Vermont and all its surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. There are several mountain lakes, state parks, swimming holes, and holes for persons of all ages and abilities. Many riders like to refer to Vermont as the Northeast Kingdom. It is the Mountain bike Mecca of the northern United States. The only real comparison that people make is with Moab to the west.
Over the past 10 years the area has exploded and it has new trails and enthusiasm for everything mountain biking. There are new miles of well built trails, legit DH runs, lift-served bike park, and beautiful views. Additionally, there are many bars, restaurants, shop, bed and breakfast, that cater for sweaty, muddy, beer-drinking riders. The area in summer is simply lit.
However, it is important to note that all the trails are not the same and there are those that require a lot of caution if you want to visit. You will need to have a guide but the experience is something out of this world. There are dozens of amazing single tracks throughout the state that run from North to South. So if you want a mountain bike experience in Vermont, here is a guide to some of the best places for riding.
1. Kingdom MTB Trails
The Kingdom Trail is one of Vermont’s mountain biker’s jewel. The trails are popular and people from far and wide know them. The trails receive over 100,000 visitors every year. Believe it or not, there are those that have been fascinated by the trails that they have moved within the area and now live there.
The Kingdom Trails are more than 100 miles of single track trails. There are designed for everyone from beginners to experts. The trails are very smooth and fast, they twist, turn, and undulate. There are no many long and extensive climbs. The Kingdom Trails allow a rider to focus on carrying momentum and change speeds as they so wish.
The swoopy, snaking are big, and all the tabletops are rollable. If you are ready for airtime you will appreciate the smooth lipped takeoffs and the butterfly landings. Bare bones biking include day passes to the Kingdom Trails and a 15% off voucher that you can use for return trips to wildflower inn the same season.
The Wildflower Inn has many special offers for the Kingdom Trail including a full service bike shop on site, a repair tool station, wash and repair, bike storage, shower and changing room to make you as comfortable as possible.
Below we look at some of the most famous trails in the Kingdom Trail system:
- Sidewinder – sidewinder is one of Kingdoms Trail iconic areas to visit. It zigzags downwards on a very steep hill. You need to have momentum and speed to climb the sides of the gully and plummet down on the other side. Simply put, what makes the place famous is the g-forces that riders get to experience as they go down the trail.
- Tap and Die_ Tap and Die is a black trail and it is great for beginner and expert riders. It is extremely fast and you easily flow because there are a few rocks and roots on the course. Tap and Die is so popular that on weekend people line up for a chance to ride on it.
- Kitchel_ Kitchel is the first trail built in the Kingdom Trail System. It is fast and has parked with many swooping turns.
Most of the Kingdom Trails are on private property and over 50 landowners have joined hands to ensure that the trails are available to members of the public. It will cost you an average of $ 15 to get a ride on the trails. There are six parking areas and the trails are open from May to October. Very few open in winter for biking.
The Millstone Mountain bike network is found South of Barre. It is one amazing track with many wonderful scenery. The park is managed by a non-profit organization and all the trails are well maintained by the volunteers. Millstone has three main zones, and they are:
The Barre Town Forest
It is home to the greatest diversity in the Millstone network. The area is circular and it has several trails on either side. Most of the trails are excellent for all types of recreation including hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, trail running, and snowshoeing.
The Grand lookout, Town Forest Parking, and West side Rail Road, are the main corridors through the eastern, northern, and western sections of the Forest. They link Barclay Quarry, Brook Street, and Town Forest Parking areas.
Gnome Man’s Land
Gnomes Man’s Land is the most challenging trails in Millstone. Most of the trails here are built for the experienced mountain bikers. The easiest way to access Gnome Man’s Land is via the Grand lookout. However, there are other routes through which you can access it including Websterville Road, and Barre Town Middle and Elementary school.
There is an active quarry that cuts through Gnomes Man’s Land. There are many heavy trucks that use this area and you need to exercise caution when you are crossing this road.
Canyonlands is the easiest but at the same time the most scenic of all the trails in Millstone. Fellowship of the Ring is the only trail that passes through the zone. Nonetheless, there are a few areas that have stones as Millstones used to be quarry.
3. Green Mountain Trails
The Green Mountain Trail in Vermont has 28 different trails and over 22 miles of single track. The trails are made in such a way that they will cater for both beginners and experts alike. The trails feature mild climbs that are forgiving and smooth, flowy, and fast descents.
The climbs together with the descents go for about six miles but for riders who are looking for a longer and sustained effort they can go further. The area has over 100 downhill bermed switchbacks that are designed for those who enjoy mountain biking.
