A Guide To Mountain Biking in Stowe, Vermont

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Mountain biking in Stowe, Vermont 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.

What to know before mountain biking in Stowe, Vermont

E-bikes are not allowed

E-bikes are not allowed on most mountain bike trails in Stowe. The only place they are allowed is at Sterling Forest, which I haven’t ridden (yet).

Routes are marked with colored trail markers

There are colored trail markers nailed to trees that make up suggested routes. I’ve included several of these routes in the Suggested Routes section below and you can see more of them on the Stowe Trails Routes Page.

It’s still a good idea to have a map or phone downloaded with TrailForks or MTB Project.

Trapp Family Lodge requires a pass

If you mountain bike at Trapp Family Lodge, you will need to purchase a pass. You can do this in-person or online.

Becky riding around bermed corner on mountain bike in Vermont

Stowe mountain bike trail networks

There are three main mountain bike trail networks in Stowe, Vermont:

  1. Adams Camp
  2. Trapp Family Lodge
  3. Cady Hill Forest

Adams Camp

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.

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.

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, don’t miss Florence aka Flo.

The best mountain bike trails in Stowe

If you’re looking for the best of the best, here are 6 trails not to miss. For route recommendations, see the next section below.

  1. Florence | Cady Hill Forest | Beginner/Intermediate
    Super fun and fast machine-built flow
  2. Bear’s | Cady Hill Forest | Beginner/Intermediate
    Fun, fast, flowy descent
  3. Kimmer’s | Adam’s Camp | Intermediate/Expert
    Old-school twists and turns with large rock features and bridges
  4. Pipeline | Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center | Intermediate/Expert
    Switchbacked descent with natural features
  5. Hualapalooza | Adam’s Camp | Intermediate
    Fast and flowy as a descent with optional features. It’s also ridden as a climb
  6. Serenity and Adrenaline / Adam’s Camp / Expert
    This is a new trail and I haven’t ridden it yet, but I’ve heard it’s really fun and challenging. There are lot a lot of man-made features like skinny bridges, ramps, jumps, drops, and more.
Female mountain biker riding up over rock onto wooden bridge with drop at the end

Route recommendations

1. Adam’s Camp Intermediate Loop

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail Network: Adam’s Camp
  • Mileage: 8.4 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,142 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

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

This is my go-to loop in Stowe. It route follows the blue rectangle trail markers, but it’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app to help navigate.

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.

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.

2. Trapps Tour Loop

  • Route difficulty: Advanced
  • Trail Network: Trapp Family Lodge
  • Mileage: 15 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,817 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

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

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….

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.

Three mountain bikers standing in front of log cabin in Vermont
Stop at the cabin at the top of Growler before heading back down

3. Cady Hill Yellow Diamond Loop

  • Route difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Trail Network: Cady Hill Forest
  • Mileage: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 620 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

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

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. Follow the yellow diamond trail markers, but it’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app.

Make it longer:

Add a second Florence lap after climbing up Snake.

4. Cady Hill Red Intermediate Loop

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail Network: Cady Hill Forest
  • Mileage: 9.1 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,160 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

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

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. It follows the red rectangle trail markers, but it’s still a good idea to have a map and/or GPS app.

There are definitely some punchy ups and lots of roots on this ride, especially on the Schween Haus section, but there’s also a ton of flow.

Stowe mountain bike rentals & shops

If you need to rent a mountain bike or get yours tuned up, here are three great bike shops in Stowe:

  • Ranch Camp: 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.
  • Mountain Ops: MountainOps is a great outdoor gear store and bike rental shop located near the parking area for Adams Camp. 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.
  • 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.

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
  • Idletyme Brewing is my favorite place for outdoor dining. They serve great gastropub fare and 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.
Outdoor seating in garden setting at Idletyme Brewing in Stowe, Vermont
Snag a spot in Idletyme’s outdoor garden patio

Learn more

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!

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