Green Mountain National Forest
|The Green Mountains in autumn|
Following is a list of bike loops that meander in and around the Green Mountain National Forest. All road directions for the loop trips are given via a starting point on Route 7, but they can be started on any of the State Routes listed.
Crossing the Green Mountains on each of the Gap roads involves long stretches of steep and winding hills with narrow shoulders, limiting the cyclist's ability to maneuver out of the way of motor vehicle traffic. It is recommended that only experienced cyclists attempt crossing over the gaps. Be sure that your bikes are in good repair (particularly brakes and wheel truing) and exercise caution in downhill runs. For less experienced cyclists, Route 100 offers many pleasurable excursions.
1. Travel on Route 7 to Route 125 south of Middlebury, elevation 450 feet; take 125 east through Middlebury Gap, elevation 2,149 feet, to Route 100 in Hancock. Bike north on Route 100 passing through Granville Gulf State Reservation to Route 17 in Waitsfield, elevation 800 feet. Travel a scenic but very steep and winding Route 17 over Appalachian Gap, elevation 2356 to Route 116/17 north of Rocky Dale. Follow Route 116/17 south through Bristol and New Haven villages to Route 7 in New Haven junction. Follow Route 7 south to your starting point. Total miles round-trip: approximately 70.
2. Travel on Route 7 to Route 125 south of Middlebury, elevation 450 feet, take 125 east through Middlebury Gap, elevation 2,149 feet, to Route 100 in Hancock. Take Route 100 south to Route 73, south of Rochester village, elevation 800 feet. Travel along Route 73 passing over Brandon Gap, elevation 2,170 feet, to Route 53 in Forestdale. Biking along Route 53 you will border Lake Dunmore, (a nice spot for swimming). Continue traveling until you reach Route 7 in Salisbury. Take Route 7 north to your starting point. Total miles round-trip: approximately 40.
3. Travel on Route 7 to Route 53 in Salisbury. Route 53 borders Lake Dunmore. Continue biking on this route to Forestdale and Route 73, elevation 600 feet. Follow Route 73 east over Brandon Gap, elevation 2,170 feet, to Route 100 in Rochester. Travel south on Route 100 to Route 4 in Sherburne. Follow Route 4 over Sherburne Pass to the outskirts of Rutland where you will connect with Route 7. Take Route 7 north to your starting point. Total miles round-trip: approximately 60.
4. State Route 100, paralleling the main ridge of the Green Mountains through the Rochester District offers many interesting sights and several country inns where you may stay during your tour. A four-mile side trip up Route 125 takes you to Texas Falls picnic area, one of Vermont's scenic natural areas. The beautiful falls is the main attraction, but if you have the time, there is a self-guiding nature trail for a change of pace. Two miles farther north on Route 100, you enter the Granville Gulf. This beautiful area with waterfalls and road side streams is a cool place to ride on a hot summer day.
NATIONAL FOREST ATTRACTIONS
- Route 7 - Middlebury District Office
- Route 100 - Rochester District Office
- Route 53 - Falls of Lana, Silver Lake
- Route 73 - Mount Horrid Scenic Overlook, Brandon Brook Picnic Area, Chittenden Brook Campground, Bingo Road (primitive camping)
- Route 125 - Middlebury River Gorge (East Middlebury), Moosalamoo Campground, and Oak Ridge Trail
- Robert Frost Wayside and Robert Frost Trail, Texas Falls Picnic Area and waterfall
Several commercial organizations provide guided tours in the state. Contact the State Travel Division, 61 Elm Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602 for a list of tour companies. The Travel Division can also send you a Vermont tour map showing 23 one-day tours and seven regional tours. Another source for descriptions of good routes is the book 20 Bicycle Tours in Vermont by John Freidin, published by Backcountry Publications.
OFF-ROAD CYCLING (MOUNTAIN BIKING)
Bicycles may be ridden on gravel Forest Service roads when those roads are not posted closed to bikes. There are also several good mountain bike rides on U.S. Forest Service roads that are smooth, gently graded dirt roads not maintained in the winter. They were originally intended for access to the backcountry by national Forest Service employees, but now they are used mostly to access recreational areas such as hiking trailheads. We recommend the Natural Turnpike and Steammill Roads Rides, an easy to moderate 23-mile loop.
The Minnie Baker Trail, Leicester Hollow Trail, Hogback Mountain, and Silver Lake Trail are open to off-road bicycles. Other trails could be approved for bicycle use if a user group agrees to perform the required improvements or maintenance and if the terrain and soils are suitable.
Bicycles are specifically prohibited from trails not listed above. This includes other hiking, skiing, and snowmobile trails and all National Recreational Trails (Robert Frost Trail, the Long Trail, and all of its side trails). Bicycles are specifically prohibited from the Bristol Cliffs and Breadloaf Wildernesses.
For information about off-road biking opportunities available in other Districts, call 802-767-4362 (Rochester District) or 802-362-1251 (Manchester District).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication