Vermont's mountains are one of the state's best features. They are tall, imposing, and virtually everywhere. During the winter it's easy to experience the beautiful views and thrilling descents on one of Vermont's many downhill ski slopes, but in the summer the best way to get a thrill on Vermont's fantastic slopes is on its mountain bike trails.
Mountain biking in Vermont is increasingly popular, with many parks and ski slopes offering trails specifically for cyclists. Whether you're new to the sport or you're a seasoned downhill expert, there's a perfect mountain biking trail in Vermont for you.
Beginner and Intermediate Trails
If you don't have much mountain biking experience or you simply want a relaxing, fun trail to enjoy with your family, you could certainly do worse than the Harriman Reservoir rail-to-trail. Built on the bed of a former railroad track, this 15.5-mile trail runs beside the Harriman Reservoir, a dammed section of the Deerfield River just outside Wilmington. The ride is perfect for beginners and families, as the wide, gently-sloping trail has few challenging parts. For more experienced riders, there is also a more difficult single track side trail with some steep climbs and quick descents.
Another good mountain bike trail for less-experienced riders is the West River Trail, another multi-use track built along the course of a one-time railroad. Running between Brattleboro and Londonderry, Vermont, this trail is a good place for learners to practice their mountain biking skills without risk. The trail is divided into two sections, appropriately called the Upper and Lower sections. The Upper section is 16 miles long and runs from Londonderry to near East Jamaica, while the newer Lower section runs north from Brattleboro. Both parts of the trail are relatively level and make for easy riding appropriate for any skill level.
For those of you who already know your way around a mountain bike trail, these more advanced mountain biking trails are sure to thrill and excite. One excellent option is the Ascutney Trail network in West Windsor, VT. These trails run through and alongside what used to be ski trails of the now closed Ascutney Mountain Resort. Now, they make up one of the most varied and exciting mountain bike trail networks in Vermont. All except three of the trails are designed to be climbable, so there are a huge number of possible combinations for both intermediate and more advanced riders. Horses can be found on the wider trails, but the singletrack is reserved for bikers, hikers, and runners.
Seasoned mountain biking enthusiasts will also want to check out the lift-served mountain biking at Mount Snow for downhill excitement. This ski-resort-turned-summertime-biking-paradise offers some of the best riding in the Northeast, including Trail 7, the only introductory-level downhill trail in the eastern United States. New downhill riders can get accustomed to their bikes and their skills here; there is even an education program available to teach the basics of downhill riding including position, braking, and proper gear. Riders of any skill level can also rent equipment at Mount Snow, including helmets, body suits, and (of course) mountain bikes.
When you're done on the trails for the day, you'll need a place to crash and spread out. Take a look at these Vermont summer rental homes. You'll have tons of room for all your gear, you get all the perks and comforts of home, and you'll be better rested for another day on the trails.