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Any mountain biker who visits or lives in Vermont knows about the magic of the Northeast Kingdom and the Kingdom Trails. It is the mountain bike mecca of the east just like Moab is the mountain bike mecca of the west.
But the Kingdom Trails isn’t the only place to find great riding in Vermont. Over the past decade or so, Vermont has exploded with new trails and enthusiasm for everything mtb. There are hundreds of miles of purpose-built singletrack with terrain suitable for all levels of riders. Plus, more trails and networks are being built every season.
So if you’re itching for a mountain bike escape to Vermont (and you should be!), here’s your guide to the best riding in the Green Mountain state.
1. Kingdom Trails
The Kingdom Trails in East Burke is perhaps Vermont’s best-known mountain bike destination. People come from near and far to explore this vast network of singletrack. You’ll find everything at the Kingdom Trails from fast and fun flow trails that will have you grinning from ear to ear (like Black Bear and Stormin’ Norman!) to raw and rowdy old-school downhill descents that will test the most advanced rider’s skills.
There are over 120 miles of trail to explore in East Burke, so be sure to spend a few days there to ride as much as you can.
If your legs need a break from all the pedaling, head to the Burke Mountain Bike Park for some lift-served downhill action.
2. Millstone Trails
Millstone is located just south of the town of Barre and it has several great networks of trail. The trails are managed by a non-profit organization and they are well maintained by a group of volunteers.
Millstone is an old granite quarry, which was actually quite famous in its heyday, and riders can still see relics of time past.
There are three main riding zones to Millstone:
- The Barre Town Forest is the oldest section of trail with easy-to-intermediate multi-purpose trails. Definitely check out TNT.
- Gnome Man’s Land is where the most challenging purpose-built trails are like Roller Coaster and Screaming Demon (both suuuper fun).
- Finally, there’s Canyonlands which is the easiest and also the most scenic zone at Millstone. Fellowship of the Ring is pretty much the only trail that winds its way through this zone and is worth the pedal if you want to add some miles to your day.
Note: The area was recently logged due to a beetle infestation, so some trails may be closed or in the process of being rebuilt.
Learn more about the Millstone Trails at Millstone Trail Association
3. Perry Hill
Perry Hill in Waterbury features some of the most technical (and fun!) mountain bike trails in Northern Vermont. The climb to the top is a bit brutal (although thanks to the new climb trail added in 2020 it’s not so bad).
If you want a challenge and have advanced skills, try Joe’s, Six Flags, Disneyland, or Rasta Man. You can expect lots of rocky features and technical lines and you can definitely get into trouble if you’re not prepared. Always scope the lines before dropping in.
There are two beginner-friendly descents at Perry Hill – Campfire and S’mores – but you still need to do some significant climbing to access them so be prepared to work hard if you hit up these trails. They’re worth it, though!
Learn more about Perry Hill at Waterbury Trails Association
4. Pleasant Valley
This Vermont mountain biking trail network is literally in the back of my Dad’s house – the house I grew up in. The trails were hand-built by him and his mountain bike club and it is home to some of the best riding in Vermont. Not being biased!
There are about 40 miles of singletrack in the Valley, but most of it isn’t publicly mapped on TrailForks or MTB Project because the trails stretch across a handful of private land owners. That being said, they are definitely being found out and more and more riders are heading to Pleasant Valley for the awesome riding.
Or better yet, become a member and sign up for the shenanigans that is the annual Tour de Valley.
Stowe is becoming the next Kingdom Trails. Over the past few years, the town of Stowe has poured tons of money into building new trail and repurposing old ones for all-around mountain biking fun.
The network of Cady’s Hill is just a few pedal strokes from town and has one of the best flow trails in the state – Florence (aka Flo). There are also plenty of old-school roots on the Schween loops, making for a great variety of terrain. Be sure to take Bear’s back out!
A short way away from Cady’s Hill is Adam’s Camp. One of my favorite all-time loops in Vermont is to pedal up Hualapalooza to Cheddar and then take the bombing Kimmer’s descent back down. This loop is about 8 miles with 1,442 ft of climbing. For an added bonus, climb up the Haul Road to the cabin for a snack and water break.
6. Richmond Area
The mountain biking around the Richmond area is growing. While not the best in the state quite yet, these networks are worth visiting if you have the time and want to explore more of the local’s scene.
Chamberlain Hill in Richmond has a nice mellow pedal to the top and then a fast (albeit tight) descent down Full House.
Cochran’s to the east has a larger network of singletrack and is definitely a local’s favorite. The climbs are challenging, but the descents down A-Day and Visceral are fun and fast.
There are also a ton more places to ride in the area like Bolton Valley Bike Park, Sleepy Hollow, and Hinesburg Town Forest.
Learn more about the Richmond mountain bike trails
7. Killington Bike Park
The Killington bike park was built in collaboration with Whistler’s Gravity Logic and it’s definitely worth a visit for any avid rider. There are three lifts that access progressively harder terrain at the mountain.
If you’re not into bike parks, Killington is also close to several other awesome networks. Head west to Rutland for Pine Hill Park, which has almost 16 miles of well-maintained cross-country singletrack for beginner/intermediate riders.
About 15 miles north of Killington is the town of Pittsfield and the mountain bike network of Green Mountain Trails. Here you’ll find over 25 miles of trail with 1,000ft of elevation gain. The trails can be accessed by self-shuttle or there’s a dedicated climb route.
The Ascutney Trails in southern Vermont are a fun place to spend a day or two. Much of the riding feels like you are climbing uphill both ways (#notmyfavorite), but that being said, there are some fun descents and lots of features to play around on.
I would recommend skipping the northern zone and focusing your ride on the southern network. Trails to hit include: Cloud Climber (actually a fun climb), Lynx, Just Smile, and Gracie’s Loop.
Important note: These are multi-use trails and Ascutney is a popular place for hikers. Check your speed and be courteous.
Find out more about the Ascutney Trails Association
9. Catamount Outdoor Center
For mellower riding, maybe with the family, head to Catamount Outdoor Center near Burlington. There are over 26 miles of professionally built and maintained trails for all levels (although they definitely cater to families with kids).
Catamount also offers bike rentals as well as group rides and clinics, but there is a day-use fee of $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
If you’re in the area, two other family-friendly places to check out nearby are Saxon Hill in Essex and Mobb’s Farm in Jericho.
Learn more about the Catamount Outdoor Center
10. Woodstock Area
Woodstock is not far from Killington (only a 30-minute drive) but I added it as a separate Vermont mountain biking destination because Woodstock is home to its own pedal-powered bike park – Suicide 6.
While definitely not as extensive as the Killington Bike Park, Suicide 6 has five miles of fun singletrack that is perfect for hot laps and skill-building. (There is no lift, but there is a dedicated climbing trail).
Also, be sure to check out the nearby Mt. Peg trails which are a combination of old-school singletrack and new-school freeride trails with natural and manmade features.
Last, but not least, head west of Woodstock to the Aqueduct Trails, another network with a mix of old-school tech and new-school flow.
Learn more at Woodstock Area Mountain Bike Association
Have you ridden in Vermont? Where is your favorite Vermont mountain biking network? What would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!