If you’re going mountain biking in Vermont, break out the hyperbole. It’s going to take a thesaurus full of superlatives to describe the experience — as in the raddest, baddest, craziest, gnarliest and just plan best experience on two wheels.

Some trails require riders with a very particular set of skills, so if you’re new or newer to the sport, it’s a good idea to start by doing some research, asking around — locals and bike shops are great resources — and picking a trail or area suited to your abilities. Most trail networks offer trails with variety of skill levels. 

The great thing about mountain biking is that besides the biking, you’ll encounter spectacular vistas, rambling mountain streams, moss-strewn erratics, lovely mixed hardwood and softwood forests, swimming holes, and abundant wildlife.

“Happy trails to you / Until we meet again / Happy trails to you /

Keep mountain biking until then …” 

Perry Hill 

Location: Waterbury 

Getting there: River Road; a short distance to the trailhead from the parking area.

Miles of tracks: 10 miles of intermediate to advanced, sometimes strenuous mountain biking trails. 15 trails, 781 feet of vertical

Maintained by: Waterbury Area Trails Alliance 

Known for: S’Mores, a “masterfully crafted flow trail.” Rats Man, WATA’s longest trail. 

Description: Dramatic downhills and arduous uphills. Some say these technical singletrack downhills are the best in Vermont. A smorgasbord of options from rock challenges to masterfully crafted flow to rewarding climbs … even family friendly. 

Adams Camp 

Location: Stowe 

Getting there: Just past the Matterhorn on Stowe’s Mountain Road, up Ranch Brook Road. Other access from Stowe High School and Brook Road.

Miles of tracks: 5 

Singletrack or doubletrack: Eclectic mix of doubletrack, technical singletrack and flow

Maintained by: Stowe Trails Partnership 

Shared use: Hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, Nordic 

Description: A 513-acre conserved property with seven MTB trails. The property sits next to the Ranch Valley, a historic winter recreation area. It provides access to private trails owned by Trapp Family Lodge that require a pass to ride. 

Cady Hill Forest 

Location: Stowe 

Getting there: On Mountain Road across from the Town and Country Resort, ¾ of mile from Route 100 in the center of Stowe. A second access through Cady Hill Road substation.

Miles of tracks: 11 miles 

Maintained by: Stowe Trails Partnership 

Shared use: Hiking, trail running 

Description: 23 trails on 320 acres whose diverse terrain, great views, easy access from the town and Stowe Rec Path, caters to just about any skill level, and has made it the flagship trail network of the Stowe Trails Partnership and one of the most ridden trail networks in the Northeast. 

Sterling Forest 

Location: Stowe 

Getting there: End of Sterling Valley Road.

Miles of tracks: 9 miles with 14 trails 

Maintained by: Stowe Trails Partnership, others 

Shared use: Hiking, trail running, snowshoeing, Nordic, backcountry, horse, snowmobiling 

Description: Sterling trails are part of a giant swath of protected land — 1,530 acres — used by a variety of different outdoor enthusiasts. Unique among Stowe’s trail networks due to its remote location and backcountry feel. The trails are challenging, and the setting offers a sense of isolation that can be hard to find these days. 

Little River, Cottonbrook 

Location: Stowe 

Getting there: Off Nebraska Valley Road.

Trails: 4

Total vertical: 2,235 feet

Shared use: Dog walkers, hiking, trail running, horses, snowmobiles, snowshoe, backcountry and Nordic ski

Known for: Post bike swims, fatbike friendly.

Description: “From the challenge of the grueling 9-mile Cotton Brook Road climb to farmhouses and orchards and a gentle afternoon stroll to Waterbury reservoir, this place has it all.” Connects to Little River State Park.

Cadys Falls 

Location: Morristown 

Getting there: Duhamel Road, park on left just before the nursery.

Miles of tracks: 29

Primary trail type: All-mountain, downhill

Shared use: Hiking, trail running, horses 

Description: Network entrance is on the right at the top of the road past the nursery. A downhill course, trails all end by dumping riders out on The Way Out. Some riders say trails aren’t well marked, but it’s hard to get lost. There’s always The Way Out.

