Locals know the best riding in Vermont includes picturesque views, great single track—and plenty of delicious snacks.
Vermont’s rugged mountains and wide open valleys have earned it a reputation for hiking and skiing—but with over 825 miles of single track & family friendly trails, it’s also worth exploring by mountain bike. The trail system is vast (and growing!) in Vermont, and many of its best views are accessed by bike.Yeah, mountain biking is cool… but knowing where to go and what to eat is even better! Check out this local’s guide to #MTB in #VT Click To Tweet
The nifty new Plan Your Ride tool on the Vermont Mountain Bike Association’s website can help you plan for a day or weekend of fun. But if you’re smart, you’ll start there and then tap into an even better source: the locals who ride (and build) those trails.
First, Decide Where to Stay
Three main trail systems dominate in these areas, each with its own unique style. From buffed-out berms and downhill lift-serve riding in the Northeast Kingdom, to rugged singletrack (and an excellent après scene) in the Waterbury/Stowe area, to the mix of hand-built single track and machine-built flow trails tucked among the farms of central Vermont, there are plenty of options for two-wheeled adventures.
Kingdom Trails: East Burke, Vermont
The Northeast Kingdom offers up more than 100 miles of single track via the Kingdom Trails network in East Burke—plus the Burke Mountain Bike Park just up the road, with rippin’ lift-serve trails for serious adrenaline junkies. Locals know to stop for a brew or espresso at the Hub Trailside on Darling Hill and to stock up on snacks at East Burke General Store. For ski resort-style accommodations and bike-friendly feel, check out the lodge at Burke Mountain. (Your bike can stay there for free, too!)
WATA and Stowe Mountain Bike Club Trails: Waterbury/Stowe, Vermont
The Stowe/Waterbury area is best known for its namesake ski area and the Stowe Mountain Lodge—but it’s also a great destination for mountain biking. For trail beta relevant to Waterbury, check out the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance; information about riding in Stowe is on the VMBA site. Finish your ride at the von Trapp Brewery for dinner—or seek out beer from The Alchemist a brewery that, in addition to brewing world-class beers, recently raised $12,000 with their newest addition Broken Spoke, for local trail-building efforts in the Waterbury/Stowe area.
RASTA Trails: Rochester/Randolph, Vermont
The trails in central Vermont—built and maintained by the Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance—offer a way to explore all that Vermont’s working landscape has to offer. Enjoy miles of singletrack and farm-fresh meals at the end of the trail by booking a getaway to Liberty Hill Farm, paired with a day of riding the RASTA trail network.
Liberty Hill is a picturesque working farm and inn and a Vermont Farm Stay Destination. It’s also one of the farms that owns Cabot Creamery Co-operative — which means that farm owners Beth and Bob Kennett play a vital role in supplying the milk for our award-winning cheddars.
If you stay at Liberty Hill, point your bike south on Liberty Hill Road toward Pittsfield to pick up Contest Trail (aka forest service road 2223B), then jump onto the Green Mountain Trails in Pittsfield and work your way up Noodles Revenge and Luvin’ It to a summit with a stone cabin and awesome views to the north. Then head back to Liberty Hill, where you can help with the farm chores—or simply kick back and enjoy a farm-fresh dinner from Beth, with the promise of more riding in the morning.
Fuel up with Real Food
Pro tip: Energy bars and water bottles are fine, but you can do better. When you get to that picnic knoll on your ride, break out some homemade whole-wheat cheese crackers and an insulated bottle of sweet iced tea. Your riding buddies will love you for it. If homemade crackers are too tall an order, pack an apple, some Cabot Cracker Cuts and a pocket knife, and knock out a few cheddar apple sandwiches right there trailside. If you live in Vermont, you know there are plenty of ways to improve on bland trail food by shopping locally. Tap into the maple syrup scene here by picking up a packet or two of Untapped Maple from Slopeside Syrup in Richmond, Vermont, grab a few Cabot Minis from the grocery store, or have some Cabot Greek Yogurt to start your day. Make it your goal to ride (and eat) like a local, and you’ll always have a good day. (Just remember to pack plenty of snacks!)
Supporting Your Local Mountain Bike Club
Joining and becoming a member helps support new trails being built as well as maintaining trail networks. You can also help out by volunteering for local trail days. Don’t forget to log your volunteer hours at Reward Volunteers. You can win monthly prizes and you can help your local chapter or organization win a cash prize.
Of course Vermont is not the only place with mountain bike enthusiasts and great trails. Find your local Mountain Bike Association in your area to learn more!