In particular, the system is popular because of its incredible panoramic views. The trails of Green Mountain are located in Northern-central Vermont in a town known as Pittsfield. Parking areas are limited and most of them are located off the highway. During the wet seasons you will have to walk across a river to get to the main trail. You can also access the rails via a parking lot off the Tweed River Dr. you will pay nothing to ride on the trails.
The three most popular trails in Green Mountain are:
- Rabbit Hole – The Rabbit Hole Trail begins on a very wide trail that has few whoops that help you to warm up. After going through a short climb, the trail goes into a section that has spruce trees. The trail is very fast with smooth turns and has some surprises.
- Labyrinth – This is one of the most unique trails in the system. Where as most of the trail is smooth and fast, Labyrinth has the roughest and rootiest trails I Green Mountain System. All the turns are tight and you need to have good bike handling and great precision.
- Zebedee – It is a blue trail with small loops and is a great ride for both intermediate and expert riders. There are many turns and twists, whoops, and berms.
In many cases, the trails in Green Mountain are highly forested and it gets darker earlier in the day. You should bring a light if you intend to ride these trails after 4 pm.
4. Sunny Hollow, Colchester
It is a beginner/ intermediate trail that is a few minutes from downtown Burlington, Vermont. It is well maintained by members of Fellowship of the Wheel and it has six miles of loops for beginners and intermediate riders.
The trails cover an area of 88 acres and they are bound to keep any level rider busy for about 2 hours. You can ride the East loop going through the Brooke Crossing and into the limits then get back to Triborough Bridges. The management has upgraded the trails of Sunny Hollow mainly using funds from Specialized Bicycles a non-profit organization.
5. Jester Kingdom Trails, Burke Mountain
If you are looking to get the best rides and beautiful views the best place to visit is Jester Kingdom Trails, Burke Mountain. It is located on the western edge of South Vermont. The Jester Kingdom Trail has a wooded, rustic environment that will make you easily forget you are near the city.
The Trails have frequent switchbacks and snug trees, which mean it, can be a thriller or cakewalk depending on your speed. It is one of the best places where you practice your bike handling, and it is a place where you can boost your confidence and fall in love with bike riding again.
The trails at the Jester Kingdom Trails range from flowy and smooth, to twisty and tight, and there are hard features such as log skinnies and rock gardens. The south and north loops twist through the rock gardens and trees and they are very walkable for beginners or ridable at speed. The southwest loop has smooth berms that give a looser feeling, a few drops, and rollers to keep you on your toes. If you are looking for a roller coaster sensation you should come to the Kingdom trails at Jester.
After going through the punchy climb, you can ride downhill via a series of high-speed berms and finish right where you started. Jester Kingdom trail has an outdoor center known as the Trailhead. It is ideal for bicycle rentals, post-ride meals, and bike repairs. Trail maps, water, lockers, studio classes, showers, and a sauna are also available.
6. Killington Bike Park
Killington Bike Park is the fastest growing downhill mountain bike park in Vermont. It has more than 58 trails with more than 30 miles that you can explore. Killington Park has three different lifts that cater to beginner, intermediate, and expert riders.
There are mandatory drops and technical features but there are certain trails that offer you a smooth riding experience. The smooth spots on the course are for beginner and intermediate riders. Whereas, it may tempt you to try out all the trails it is advisable that you use one trail until you are fully familiar with it. You tend to improve and gain confidence more quickly if you become accustomed to one route.
The park is located in Killington, Vermont. Killington Bike Park is open from early June to late October. To stay at the park for one day you will pay $ 60 and $ 100 for two days. If you stay for three days you will pay $ 125 and $ 439 for a season-long pass.
The park has five parking areas and beginners should park at Ramshed lodge while intermediate and expert riders can park either at Snowshed lodge, Bear lodge, and K-1 lodge. Additionally, there are plenty of amenities including rentals, bars, restaurants, and live music.
Alpine Bike Works is the premier Killington’s bike shop. It is open every day of the week from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm. The shop is less than two miles from the bike park.
Some of the most popular trails at Killington Bike are the following:
- Krusty – This is one great intermediate trail. It goes through a forest full of roots, rocks, and big berms. However, it still has a variety of fast and flowy sections along with precision riding through pedally, and technical sections.
- Black Magic – It is a freeride black trail consisting of large, top style jumps that grow bigger as you ride down the hill. The tabletop style jumps are a great way for you to practice jumping since the consequences of coming short are less severe than the gag jumps.
- Step it Up – This is the perfect trail for beginner and intermediate riders. It is wide enough and has several berms. As you improve on your skills you can increase the pace so that you can increase the challenge. However, if you feel nervous you should ride slowly as you gain your confidence.
Vermont is one of the hidden gems of the mountain biking community. Whereas many people know the state for the kingdom trails, there are many other trails that are on offer in Vermont. Once you arrive in the state for mountain biking you will not want to leave.