didn’t look like much from the top but I had read in someone’s blog that you should always climb down and see them from the bottom.


Much better.


I really like this picture.


At one point we were level with Eagle Lake but then we climbed up for this view.


We had started our ride in the very north end of the park. The farther south we got the busier it got. We saw a huge number of rental bikes. I guess school must be out because we also saw a lot of families.

After a nice long downhill we got to the next bridge.


And a view back up Eagle Lake.


Our first of many encounters with the horse drawn carriages that were used for the tours. We also saw lots of deposits which I always had to warn Jennie about.



We stopped and had our lunch in front of the Jordan Pond Restaurant. It is famous for its setting where you eat out on the lawn with a great view of the pond. It is also famous for its lobster dinners with popovers and for afternoon tea.



We weren’t really dressed for it and we had brought our lunch but I think we will have to come back and try it out because it is one of the things everyone says you must do.

This is as far as I had planned to go but by this point we had only done about 15 km and were still feeling pretty good. I had bought a biking guide book and it recommended the side trip around and up Mount Day. It was only a climb of about 300 vertical feet but again in hindsight it put us a bit over the top as we still had a long way to get back to the car.

This is the bridge across the highway to get to the side loop. Some bridges Jennie can look over with ease, others, no way.


The trail looped around the mountain and then there was a 2.5 km spur that went to the top. It was very gentle but just seemed to go on forever. We walked a lot. Two girls that were power walking to the top kept passing us.



The view to the south was pretty good.



It had been quite hot at the top. Going back down and completing the loop in the shade was a relief.


Back on the main trail we got to another bridge. Sorry for all the bridge pictures but I am going to include them all.


We went back north on the eastern side of Eagle Lake. Thankfully is was very flat.


Our final bridge for the day was a big one.


We saw this guy crossing the road.


I am including the GPS track for my own record.

Carriage road

The Day Mountain loop is at the bottom. Even though the intersections are very well marked, you can see on the left where I still made a wrong turn. You can’t hide anything from the GPS.

You can also see the track from our hike yesterday on the right.

carriage rd ele

The two main elevation peaks were the climb up the west side of Eagle Lake and the Day Mountain climb.

As usual it was back to the RV for a nap.


  1. Wish I could have joined you for that bike ride. Looked great! Jim

  2. Bridges and lakes.....beautiful! What a gorgeous bike trail!!!