Built on an old railroad bed that juts across Lake Champlain, the 12.5-mile Island Line Trail in Burlington, Vermont, is one of the most stunning cycling experiences in the Northeast. Though it was badly damaged by floods in 2011, a $1.5 million rebuild has allowed the trail to reopen just in time for a late-season trek. Serious cyclists will want to connect to the 363-mile Lake Champlain Bikeway, and its 1,000-plus miles of themed tributary loops, for a four-day tour of rigorous distance rides. For all the scenery with less time in the saddle, ferries and bridges can shorten the ride.
Biking Lake Champlain, Day One: Whitehall, NY, to Port Kent, NY (82 miles)
Departing from the dockside town where the first Navy ships were built during the American Revolution, you'll pass outcroppings of layered rock. About 25 miles north, Fort Ticonderoga offers commanding hilltop views. Another 15 miles brings you to the faded iron-mining town of Port Henry, a good place to lunch on the lake and stretch your legs among 19th-century brick storefronts. At Port Kent, you can cut this four-day trip to two with a ferry ride to Burlington.
More information: The family-owned Villa Motel, on the bikeway, has rear windows facing thick pine woods.