We've put together some of our favorite bike rides in our area. We hope you find this information entertaining and informative. As always, be sure to make yourself very aware of your riding routes. Take maps and compasses whenever possible as you will find many place in rural Vermont will not have any kind of phone signal and my military friends tell me there are GPS dead spots as well! (though I've never experienced it on any of these rides)
These routes exist as references only!! Road conditions can change from year to year or even month to month depending on weather and more. These routes are merely here as a reference, choosing to follow them without additional homework can result in becoming lost or worse, having to turn around and go back the way you came.
Our places to ride section features rides for the whole family. Each ride comes with descriptions and links to maps with downloadable GPS files. Be sure to read and understand the information about each ride. Some of these rides are for the extremely experienced cyclist and some of these rides are great for the whole family. We've listed what type of bicycle would be best for the ride and the difficulty of the ride next to each title. Clicking each link takes to the ride details below.
Millstone Old School MTB Ride: Mountain bikes only. A medium difficulty cross country ride.
Millstone Trails Kid Friendly/Beginner Friendly Loop: A kid friendly/new rider friendly short loop that shares the wonders of Millstone Trails. Mountain bikes make this ride fun for adults, kids will enjoy the ride no matter what! A Great place for a short loop to test the waters of mountain biking.
Millstone Gnome Man's Land Enduro/Light DH Loop: Mountain bikes only. A challenging mix of DH/Enduro riding with ladder bridges, fast and steep descents with drops and jumps.
The Gnome Man's Land section of Millstone Trails is currently closed. This section of trails is on property owned by Rock of Ages. They are actively logging this section and there is currently active quarry work on this section of land and it is monitored with security cameras by Rock of Ages. Riders violating this closure put our future land use in this area in jeopardy.
Do not ride, or hike in this section of land.
Tour of Barre: Any Bike you want! A family friendly loop around the sites of Barre on paved roads with one very gentle climb.
Plainfield Rail Trail: Any bike (except bikes with super skinny slick tires). A family friendly out and back ride on an unpaved rail trail that begins in Plainfield, VT.
Joe's Pond to Walden and Danville: A gravel friendly road bike or fitness hybrid, maybe a hard tail mountain bike with faster tires. A great beginner's gravel road bike loop. 16 miles with a bit of climbing (1500 feet total elevation gain).
Therman Dix Gravel Loop: A gravel friendly road bike or fitness hybrid. Another great beginner's gravel ride, just a little bit longer and more climbing. 24 miles about 2000 feet gained
Hardwood Mountain Adventure Ride Big Loop: A fat bike or mountain bike, an unloaded(No heavy bags) gravel bike with at least 40mm tires. For experienced cyclists. A mix of pavement, gravel roads and jeep trails make for some fun and challenging terrain as well as some significant climbing and descending. 40 Miles and a little over 3500 feet of elevation gain.
Hardwood Mountain Adventure Ride Little Loop: A fat bike or mountain bike, an unloaded(No heavy bags) gravel bike with at least 40mm tires. A mix of gravel roads and jeep trails make for some fun and challenging terrain as well as some significant climbing and descending. 25 miles and 1600 feet of elevation gain.
Groton Class 4 Figure 8: A Fat Bike or Mountain Bike, maybe a gravel bike with 40mm or wider tires. Also, maps or a GPS device are required as well as good wilderness experience.
One of the more challenging rides in our selection. There is only one way to describe rides like this:
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
Millstone Trails Mountain Biking (Barre, VT)
There are two distinct styles of mountain biking at Millstone Trails.
One is the classic New England technical single track with a mix of twisty winding trails and quick ups and downs that while sometimes slow moving can still be both physically and mentally challenging.
The other is a mix of that former style with the newer flow style trails and ladder bridges from out west. Everything at Millstone Trails is hand built by volunteers (who are sponsored by Vermont Bicycle Shop in place of the traditional race team, these builders are our pro's!).
