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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.
Important Things to Know
trail networks & Route Recommendations
There are three main mountain bike trail networks in Stowe, Vermont:
- Adams Camp
- Trapp Family Lodge
- Cady Hill Forest
Stowe Mountain Biking Trail map
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 super 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.
Adams Camp Route Recommendation
>> Adam’s Camp Intermediate Loop
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 awesome descent down Haulapalooza.
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
Route notes: There are lots of manmade wooden features and natural features along this loop, so always scope before riding.
Do more: 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.
Mountain Bike Packing List
Below are a few of my favorite pieces of mountain biking gear and recommendations for your mountain bike trip or ride:
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.
Trapp Family Lodge Route Recommendation
>> Trapps Tour Loop
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.
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
Route notes: The turn-off onto TUCXS is easy to miss! Follow signs for Pipeline or else you’ll be doing a lot of extra climbing….
Do less: 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.
Do more: 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, don’t miss Florence aka Flo.
Watch BCpov hit Flo – one of the best descents in Stowe
#1 Cady Route Recommendation
>> Cady Hill Yellow Diamond Loop
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.
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
Do more: Add a second Florence lap after climbing up Snake.
#2 Cady Route Recommendation
>> Cady Hill Red Intermediate Loop
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.
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
Planning your trip to Stowe, Vermont
Stowe is a tourist town, so there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, bike shops, etc… to make your trip a success.
Here are a few planning resources to get you started:
If you need to rent a mountain bike or get yours tuned up, here are three great bike shops in Stowe:
food & drink
Stowe has no shortage of great restaurants, breweries, and delis, but here are a few of my favorites:
Where to stay
If you want to camp, Gold Brook Campground is the closest camping.
Stowe is one of my favorite places to ride in Vermont. It has a good mix of technical terrain and flow trails, making it a great destination for all riders from kids and beginners to those looking for rowdier stuff.
Remember that riding on the Trapp Family Lodge land requires a pass even if you’re ‘just passing though’.
Have fun and be safe!
Looking for more two-wheeled adventures in Vermont? Check out these related blog posts:
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!