Vermont by Bike
Vermont has more than 14,000 mi of roads, and almost 80% of them are town roads that see little high-speed traffic, making them ideal for scenic bike rides. The state is also threaded with thousands of miles of dirt roads suitable for mountain biking. Although mountain-bike trails and old farm and logging roads wind through the Green Mountain State, most are on private property and are, therefore, not mapped. Several mountain-biking centers around the state have extensive trail networks (and maps) that will keep avid fat-tire fans happy for a few hours or a few days. To road bike in Vermont, you'll want a map and preferably a bicycle with at least 10 gears. The only roads that prohibit cycling are the four-lane highways and Routes 7 and 4 in Rutland.
Top Road Biking Routes
To make a relatively easy 16-mi loop, begin at the blinker on U.S. 7 in Shelburne and follow Mt. Philo Road south to Hinesburg Road, then west to Charlotte. Lake Road, Orchard Road, and Mouth of River Road go past orchards and berry fields. Bostwick Road returns to U.S. 7.
In the heart of the central Green Mountains is a moderate 18-mi loop on Routes 4, 100, and 100A that passes Calvin Coolidge's home in Plymouth Notch.
West of Rutland is a beautiful 27-mi ride on Routes 140, 30, and 133 that passes swimming holes, then hugs the shore of Lake St. Catherine. Start in Middletown Springs.
A scenic 43-mi ride in the Northeast Kingdom passes through pleasant Peacham and the birches and maples of Groton State Forest. Start in Danville and follow Peacham Road, then Routes 302 and 232 and U.S. 2.
For a real test, try the 48-mi ride over Middlebury and Brandon Gaps on Routes 125 and 73, which connect via Routes 153 and 100.
Mountain Biking Centers
Kingdom Trails. Considered one of the best mountain-biking destinations in the United States, the Kingdom Trails are a continually growing 100-plus-mile network of single-track trails and abandoned farm and logging roads maintained by the Kingdom Trail Association. The trails zigzag through fern grottos, climb into sugarbushes, and run through meadows and hayfields with views of working farms and forested mountains. Rte. 114, East Burke, VT, 05832. 802/626-0737. www.kingdomtrails.org. $7.
Catamount Outdoor Family Center. The Catamount Outdoor Family Center outside Burlington has cross-country ski and mountain-biking trails throughout its 450 acres. With views of Mt. Mansfield and Lake Champlain, the trails wind through old pastures and into the woods. A Wednesday-night race series from June to September is open to all abilities, and the center offers mountain-bike lessons and camps throughout the summer. 592 Governor Chittenden Rd., Williston, VT, 05495. 802/879-6001. www.catamountoutdoor.com. $6.
Mount Snow. Mount Snow is a ski area with a well-developed mountain-biking network. The resort's Mountain Bike School offers clinics in the summer. Rte. 100, 39 Mount Snow Rd., West Dover, VT, 05356. 800/451-4211. mountsnow.com. $30 with lift, $10 for trails only.
Killington. Killington has 45 miles of lift-served mountain-biking trails. Many of the singletrack trails are littered with slippery tree roots and rocks, making these networks best for advanced fat-tire riders. Killington Access Rd., 4763 Killington Rd., Killington, VT, 05751. 802/422-6200. www.killington.com. $32 with lift, $8 for trails only.
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