You can buy your day pass here if you aren't a season pass holder for Millstone Trails!
When you purchase a pass at Millstone Trails all of the money goes back into the trail systems directly and supports the hard work of your neighbors!
1) Old School XC MTB Ride
Don't let the name fool you. While there are fast sections, parts of this ride are in no way "XC easy". This is the most approachable that the Millstone Trails can be to new riders while still presenting a challenge to experienced riders. The loop begins in the main parking lot at 44 Brook St. parking lot and climb up a pretty tame trail that leads us towards the Fellowship Loop section of the trails. The Fellowship Loop was built in partnership with The Fellowship of the Wheel bicycle club. It's packed full of great views and fun railing trails up, over, and around car sized boulders leading out to an amazing view of Barre and Central Vermont. After a nice rest on the old bench, you'll twist and wind along the rest of Fellowship back up to the Barre Town Forrest where you'll ride along the Locomotion and Boulder dash trails for a mix up and down along the larger rocks in the area before heading back to the parking lot.
Here is the Strava link where you can see a more detailed map and download the route. (No Strava account required)
Millstone Trails Kid Friendly/Beginner Friendly Short Loop
This short 3 mile loop is ideal for someone new to mountain biking and ideal for the kids! Short enough to not impose a significant challenge and on trails that showcase the amazing landscape that is Millstone Trails all while sticking to the easiest trails on the system make this ride a great introduction to Millstone for riders new to mountain biking and new to Millstone Trails. This route is also a fun first hike at Millstone Trails!
Here is a more detailed link where you can download GPS files!
2) Gnome Man's Land Enduro/Light DH Loop NO ACCESS/CURRENTLY CLOSED NO TRESPASSING
For those that brought their trail bikes but wish they were riding UCI World Cup Downhill. This is the most elevation you'll see at Millstone Trails and this is where they have built the closest thing to a downhill course that you will find. Some of the most technical riding in Vermont is sprinkled along the height of the land. Your ride begins after parking at the 44 Brook St. garage parking lot and heading over to Lawson's General Store where you will buy either 2 Snickers bars or 1 jumbo oatmeal cream pie cookie. Put it in your pack for later, you are about to have an epic second half of your day (assuming you spent the morning riding the XC Loop).
After a short conversation with the sweet woman behind the counter you'll head back to the parking lot and hit the trails. After a short connector you will cross the main road and head up a double track gravel road and pass some of Websterville's amazing granite sculptors. Some made possible through Millstone Trails grants and some even personally funded by local resident and Millstone Trails founder Pierre Couture. They line the old stacks of granite on either side of the trail. Just passed the entrance to the Gnome Man's Land trail entrance is an amazing view not to be missed. After you'll head back down to Gnome Man's land. After crossing the bridge (if you aren't comfortable easily riding across this, the rest of this trail is not for you, turn around, go back) you see the trail fork, you can skip the next so steep it's hike-a-bike bit, but you will also chop off the top of the downhill trail. I'm glad you choose the hike-a-bike. There are a couple of spots off to the left that make for amazing views as you make your way to the top.
DO NOT go out into the clearing, going out into the clearing puts you in active Quarry work areas that could lead to your injury and could cost us all access to this trails system.
Make the right turn (watch out for the pipe). You will descend Hilltop and continue downhill to Roller Coaster. Be cautious crossing the Quarry rd. The brakes in the large quarry trucks take as long a 5 seconds to activate!
Following the trail out to Holy Roller will take you out to connect with Rock and Roll. Here is where you have a steep climb up to Harrington Ridge. You'll ride along narrow rock spines similar to the skinny ladder bridges you find out west. Find a nice spot for a quick rest and enjoy your snack from Lawson's General Store. This section of trail has the option to ride The Vortex Loop. A short section of the most challenging mixture of Rock and ladder bridge trail you might ever see.
