Top Ten Mountain Bike Meccas (Beyond Moab)

Green Mountains, Vermont
  |  Gorp.com
Vermont Mountains
Vermont Mountains (Corel)

Lush, leafy green mountains and verdant valleys make central Vermont a great natural destination for exploring on your mountain bike. Rustic farmhouses, quaint villages, and picturesque covered bridges make the Green Mountain region a great place to stay for a while.

Although bikes aren't on most of the hiking trails in the Green Mountain National Forest, the riding on smooth roads originally meant for Forest Service employees can take you through some beautiful country and over some sweet rolling terrain. If you're interested in a more serious downhill experience, several alpine ski areas have made their chairlifts accessible to bikes during the summer and fall. What follows are some of our favorite rides in the gorgeous green rolling hills of central Vermont.

Natural Turnpike and Steammill Road Rides

These two rides, traversing densely wooded territory and passing a former steam mill, offer the rider a great variety of options. The Natural Turnpike is a bit more challenging, while the Steammill Road ride gives the beginning rider a good workout. Depending on the time of year, both routes give the rider chances to see wildlife, including mallards, beavers, and possibly even a moose.

Leicester Hollow Trail

This is one of the few singletrack trails where mountain bikers are welcome in the Green Mountain National Forest. The first half of the ride descends to the Falls of Lana, where it climbs once again up to the Leicester Hollow Trail, then descends again before regaining elevation back to the start.

Hogback Mountain

Although this cross-country ski trail is an easy route suitable for a beginner, it offers beautiful scenery that everyone will enjoy. At one point, you'll come to an open meadow where blueberries grow in abundance and where you can catch an incredible view of Romance Mountain to the east.

Bingo Road

Forest Road 42 is located 4.5 miles west of Rochester off Vermont Route 73. This country road meanders along a mountain stream providing very nice riding along a low gradient. You can pedal comfortably as you gently climb and then enjoy the return trip. If you climb Thresher Hill (Forest Road 62) (not for the faint of heart!), you will be rewarded by great views, a great workout, and a great return trip.

Liberty Hill

Forest Road 223 is located 2.4 miles south of Rochester off Vermont Route 100. Portions of this road (recommended for four-wheel drive vehicles only) not only provide a challenging ride but opportunities for loop travel as well. Cycling Liberty Hill Road through to Pittsfield results in an excellent workout and there are nice views as the biker descends into Pittsfield village. The return to Rochester is via Vermont Route 100. An alternate suggestion is the Forest Road 223 and Forest Road 228 loop. Abandoned fields in this area provide pleasant resting places.

White River Road

Forest Road 55 is located eight miles north of Rochester off Vermont Route 100. This road wanders along the headwaters of the White River, taking you several miles into the surrounding hills via Forest Roads 50, 55, and 101. Many streams and old fields offer scenic views and pleasant resting places.


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