Switching Gears

Vermont’s best-kept mountain bike secret

Courtesy of Killington Resort

A mountain bike rider soars over a jump in Killington Bike Park.

By Ariel Kent

There is a place not far from Killington that’s full of flowing singletrack and tall pines. This place, known as Green Mountain Trails, offers one of Vermont’s best mountain biking networks. The best part about it is that hardly anyone knows it exists. Before this place really developed its trail network, it was better known for something else. As you pedal up the long meandering singletrack you’ll start to see a familiar symbol and random obstacles placed just off trail. That’s because you’re adventuring into the birthplace of the Spartan Race. The infamous Death Races take place on this mountainside, so don’t be surprised if you pass an ultra-racer out for a jog or spot an out-of-place tractor tire at the peak.

This place is magical, almost story-like, and as I was riding up Noodles Revenge (a popular trail within the network) I began to think of how this place reminded me of some of my favorite fairytale classics. The climb up is made up of old logging roads and young pine trees. The climb is long but easy and the switchbacks meander up the mountainside. The trails in this area are similar to what I remember from the story “Rapunzel,” with the cabin at the top of this mountain being Rapunzel’s Tower. At first I hated this climb, absolutely hated it, man did it suck. But the more I rode here the more I wanted to come back and the climb became more enjoyable too. Something about this place was calling me back, begging for more.

The climb is long, but relatively easy and anyone should be able to pedal up. Once at the top you break out of the trees into a clearing where a lone stone cabin sits, the cabin with the red door. Here you take a break, take in the view and enjoy the dead quiet that accompanies it. Just this past Friday I was up there and I didn’t see a single soul while I rode. If peaceful serenity is what you’re looking for then take a drive on out to Green Mountain Trails.

After a sensual break at the top I begin downwards, the fun part. I opt to head down on Labyrinth to Warman first, two trails I’ve heard stories about but had yet to ride. You follow a bit of logging road off the top for a half mile (if that) then take a sharp right onto some rooty singletrack. Here you enter the fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But not the happy part—it’s the part where Snow White is running from the monsters in the woods. Labyrinth is full of tight pine trees and lots of rooty off-camber (roots that grow at an angle into the slope, causing tire slippage) trail. It can be perfectly sunny at the clearing off the top, and dark as night in Labyrinth. I suppose that’s where this trail gets its name. You exit Labyrinth and enter into Warman, which offers sweeping berms through waist-high ferns and tall grass. This trail is really fun and lets you open up the throttle a little bit.

After Warman you can either exit back down the mountain the way you came or you can pedal back up to the top and ride Fusters. Fusters is what most people refer to as old-school New England tech. This trail has remained relatively unchanged since its creation a little over a decade ago. The top part is full of rocky berms and little jumps. The bottom section is full of tight singletrack, rocky slabs and drops, and is serious fun. Trails like Fusters are what makes people better riders.

I could go on and on about Green Mountain Trails, but it’s something you should experience for yourself. Just off Route 100 in Pittsfield you can park behind Riverside Farm midweek or Amee Farm on the weekends. Both farms have trail access at the rear. Signs are minimal here as well as cell service, so be sure to stop by the Pittsfield General Store and buy a map. Green Mountain Trails’ motto is about letting go and enjoying the nature around you, so when you venture over that way—and you really should—remember to let go, relax and enjoy the ride.

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