Mobbs Farm 

Location: Jericho 

Getting there: Off Browns Trace Road.

Miles of tracks: 49 trails, total of about 10 miles 

Maintained by: Fellowship of the Wheel, Town of Jericho

Shared use: Hiking, trail running, horse, snowshoeing, Nordic, hunting

Description: Some nice natural, mostly rake and ride trails. Offers a good variety of riding. Includes a number of rock ledges. Americana is characterized by “steep ascents and descents, technical single track.” Lots of different users here.

Apres bike: Secret swimming holes! 

Hinesburg Town Forest 

Location: Hinesburg 

Getting there: Three access points: Economou Road, Hayden Hill Road East, and Hayden Hill Road West. 

Miles of tracks: 18 miles and 17 trails

Maintained by: Fellowship of the Wheel 

Shared use: Hiking, snowshoeing, hunting, with occasional permitted use of ATVs and horses on the town-maintained Eagle Trail

Description: 850-acre historic town forest. See old rock walls, foundations, wells, apple trees and other signs of a bygone era. Trails are primarily “old-school rake-and-ride,” and can be quite challenging. Limited options for beginner and intermediate riders. Set in the middle of three contiguous networks, the Hinesburg Town Forest is an excellent jumping off point for some of the longest, most challenging rides in Vermont. “Head up and over to the incredible Carse Hills trails to the south or climb up to the Butternut Cabin at Sleepy Hollow to the north,” say the Fellowship of the Wheel folks.

Carse Hills 

Location: Hinesburg 

Getting there: Access from Lincoln Hill Road, Big Hollow Road and Hollow Road.

Miles of tracks: 10 miles 

Highlights: Henry’s Highlands, Preacher, Crucible, Pinner and Voodoo Child

Maintained by: Fellowship of the Wheel 

Shared use: Hikers and trail runners

Description: Some say Carse Hills offers some of the best singletrack in Vermont on land nestled between Lincoln Hill and Hollow Road. It features big climbs, large old growth trees, meadows with spectacular views, and a classic ridgeline. A real gem for advanced riders. Nice combo of technical and flowy. Advanced trails incorporate freeride options such as rock faces, jumps and wooden features. 

Howe Block — Camel’s Hump State Forest

Location: Waitsfield

Getting there: Tucker Hill Road or American Flatbread parking lot.

Miles of tracks: 13 miles with 14 trails 

Maintained by: Mad River Riders 

Shared use: Hiking, e-biking, trail running, horse, snowshoeing, backcountry, Nordic 

Description: Intermediate to expert with a combination of old-school rooty, rocky trails to more flowy, machine-made intermediate trails. Fun and popular. Lots and lots of climbing means lots of fun on the way down. 

Kingdom Trails 

Location: East Burke 

Miles of tracks: 98 miles, 188 trails

Highest trailhead: 1,728 feet

Maintained by: Kingdom Trail Association

Shared use: Hiking, trail running, snowshoe

Description: Mostly singletrack, but some double and dirt too. 75 percent of the trails is intermediate to black diamond. Trails for all ages and abilities, from technical single track to excavated flow trails, skills parks, pump tracks and mellow double track. The interconnected network allows riders to go from one end to the other with the village of East Burke at the heart.

New this year: Another Round gives riders the option to ride a special pocket of trails in multiple directions. “Twisty, with an old school feel, riders with a keen eye may catch a glimpse of the Burklyn Mansion and Inn at Mountain View Farm. Two short bridges built with milled hemlock timbers pulled from the forest bring the trail some cool character.” Oh, and Lawson’s Finest Kingdom Trails IPA supports the Kingdom Trails Association.

Sources: stowetrails.org, trailforks.com, fotwheel.org, vmba.org, madriverriders.org and kingdomtrails.org.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexual language.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be proactive. Use the "Report" link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.