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Biking in Central Vermont - Tour Routes

The following nine Central Vermont bike tours provide a wide variety of biking experiences for bicycler of all ages. Bikers from the young to the experienced will find a route or two to enjoy. Add to that the beauty and fresh air of Central Vermont, and you will find your most rewarding biking experiences right here! So, whether you are new to biking, have a young family just beginning to bike, or are an experienced biker, these bike tours will meet your needs. For those looking for an extra thrill, try one of the Vermont bike races.

bike Routes

Berlin Pond Loop - 5 Miles

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* Tour Difficulty: 3

Terrain and Road Conditions:
This loop is shorter and not as hilly as most of the other rides. It is suitable for casual cyclists and even families, if the children are fairly strong peddlers. The entire route is on dirt roads.

Tour Highlights:
This tour will take you around the perimeter of Berlin Pond. Nestled at the foot of the Irish Hills, Berlin Pond supplies the drinking water for Vermont's capital city, Montpelier. The pond is a popular spot for bird watchers, joggers and bicyclists. Automobiles also share these roads, so remember to ride single file.

Berlin Pond Loop Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Calais Historic Hamlets - About 20 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 7.5

Terrain and Road Conditions:
This route covers some hilly terrain and requires a reasonable degree of fitness on the part of the cyclist. Most roads are marked. With the exception of a short stretch on County Road, this entire route is unpaved.

Tour Highlights:
The Hamlet Tour offers an exciting visit through Central Vermont's countryside. Along this route you will encounter four compact settlements, each unique, but each reflective of Vermont's past. You will also traverse landscapes of pastoral beauty and wind past several lakes and ponds. There is a tremendous reservoir of history along this ride, so pedal forward and allow your mind and senses to wander back.

Calais Historic Hamlets Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Mad River Valley Recreation Path - 4.5 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 2

Terrain and Road Conditions:
This route is quite short. It is flat on the recreation path, and flat to gently rolling on the road portion. The recreation path is mostly a dirt track, but may be sandy, grassy or gravely in places and is not suitable for "skinny tires." Access to the recreation path is provided by an easement granted through the generosity of the landowner and the path is maintained by a network of local volunteers (The Mad River Path Association). Please respect all posted rules and STAY ON THE PATH. Also ride with caution and at prudent speed as the path receives considerable pedestrian use by dog walkers, families with small children and others.
The road sections of this loop are dirt, with the exception of a very short section of Tremblay Road which is paved.

Tour Highlights :
This loop will take you along the banks of the beautiful Mad River, past farm fields, swimming holes, wetlands, under a covered bridge. and through flood plain forests, offering views of the surrounding mountains all along the way.

Mad River Valley Recreation Path Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Mad River Valley Tour - 16.3 Miles.
(5.7 Mile Optional Extension)

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* Tour Difficulty: 6.5
* Extention Difficulty: 9

Terrain and Road Conditions:
The degree of difficulty you encounter will depend on whether or not you choose to include the optional section north and east of routes 17 and 100, as this contains the trip's most rugged terrain and consists entirely of unpaved surfaces.
The main route is more gentle and incorporates some paved surfaces. It begins with a good climb, however, and has one prolonged descent, so a degree of fitness is required.

Tour Highlights :
The landscape you will traverse on this tour is memorable and inspiring. Its focal point is the Mad River, which carves a course through a narrow valley between the Northfield and Green Mountain ranges in a series of inviting pools, riffles and gorges. Along the way it passes classic New England villages, pastoral farmlands, covered bridges, and some of Vermont's highest peaks.
The river's milling power and fertile floodplain were magnets for 18th and 19th century settlers. Reminders of those bygone times abound in the architecture and landscape features of the valley. The latter half of the 20th century has witnessed the valley's renaissance as a recreation and resort center, hosting several downhill and Nordic ski areas, a particularly scenic segment of the Long Trail, year round events and festivals, and a full complement of services, goods and accommodations.
The tour is designed to introduce the cyclist to the Mad River Valley in all of its drama and diversity. It will take you into historic Waitsfield and Warren villages; past art galleries and antique shops; up the valley walls past hillside farms, stone walls and panoramic overlooks; over dirt roads lined with stately sugar maples; and along the clear flowing waters of the Mad River.

Mad River Valley Tour Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Montpelier ­ East Montpelier - 16.5 Miles.
(9.2 Mile Option)

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* Tour Difficulty: 7
* Extention Difficulty: 6

Terrain and Road Conditions:
These loops are not terribly long, but it's quite hilly - particularly on the way out of and into Montpelier. With the exception of one short segment over very rough surfaces, the roads upon which you will ride are well maintained and fairly wide dirt or asphalt surface. Most road names are posted.

