Family-Friendly Biking In Stowe
August 23, 2018
by AUDRA HUGHES, COMMODITIES NATURAL MARKET
Biking has become a big part of life for my family. As a transplant from New York metro area, I’ve also discovered it’s a big part of the lifestyle here in Stowe. The sound of my husband’s pickup truck leaving our driveway early in the morning makes me smile, because it means he has the chance to get in a mountain bike ride before work. At breakfast, we’ll talk with our three kids about the next family ride, and some of the fascinating wildlife we hope to see again!
A bike ride means different things to everyone. Whether you’re a laid-back road rider, adventurer-in-training, rugged mountain biker or a mix of the above (like my family), Stowe has you covered. All you need is a bike, helmet, water and appropriate footwear to ride your style. Let’s get riding!
For a casual family ride – and great way to explore the town of Stowe – check out the Stowe Recreation Path. This flat, paved path starts in town and meanders 5.3 miles along Mountain Road, ending at a scenic covered bridge. Ride for breathtaking views and perfect breaks for swimming, snacks, meals and even shopping. No bike? No problem. There are several shops in town that have a variety of bike rentals – from kid cruisers to high performance bikes and even tandems. Some lodging properties also provide complimentary rentals.
FIRST-TIME STOWE RIDERS
Group rides are a great way to learn the local trails and meet likeminded folks. Stowe Trails Partnership (STP) hosts themed rides throughout the week. Many depart from either Ranch Camp or Sushi Yoshi. For professional guidance, Rick at Four Points VT is great with adults and kids and is one of the most advanced certified riding coaches in Northern Vermont. Book a half or full-day with him. Biking events, like the Leaf Blower Classic and B3 Fest hosted by STP, are another great way to experience riding in Stowe and meet locals.
FAMILY RIDING ON DIRT, ROCKS & ROOTS
I’m a huge fan of the beginner-friendly lower trails at Trapp Family Lodge. Check in at the Outdoor Center and get your day pass and a map. Head across the road, past the gardens to Stepping Stones, Chuck’s Corkscrew and the Greenway for a lovely casual ride. The skills area on the lawn is fun and great practice.
READY FOR ADVENTURE
For those who are athletic (or willing to try anything), nothing beats a ride through Cady Hill, a diverse trail network right in town. The trails are clearly marked and well-maintained. Allot 45 minutes for a loop starting with the Cady Hill Climb. After a meandering climb, take a rewarding snack break at the Green Chair and admire the gorgeous views of the Front Four at Stowe Mountain Resort. Florence, or “Flo,” is a fast machine-built downhill trail that is another one of our favorites in Cady Hill trails.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Take a scenic day trip out to Smuggler’s Notch Mountain Bike Center. This is a fun destination for families with a serious pump track and skills track. A magic carpet takes you up to the course, and the trails are fantastic to boot. Our kids have attended camps with Smuggler’s Notch Mountain Bike Center, which also host daily guided rides. You can even rent top-of-the-line gear and learn how to ride from an instructor. I feel like a hero mom when I take my kids there!
There are many options for the ambitious mountain biker. The hills really come alive in the summer at “Trapps.” Heading up through Tapline to the Cabin and then down Growler is equally challenging and awesome! Another great ride is Adam’s Camp to Trapp’s Cabin and back. Pipeline from the von Trapp Bierhall is challenging. Give yourself at least two hours and bring plenty of hydration and snacks. Strava, TrailHub or MTB Project are great trail-riding apps for the phone. STP’s local trail maps are detailed.
See you outside!
About the author:
Audra Hughes owns Commodities Natural Market, a natural foods store in Stowe, with her husband, Michael. Although a busy business owner in town, she tries to get out for a ride to break up the long workdays, and is passionate about recommending rides to friends, leading Little Ripper rides on Bike Night, taking world-class mountain bike clinics and just getting outside on the bike as much as possible.