Mountain bikers in Stowe will have a whole network to disappear into for the day by the time the two Adams Camp 2.0 trails are built — likely by the end of the summer, says Roger Murphy, president of Stowe Trails Partnership.
Two new trails, which haven’t been named yet, will connect Kimmer’s Trail and Hardy Haul, two trails that currently are connected only by Haul Road.
Haul Road is a double-track path, which means it’s two tracks with a grass median in the middle. Picture a dirt driveway to a camp or favorite fishing spot.
The new trail would be singletrack, which is what most mountain bikers prefer, Murphy said.
“It’s more interesting. It gives you a closer connection to the landscape, it’s more of an intimate connection with the landscape. You’re right in there.
“The singletrack path might be a couple of feet across. You really feel like you’re in the woods, as opposed to on the road. We have some trails in Stowe where, if you have wide handlebars, you might be clipping a tree here and there. It’s not quite that narrow,” but the two new trails will provide a place to get up close and personal with the forest.
The second Adams Camp 2.0 trail will connect to the end of the Stowe Recreation Path, providing a continuation of the paved path into the woodsier parts of the Stowe mountain biking scene.
“You could park your car in town, you could ride on the Rec Path or ride on the road or you could park at the Cady Hill network, and you could pop into Cady Hill at Ranch Camp and ride through Cady Hill and ride all of that stuff and ride through Strawberry Hill Farm to the high school,” Murphy said. “You’re talking a full-day ride, with places to stop and eat along the way.”
For him, construction of the trails fills an important gap in the mountain biking scene — connectivity.
“The movement in mountain biking now is kind of away from isolated trails or a single trail here or a single trail here. The movement in the whole mountain bike community is really making bigger rides that are going to take longer, where you can do a part of if you want to, but if you want to do an all-day epic, this is going to help people do that,” Murphy said.
“There are two models for this already in the state, like the Long Trail for hiking,” and another for bikers called the XVT.
“That is dirt road and doubletrack and some singletrack that goes from Massachusetts to the Canadian border.
“There’s the Catamount trail, which is skiing from Massachusetts to the Canadian border.
“The major sport that’s done in Vermont that’s missing its big, connected ride is mountain biking,” Murphy said.
Stowe Trails Partnership is working with Stowe Land Trust, the Stowe town government, Strawberry Hill Farm and Trapp Family Lodge to construct the trails.
“In order to increase connectivity to the Adams Camp trails, it was necessary to build on sections of our private (non-easement) land,” said Sam von Trapp, director and executive vice president of Trapp Family Lodge. “Stowe Trails Partnership approached us, wanting to create a connector between the top of Kimmer's and the top of Hardy Haul.
“It looked awkward to build on the Adams Camp parcel, so Stowe Trails Partnership asked us for permission to build a public trail on our private land. It's a tough call giving up sovereignty over a stretch of trail that long, but we have a great partnership with STP, and a lot of respect for the network of trails they have created.”
Trapp Family Lodge built its own private mountain biking trail network 11 years ago, and von Trapp’s familiarity with the sport “made it an easier decision for our family to agree to allow this public trail on our land. We're excited to ride it, too,” von Trapp said.
“Mountain biking is a bigger and bigger part of our scene here at the Trapp Family Lodge every year. Many of our employees are avid riders, and we see more bikes on our guests’ cars every year. It's a natural balance to our cross-country skiing in the winter, and a great way to get out and enjoy the woods. And it pairs really well with quality lagers,” von Trapp said.
He says increased connectivity will be good for the sport overall.
“The top of Kimmer’s was connected to Hardy Haul by the Haul Road, which is gravel doubletrack, so it was a slog uphill, and a fast, bumpy, derailleur-slamming descent.
“Riders want singletrack whenever possible, and the standard to which STP builds their trails is very high, both in terms of sustainability and quality of riding experience, so this will be a huge improvement,” von Trapp said.
Murphy expects the two trails to be completed this year.