Tour Highlights :
Atop the golden dome of the Statehouse in the City of Montpelier stands a statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. This tour takes you from her home in Vermont's charming capital city out to the beautiful and productive farmlands she symbolizes - and back again.
Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the U.S. at a population of 8,000. It's thriving downtown hosts several impressive government buildings and an array of historically and architecturally significant commercial buildings. The latter host a variety of unique businesses and restaurants.
Montpelier is a compact city. Only minutes out of town, on the back roads of East Montpelier, stone walls, majestic sugar maples, historic barns, churches and farmsteads, and mountain views across verdant pastures grace the landscape.
Note: For those wishing to both shorten the ride and avoid the climb out of Montpelier, park at the Old Meeting House and begin your ride there.

Montpelier to East Montpelier Tour Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Northfield Tour - 12.3 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 7.5

Terrain and Road Conditions:
This route is not long, but contains two very steep climbs. The "upside" of this is that in 12 miles of cycling, there is only about a mile and a half of serious "gear crunching" ­­ the rest is flat, downhill or gently rolling. Road surfaces vary from paved State highway to narrow, winding dirt roads. Most of the route is unpaved.

Tour Highlights :
This tour takes you through a variety of landscapes in a relatively short distance. Along its course you will encounter cool forests, panoramic mountain views, hillside farms, and a small urban center steeped in history. The tour begins and ends in Northfield Village that has a population of 2,000.
Chartered in 1781, Northfield has had its share of ups and downs. Its first period of rapid growth began in 1848 when it was established as the headquarters of the Central Vermont Railway. Just five years later, in an apparent vendetta against the town, Vermont's governor, vowing to "make grass grow in the streets of Northfield," moved the railroad headquarters to St. Albans. However, Northfield was not about to roll over. In 1866, Norwich University, a private military academy, moved to Northfield giving the town a much needed infusion of life. The university is still going strong, as you will see. In the 1890's the granite industry became established in Northfield bringing with it many Spanish and Italian stone workers. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the industry was forced to consolidate its resources into nearby Barre, plunging Northfield into yet another period of decline. The town bounced back once again behind the establishment of a knitting and woolen industry and the expansion of the university. Today, Northfield is a proud and thriving small town.

Northfield Tour Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

The Lake Tour - 7 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 6

Terrain and Road Conditions:
While this is a short loop, it traverses some hilly terrain. Nearly all of this route is on well-maintained dirt road.

General Description:
This short loop takes you through the wettest towns in Vermont (Woodbury has 25 lakes and ponds: Calais, 14). So, bring your swimsuit and fishing pole. Water, however, is not this route's only attraction. You will also pass through pastoral countryside and two compact, charismatic villages.

The Lake Tour Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Waterbury - Stowe - 22.2 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 8.5

Terrain and Road Conditions:
Although this loop has a few fairly rugged climbs, they are broken up by stretches of easy, level pedaling - particularly on the Stowe Recreation Path - and exhilarating descents. Almost half of your trip will be covered on paved surfaces (including two and a half miles on the Stowe Bike Path) with the remainder being on fairly wide, well maintained dirt roads.

Tour Highlights :
Variety is the hallmark of this loop. It will take the cyclist past panoramic mountain views, under "haunted" covered bridges, through woods and pastures, along and over small rivers, into one of Vermont's best known villages, and past several shops and tourist attractions. Just about everyone will find the type of cycling experience they seek at some point on this ride.

Waterbury - Stowe Step-by-Step

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bike Routes

Websterville Loop - 13.7 Miles.

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* Tour Difficulty: 5

Terrain and Road Conditions:
Although this route is fairly short, there are a few good climbs, especially after reaching Washington Village. Roads are paved near the settled areas, but most of this tour is on unpaved, gravel roads.

Tour Highlights :
Granite is the backbone of Vermont. Nowhere is this more evident than in the vicinity of Barre, where the landscape, economy, and culture have been defined by this rock for 200 years. This route will take you past historic and active quarries (including the world's largest!). But granite isn't the only attraction - there are Indian trails, historic homes, three villages - and of course, the classic Vermont countryside. Although the route is fairly short, there are a few long climbs.

Websterville Loop Step-by-Step

* Difficulty is based on a scale of 1 (Easy - Family Friendly) to 10 (Very Difficult - Experience is Advised).
  We suggest reading the route description to figure out which tour is right for you.