How to get from New York City to the Canadian Border
Probably the most difficult part of the trip, logistically speaking, is getting back from the endpoint to the starting point. As of now, there is no shuttle service, but that might change as the trail gets more popular. We have compiled a list of 6 different methods.
One-Way Rental Car
Find a Friend
The easiest option to travel from the Canadian Border to New York City, especially during the pandemic, will be to rent a car. Most rental car companies let you pick up a car in one location and return it in another for a minimal fee. Note that prices can vary wildly depending on the starting location, ending location, the direction you're traveling in,, and the specific demands in each of the two rental locations. The savvy shopper will play around with the dates, locations, and direction to find the best place.
If you're renting a car from the North side, you'll have to pick up the car at the Plattsburgh airport.
You can either bike back from the border to Plattsburgh or take a taxi, which wi be under 40 minutes by taxi, or 26 miles by bike. Stopping the bike trip in Plattsburgh is also an option, but who wants to stop so close to the finish line? Once in Plattsburgh, you can pick up a one way rental back to New York City. On the way back, make sure to stop at all the places that you were just a little bit too far out of range to bike!
Amtrak has a single daily train, the Adirondack 68 and 69, between New York City and Rouses Point. This train also stops in many cities along the route, including Albany and Plattsburgh. The train also continues to Montreal. Currently, Amtrack has paused service north of Albany, and likely until the pandemic is over, this train is not an option for the Empire State Trail north of Albany.
Greyhound has 3 daily buses between New York City and the Canadian Border. There are also a few stops along the way, including Albany and Plattsburgh. The most challenging part of travelling via bus is that Greyhound requires bikes to packed in a bike box. Procuring a bike box will be more difficult in Rouses Point than New York City, so that might affect your decision of which direction you want to travel.
Another option, which might be the priciest method, is to Uber or take a taxi. It'll be pricey, but at least it's direct. Make sure to order a car that's big enough to take your bike!
The 5th option is to have a friend drive alongside you or meet you at the finish line. This is certainly cheaper, and allows for you to easily transport your belongings without weighing you down on the trail. Additionally, a friend who would love to take a trip of a lifetime with you but isn't down for some serious exercise can you meet you at your hotel each night and join the party there.
Lastly, taking an airplane is not very straightforward, but is an option nonetheless. Flying between New York and the Canadian Border has already been discussed in a different post. Airports near New York City are LGA, JFK, and EWR. Near the Canadian Border are the Montreal, Plattsburgh, and Burlington airports. If you're flying to bike the trail either way, this might be the best option to get home.