Pedaling Green Mountain National Forest
A multitude of blueberries grow wild on the south side of Hogback mountain, where an extensive network of ski/bike trails begins from the Blueberry Hill Inn. This is one of Vermont's best cross-country ski centers and it is a favorite of classical-style skiers for its narrow trails and carefully set tracks. Tony Clark, owner of the inn, maintains the trails, composed of old logging roads and jeep trails, on land he leases from the Green Mountain National Forest. Some of these paths are open for mountain biking, and they provide a wide variety of riding opportunities for beginner to expert ability levels, with all trails beginning and ending at the Inn.
During the summer, the ski shop is transformed to a bike shop, where mountain bikes are available for rent ($25 per day, $30 per day with suspension). There is no trail fee. A mechanic is on hand to answer questions and perform any necessary repairs. Outside you will find a hose for washing yourself and your bike after your ride, and inside are rest rooms and a changing area.
If you really want to make a day of it, stay for a gourmet dinner at the inn (reservations required). At the very least, have one of Blueberry Hill Inn's famous chocolate chip cookies before you leave. There is enough riding at Blueberry Hill to keep you busy for a few days, but the Leicester Hollow Trail and the Hogback Mountain loop will give you a taste. Many more combinations of trails are available in the area, and it is an excellent place for a bona fide dirt road rider to give single-track a try.
Leicester Hollow Trail
This 16-mile loop ride takes you first to the Falls of Lana and then onto the four-mile Leicester (pronounced Lester) Hollow Trail for an excellent, mellow, single-track experience. You will pass by peaceful Silver Lake, where no motorized boats are allowed. Much of your time will be spent riding in the Green Mountain National Forest. The first half of the ride descends steadily to the Falls of Lana for a total elevation loss of 800 feet. You must climb 500 feet back up to the Leicester Hollow Trail, and then descend gradually for 4 miles, losing another 500 feet in elevation. You will regain all that elevation as you climb gradually back to the start.
Notes on the trail: From the bike shop, turn right onto Forest Service Road 32 (FR 32) and ride south on this gravel road for slightly more than a mile. Turn right onto Silver Lake Road (FR 27), following signs for Silver Lake. Stay right on the single-lane gravel road and you will reach the gate at the entrance to Silver Lake Recreation Area in the Green Mountain National Forest. Ride around the gate (closed to motor vehicles) and descend for a mile until you come to a well-marked junction. You will see Silver Lake off to the far left. At this point you can turn left to continue on the Leicester Hollow Trail, or you can turn right to see the Falls of Lana.
Descend steeply through several rocky sections for 1 mile until you come to the falls. This is a fun area to explore by foot, and a nice place for a picnic. The falls are layered in three sections with several good swimming holes. To leave the falls, return the way you came, climbing steeply back up the mile-long trail. Expect to see a lot of hikers as you climb.
Return to the well-marked junction; Silver Lake and the Silver Lake Campground are now on your right. Take the Leicester Hollow Trail, also now on your right, which soon turns into 4 miles of single-track on a gradual descent. This trail is easy to ride and a good place for beginners to get a sense of why single-track is so thrilling. You may have to dismount a few times along the way for fallen trees and a number of unrideable rock slides. You may encounter horseback riders.
Near the end of the trail you will come to a marked trail junction. Stay to the left on the wide, higher trail. Go around a Forest Service gate onto a gravel road and ride to a stop sign at paved VT 73. Go left and climb gradually for about three-quarters of a mile. Take the left turn onto FR 32 following signs for the Blueberry Hill Inn.
Come to a junction and go left onto Carlisle Hill Road (FR 32). This intersection is officially the town of Goshen, as you can tell by the small, singular building that houses the town office. The road alternates between gravel and pavement as you climb back to the Blueberry Hill Inn. Pass by Silver Lake Road, now on your left, and return to the start.
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