Mountain biking Stowe, VT has come a long way over the past few years. I remember riding some of the trails back in the day and they were little more than twisty, rooty, rocky footpaths. But not anymore! Stowe has invested tons of money into building up an amazing network of mountain bike trails and there is fun for everyone. From rough old-school singletrack to new school machine-built flow, Stowe is a great place to explore whether you’re a local or just visiting for a few days.
If you’re not familiar with the area, though, it can be challenging to know what trails to ride and how to link them up for a great pedal. In this post, I share a few of my favorite loops as well as a few tips for making the most out of your day on the trails.
Discover the best Stowe mountain biking trails and how to link them up for fun singletrack rides in Vermont suitable for all levels
Stowe Mountain Biking – Mapped
Stowe Mountain Bike Rentals & Bike Shops
If you need to rent a mountain bike or get yours tuned up, here are three great bike shops in Stowe:
Bikes, beers, and burritos are what make Ranch Camp go ‘round. This full-service bike shop and rental center has a large fleet of demo bikes including Yeti, Specialized, Ibis, and Rocky Mountain. You can also get your bike tuned and enjoy a delicious burrito or sandwich while you’re waiting.
Website: Ranch Camp
Phone number: (802) 253-2753
MountainOps is a great outdoor gear store and bike rental shop located near the parking area for Adams Camp (see more about the Stowe mountain biking trails below).
The shop is set in an iconic red barn built in 1893 and they offer a range of mountain bikes from high-end full-suspension carbon bikes to simple hardtails. They also do full tunes and have a good selection of bike parts and components.
Phone number: (802) 253-4531
Pinnacle Ski & Sports
Pinnacle is located just outside the village of Stowe and they have a small selection of mountain bike rentals. They’re also a full-service bike shop so they can help you out with any fixes or maintenance you might need with your own bike.
Website: Pinnacle Ski & Sports
Phone number: (802) 253-7222
Stowe Mountain Biking Trail Guide
Start planning your ride! Below is a guide to the best mountain bike trails in Stowe as well as a few suggestions on how to link them up for optimal fun. Also, be sure to check out the Stowe Trails Partnership website for more route recommendations and trail updates.
Best Mountain Bike Trails in Stowe
If you’re looking for the best of the best, here are 5 trails not to miss:
- Florence | Cady Hill Forest
Machine-built flow | Beginner/Intermediate
- Bear’s | Cady Hill Forest
Fun, fast, flowy descent | Beginner/Intermediate
- Kimmer’s | Adam’s Camp
Old-school twists and turns with rock features and bridges | Intermediate/Expert
- Pipeline | Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center
Switchbacked descent with natural features | Intermediate/Expert
- Hualapalooza | Adam’s Camp
Fast and flowy as a descent with optional features. It’s also ridden as a climb | Intermediate
Stowe Trail Networks & How To Link Them Up
Adams Camp has some of the best mountain biking in Stowe if you’re willing to work for it. The climb up is hefty, albeit built well, but the descents are rip-roaring fun! Because of the climbing and semi-technical downhill trails, I wouldn’t recommend this network for beginners. It’s best suited for fit intermediates and advanced riders.
This is my go-to loop in Stowe. The climb up Haulapalooza and Cheddar can be lung-busting, but trust me, the descent down Kimmer’s is worth it! Then it’s another climb up Hardy’s Haul for a second bomber descent down Haulapalooza. There are lots of manmade wooden features and natural features along this loop, so always scope before riding.
- Route difficulty: Intermediate
- Route stats: 8 miles | +/- 1,442 ft
- Route notes: This route follows the blue rectangle trail markers. It’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app to help navigate.
- Route directions: Stowe Rec Path Parking – Brooke Road > Left onto Brooke Road > Haulapalooza (entrance is easy to miss!) > Hardy’s Haul > Cheddar > Shredder > Kimmer’s > Derby Trail > Hardy’s Haul > Haulapalooza
- Make it longer: If you want to tack on a few miles to this ride, climb up the Haul Road to the log cabin after finishing the Cheddar climb. Then descend down Growler, which is a fun, tight, old-school trail. You can then either climb back up Growler or my preference is to climb up the grassy doubletrack back to the cabin. Growler requires a Trapp Family Lodge Trail Pass or VMBA Add-on.
Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center
You may be familiar with the name ‘Trapp’ from Maria Von Trapp of The Sound Of Music and yes, this is where the Trapp Family enjoyed many seasons of skiing and hiking. Today, the Trapp Family Lodge offers tons of different outdoor activities for visitors and guests including mountain biking, hiking, disc golf, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. They also have their own brewery and Austrian bakery onsite.
To enjoy the Trapp Family Lodge trails, you do need to purchase a Trail Day Pass, which can be purchased in-person or online.