Head up and cross the Quary Rd. again to find yourself on the Angry Gnome. Climbing this series of bridges takes you back to the top where you can ride the second downhill trail Screaming Demon. After a crazy, downright tyrannical descent you'll follow the trails out to Websterville Rd. Follow this up to Little John Rd. to continue the ride or turn off on Churchill Rd to head back to the parking lot.
An easy pedal tour of many of the landmarks of Barre, VT. Best ridden Wednesday after work in the Summer. The ride begins at Vermont Bicycle Shop, you'll wind through some of the lesser traveled back streets of Barre to Currier Park (if it's Wednesday after 6 you'll find the Barre Farmer's Market and the Concert in the Park). You'll continue down Summer St. and head up a very easy hill to Barre's Hope Cemetery where you'll see many great granite sculptures and wonderful paved lanes that twist their way around until you exit on the south hill.
Crossing back down and into some quiet neighborhoods lead you to some of the original houses built in Barre. Crossing under the highway you will find yourself passing Native Park and following the river. Crossing the river you will pass the old Socialist Labor Party Hall one of the more famous landmarks in Vermont. The next two sites are the post office and the Vermont City Park, home to our famous statue and the Whispering Bench. Have someone sit on one side of the curved granite bench and another at the other end. You can whisper to each other and even in high traffic hear everything. You'll finish the ride by heading over to Church St. and winding your way back to the Vermont Bicycle Shop parking lot. You can enjoy a nice afternoon snack at The Cornerstone Pub before heading home!
Follow this link for more details and a download for those of you with GPS on your bicycles!
The Country Bookstore to Nasmith Brook (The Plainfield Rail Trail) Plainfield, VT Unpaved Rail Trail Ride
A simple family ride that leaves Plainfield and heads out on an old rail road bed. We mapped this out to a great local swimming spot called Paradise. You can choose to ride as far as you want. You leave downtown Plainfield and pick up the trail at the Plainfield Park and Ride. After a short section of incredibly gentle single track so smooth and clean you'd eat off of it you find yourself in the woods on an old rail bed. It's ideal for those who want to take even the youngest of cyclists as there is just enough terrain to interest the kids and adults alike without becoming any sort of actual challenge. It's such a slight climb up you won't even notice you are going uphill until you turn around and head back to town and finish up with a slice of pizza at Positive Pie.
Here is a more detailed link where you can download GPS files!
Starting in Danville this gentle climb up past Joe's Pond and towards Walden is a great way to get out and see some amazing views and enjoy some of Vermont's very best back roads. The ride follows the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail until you'll come to the the end (You could technically continue on much rougher rocks and some hard packed dirt for quite a long ways).
You will turn right head up to HWY 15 otherwise known as The Grand Army of the Republic Highway.
It's a beautiful section of road that leads to the small town of Walden, VT. This is where the last 8 miles of warm up will come in handy as you ascend the gravel roads above Danville to amazing views and friendly neighbors. After a short flat section at the top you are ready for a nearly no pedal 3 mile ride back to Danville proper. There you will take the rail trail back to your car and to Danville staple, Marty's 1st Stop.
Here is where you can get more details and GPS files.
A gentle climb leaving Barre City on pavement to Plainfield. A mixture of quiet paved roads and rolling gravel hills makes for a challenging, yet not defeating ride with a steep, fast descent into Plainfield. A quick stop at the original Positive Pie before heading back out on Brook Rd with gentle easy climbs that lead to wonderful views of Therman W. Dix Reservoir. After a quick loop and small climb up through Websterville there is a very steep descent on gravel down Sterling Hill Rd. (so steep it's closed in the Winter!) After crossing Hwy 14 there is an entrance to the bike path which returns to Barre City. There is great coffee to be had post ride at Espresso Bueno, and if you are fast and finish early on Sundays they serve Brunch too! This is a moderate ride for road bikes that can handle some tame gravel and riders who don't mind a little bit of climbing in the sun.
Here's the info and GPS!
