Lakes to Locks Passage: “The Great Northeast Journey”
Lakes to Locks Passage is a designated New York State Byway that runs along the interconnected waterways of Lake Champlain, Lake George, Champlain Canal, and the Upper Hudson River. This byway has been called “The Great Northeast Journey” and is a door into the history of nation building in the northeastern United States and Canada. Visitors to the byway will have access to 225 miles of historic and recreational sites, including a series of 32 “Waypoint Communities,” which have come together to provide visitors with walking, biking, and driving tours of the region.
Lakes to Locks Passage is a gateway to many recreational activities including, boating, biking, hiking, rock climbing and snowshoeing. In addition to its route through New York state, this byway unites the waterway between Canada and New York. Richelieu Valley, the northernmost region of the byway, is in Quebec, one of North America's most fascinating cities. The byway continues south into New York through the Lake Champlain region into Lake George, ending in the southern region, Champlain Canal, in Troy, New York just north of Albany.
Along the Lakes to Locks Passage in New York, each town has unique historical and regional activities. The history of this region includes sunken ships in the waterways and lakes, lock systems built hundreds of years ago, battlefields and military sites, and even examples of daily life in the 1800s. Golfing and boating are also very accessible activities along the byway. Most towns have golf courses nearby and those located along the water have boat launches.
Starting in the north of New York and proceeding south along the byway, here are a few of the most interesting things to do.
Rouses Point: This town is home to the First School House, built in 1816. Visitors can also visit a variety of homes built in the 1800s, which have been preserved and are open for visitors.
Plattsburgh: People enjoying the byway should make sure to stop at the Myers Fine Art Gallery, which houses Plattsburgh State’s fine arts programs. The galleries feature the art of students and professionals as well as an entire gallery dedicated to the sculptures of Nina Winkel. Plattsburgh is home to the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum and the Battle of Plattsburgh Association/War of 1812 Museum. Visitors can also travel by boat to Crab Island, the site of a military hospital during the Battle of Plattsburgh.
Peru: Those who stop in Peru can see the markers for Underground Railroad sites in the town.
Keensville: The region has a large number of historic bridges. Keensville has a group of bridges included in the Historic Bridges of the AuSable River. The self-guided map includes the 1843 Stone Arch Bridge and others within the town.
Willsboro: Willsboro features the 1812 Homestead Farm/Museum, which is a working farm with equipment and buildings dating from the 1800s.
Crown Point: Visitors to Crown Point will find it well worth their time to visit Champlain Monument and Lighthouse. The monument was build by New York and Vermont to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the lake's discovery by Champlain.
Ticonderoga: A hike up Mt. Defiance provides visitors with views of the entire Champlain Valley.
Hague: The town of Hague has a few interesting geological features for visitors along the Lakes to Locks Passage. Roger’s Rock was named for Captain Robert Roger, a recruit for the British Army during the French and Indian War; the rock is also a great climbing destination. Indian Kettles, glacial holes used by Native Americans for food preparation and other things, are also located near Hague.
Bolton: The Tongue Mountain Range and the Cat and Thomas Preserve have opportunities for hiking and give visitors the chance to see the nature of the region.
Lake George Village: The Lake George Recreation Area is a great spot of winter sports. In addition, there are three shipwrecks located in Lake George; visitors interested in sunken ships can seek out more information about the wrecks.
Hudson Falls: Visitors to Hudson Falls can watch the Five Combines of Glens Falls Feeder Canal. The five locks were built in 1845 as replacements for the old wooden locks.
Fort Edward: Fort Edward was a military fortification which saw action throughout the early history of America. The Old Fort House Museum in the town of Fort Edward was built in 1772 from materials taken from the fort. A large collection from Fort Edward is now located in the Old Fort House Museum.
Schuylerville: Visitors can stop at the Saratoga National Historical Park visitor center near Stillwater and learn about the Historical Park, collect information, and gather maps. The Saratoga Battle Monument, an obelisk commemorating the victory at the Battle of Saratoga, is one part of the Saratoga National Historical Park located near Schuylerville. Visitors to Schuylerville can also stop at Schuyler House, the historic home of General Philip Schuyler. Schuylerville is also the location of Schuylers Canal Park and Fort Herdy, the site of the Field of Grounded Arms where the British General Burgoyne surrendered.
Waterford: One of the last cities in the southern region of the byway is the home of Peebles Island State Park, which is located at the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. This park has miles of paths for visitors.
Lakes to Locks Passage has much more to offer visitors. Those who choose to embark on this historic journey are sure to learn about the history of our nation and enjoy the northeast as it is today. Be prepared to take a few walking and biking tours in order to truly enjoy the many adventures the byway has to offer.