This is a fun out-and-back ride that starts and ends at Trapp Family Lodge. The climbing is quite steep in places, so don’t underestimate it, but it’s a good option if you’re short on time or don’t want to do a huge ride. If you don’t want to climb up the singletrack, you can also take grassy doubletrack up to the cabin. It’ll still be steep, but less technical. If you choose to ride doubletrack, grab a map before you head out because there are a lot of twists and turns.
This ride will top out at a log cabin where you can fill up on water and relax on the porch before heading back down the way you came.
- Route difficulty: Intermediate
- Route stats: 8.1 miles | +/- 958 ft
- Route directions: Trapp Family Lodge Parking > Lodge Spur > Luce Hill Loop > Lodge Spur > Tap Line > Growler > Cabin Trail > Reverse trails back to lodge
If you’re looking for a full tour of the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center, this loop will deliver. Start off with some easy warm-up pedaling on Chuck’s Corkscrew, Stepping Stone, and Luce Hill before you start to climb and climb some more. The ascent up Tap Line and Growler is long and punchy, but just take it slow.
Fill up with water at the cabin before descending down the backside. Shredder and Kimmer’s are two miles of downhill fun! Finish the loop by climbing up Hardy’s Haul to Ted’s Unicorn Express.
**The turn-off onto TUCXS is easy to miss! Follow signs for Pipeline or else you’ll be doing a lot of extra climbing….
- Route difficulty: Advanced
- Route stats: 15 miles | +/- 1,817 ft
- Route directions: Trapp Family Lodge Parking > Pond & Pool > Greenway Connector > Stepping Stone > Chuck’s Corkscrew > Stepping Stone > Greenway Connector > Lodge Spur > Luce Hill > Lodge Spur > Tap Line > Growler > Cabin Trail > Haul Road > Shredder > Kimmer’s > Derby Trail > Hardy’s Haul > Haulapalooza > TUCXS (follow signs for Pipeline) > Luce Trail
- Make it shorter: This is a pretty big ride, so if you want to make it shorter, you can cut out the first few loops on Chuck’s Corkscrew, Stepping Stone, and/or Luce Hill.
- Make it longer: If you want to add some climbing and descending, park at the Stowe Highschool at the bottom of Pipeline. Climb up Pipeline to meet the route and then descend down Pipeline at the end. If you did everything in this loop, it would be a very big day.
Cady Hill Forest
Cady Hill Forest is a blast. It’s the best place for beginner riders or kids in Stowe because there is ‘less’ climbing (there’s still climbing!) and the trails are super fun and flowy. That being said, there are some pretty big, intimidating features as well, most of which have go-arounds.
You can also find old-school stuff here, too, with lots of roots if that’s your jam. But whatever you do, though, don’t miss Florence aka Flo.
This loop hits all the fun flow trails at Cady Hill. It’s a quick ride, but you can make it longer by taking a second lap on Florence.
- Route difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
- Route stats: 4.8 miles | +/- 620 ft
- Route notes: This route follows the yellow diamond trail markers. It’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app.
- Route directions: Cady Hill Forest Parking Lot > Cady Hill Climb > Ayrn’s Bypass > Cady Hill Connector > Florence > Snake > Upper Zog’s > Cady Hill Connector > Cady Hill Climb > Bear’s
- Make it longer: add a second Florence lap after climbing up Snake.
If you’re looking for a bigger ride, this loop is a great ride that hits most of the trails in the Cady Hill network. There are definitely some punchy ups and lots of roots, especially on the Schween Haus section, but there’s also a ton of flow.
- Route difficulty: Intermediate
- Route stats: 9.1 miles | 1,162 ft
- Route notes: This route follows the red rectangle trail markers. It’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app.
- Route directions: Parking behind Ranch Camp > Charlie’s > Bridgey > Green Chair Loop > Ayrn’s Loop > Cady Hill Connector > Florence > Snake > Upper Zogs > Cady Hill Connector > Schween Haus Outer > Schween Haus > Cady Hill Connector > Bear’s > Cady Hill Climb > Upper Florence > Lower Zogs > Iride Rock or Bridgey > Charlie’s
Where to Grab Post-Ride Food & Drink
Stowe has no shortage of great restaurants, breweries, and delis, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Edelweiss Mountain Deli has awesome sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. You can also pick up gourmet groceries like wines, cheeses, spreads, and local beer.
- Piecasso serves up great pizza and they have a wide selection of brews
- Idlethyme Brewing is my favorite place for outdoor dining. They serve great gastropub fare a selection of their own beer. They’re also located right on the Stowe Bike Path, so you can pedal there post-ride!
- Ranch Camp is both a bike shop and a burrito shop. They have a small food menu with tacos, burritos, and other sandwich-like fare that go well with a post-ride adult beverage.
Have you ridden in Stowe? What are your favorite Stowe mountain biking trails or loops? Where else do you love to ride in Vermont? Let us know in the comments below!