Whether you choose fat bikes, mountain bikes, or big tire road bikes this ride will leave you wishing you had your other bike. A pretty tame ride leaves Barre with a mix of pavement and gravel out to Plainfield and to the rail bed trail at the Plainfield park and ride (the shorter version of this ride begins and ends here, see below). From there you will find yourself on a pretty easy flat ride all the way to Groton State Forest. So easy you will wonder why you are on a fat bike or a mountain bike. The rail trail crosses Hwy 232 and only a little further you will find the entrance to Silver Ledge Trail/Hardwood Mountain Rd. It feels steeper than it actually is and the road starts to get rough as you climb. When you get to the top you will wonder if bringing your road bike was such a good idea. On the crest of the climb and descent on Hardwood Mountain Road you will come to a beaver dam crossing where you will carry your bike or soak your bottom bracket. From there it's a mix of rolling hills and gravel back to Barre. Check out the alternate shorter version if you want a ripping descent that ends in Pizza and Root Beers in Plainfield!
Here is a link with a detailed map and a GPS route.
Like its big sister, whether you choose fat bikes, mountain bikes, or big tire road bikes this ride will leave you wishing you had your other bike. This ride you will set out from the Plainfield park and ride at the beginning of a pretty easy flat rail bed and ride all the way to Groton State Forrest. A trail so easy you will wonder why you are on a fat bike or a mountain bike. The rail trail crosses Hwy 232 and only a little further you will find the entrance to Silver Ledge Trail/Hardwood Mountain Rd. It feels steeper than it is and at the top you will wonder if bringing your road bike was such a good idea. As you crest the climb and descend Hardwood Mountain Road you will come to a beaver dam crossing where you will carry your bike or soak your bottom bracket. From there it's a ripping fast descent on narrow gravel roads that ends in Pizza and Root Beers in Plainfield!
Here is a link with a detailed map and a GPS route.
I highly recommend you have a GPS and an excellent understanding of wilderness adventuring before you choose this route. If not, make sure you have a guide. Carry lots of bug spray and pack a lunch.
This bike ride reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses. It's an awesome adventure. You will definitely want to pack a full blown lunch and you should be ready for this ride to be much harder than it seems. This is one of the hardest rides I've done in Groton and I don't understand why. It's not particularly long, it isn't even an overly challenging elevation gain. It is however a lot of difficult class 4 roads and some old carriage roads and a very short section of hike a bike across the brush mess left behind from some timber harvest.
Parking at Ricker Mills Pond. The first section, called Hi Goodwin starts up an unpaved rd. There is a wire gate across the road to keep out 4x4 trucks and unauthorized motor vehicles. Later up this climb you will come to a metal gate with a sign letting you know this area is free to use for non motorized travel by a couple of friendly land owners.
You will eventually come to a section of timber harvest. Turn right and head to the South South East corner of the wood clearing/brush. You will find a very old carriage road. This will take you south until you come to a power line and grass clearing, 20 feet away straight ahead is Hi Goodwin Rd. Take this south down to 302.
Turn right and head towards Seyon Pond rd. and then climb up South Branch rd. After the descent to Hardwood Mountain you'll make a right and head to the Rail Trail on the other side of 232. This will take you all the way up to Edgewater where you will find the entrance to the path that leads to Jerusalem Rd. Be sure to pay attention, and have a good understanding of where you are riding here, it will be very, very easy to miss the turn that will take you to Jerusalem Rd. Very Easy. Do not miss it. You will ride for several miles and not even realize you missed it.
This is actually a nice proper mountain bike descent down to the road. After which you start the bigger climb on the ride. Here you will find you way up towards Hardwood Mountain road. There will be a flooded section of road from the beaver pond here. You can cross without getting wet by hiking across the beaver pond or you could just ride through. It's also a good spot for lunch. We took hotdogs and a little tiny wood burning folding stove.
Descend Hardwood Mountain road and take the rail trail back to your car. Take a dip in the water and be slightly disappointed that there is no place to get good coffee until you get back home.