From the south: Take I-91 to exit 4 (Putney). At the end of the ramp turn right onto Putney Landing Rd. Make the first right onto Brickyard Lane and continue .1 mile to the West Hill Shop (49 Brickyard Lane), where parking is available. The shop has bike rentals, gear and info on local riding and conditions.
From the north: Take I-91 to exit 4 (Putney). At the end of the ramp turn right onto Rt.5. Continue north for .3 mile. Turn right onto Putney Landing Rd. and head south .2 mile to Brickyard Lane. Turn right and continue .1 mile to the West Hill Shop (49 Brickyard Lane), where parking is available.
This backroads bike ride begins in the town of Putney, VT located just north of Brattleboro in southern Vermont. It’s a small town that is big in rural charm and history. In the early nineteenth century, Sacketts Brook, which flows through the heart of this post-mill village, once turned water wheels to power 6 sawmills, 4 gristmills, 1 carding mill, and 2 fulling mills. Today, the town is a center for artisans and artists. Craft shops and galleries, historic inns, eateries and stores flourish on Putney's Main Street. Several old mills still stand and Sacketts Brook continues on it's tumultuous descent to the Connecticut River.
The town is surrounded by farmland, verdant meadows, orchards and forests. Biking is one of the best ways to explore the quiet Southern Vermont backroads.
Riders of all abilities will surely enjoy this mountain biking tour of Putney’s countryside, which features two ride options of varying lengths, terrain and difficulty. The bike route travels over lightly trafficked, paved and hard-packed dirt rural roads. The ride features mountain views, rich forests, nineteenth century architecture and a local swimming hole.
Turn left at the intersection with Putney Landing Road and ride about .2 miles to Main Street/Vermont 5. Bear right, merging onto Main Street/Vermont 5 north. This is a fairly busy paved town road. You will only need to be on it for about 0.5 mile to the center of town. At the Putney General Store, turn left onto Kimball Hill Road which soon becomes Westminster Road.
The next 1.8 miles of the bike ride is scenic with rolling hills, farmland and pretty countryside. At around a mile from town you pass the 165-acre Putney Central School Forest. Students work on forest management plans, environmental studies and develop and maintain trails for recreational use such as hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Just past the School Forest the Old North Burying Ground will be on your right.
Around 0.5 miles further north you will pass a large white farmhouse on the right. Bear left after the farmhouse onto Hickory Ridge Road and continue about 0.5 miles to the start of the loop at a Y-intersection. To the left is Tavern Hill Road, which takes you to the out-and-back bike ride option (see below). Just before you reach this intersection you pass over Sacketts Brook. The swimming hole is on your right, opposite a 25 MPH sign.
Bear right just after the swimming hole and pedal around 1.3 miles up Hickory Ridge Road. This is a steady climb you will feel in your legs as the hill gets steeper. At the top, turn left onto Black Locust Road and return 1.3 miles down to Tavern Hill Road. As the road names suggest, the hills of the loop ride are crowned with black locust trees, towering pines and old sugar maples. Turn left, then merge (0.2 miles) into Hickory Ridge Road and retrace your route back to Putney and the shop.
Out-and Back Option:
For an easier ride, minus the steep hill climbs, bear left at the fork just after the swimming hole onto Tavern Hill Road. Pass Black Locust Road on the right and make the next right turn onto Brook Road. The road is flat, hard-packed dirt and follows Sacketts Brook for about 1.3 miles to Windmill Hill Rd. Turn around here and retrace your route.
Historical Notes & Local Attractions:
Sacketts Brook Stone Arch Bridge
Circa 1906. Listed on the National Register of Historic places. It spans 29 feet across Sacketts Brook and carries Mill or "High-Low-Biddy" Road (Town Highway #43) across the brook.
Located 0.25 miles East of Putney Village on Mill Road.
Many of Putney’s mills were destroyed either by fire or flooding. The Thwing Mill, a Gristmill that grinded grain for nearly a century is one of Putney’s best known mills. It was rebuilt in 1869 after being destroyed in a flood. Recently renovated, the mill still stands today on Water Street.
Putney General Store:
Circa 1790s, it is one of the oldest continuously running general stores in Vermont. In 2009, it was burned in a fire. It is located at the intersection of Main St. and Kimball Hill Street on our described bike tour. This historic building that has been a gathering place for 200 years is being rebuilt.
Contact the Putney Historical Society for more information: 802 387-5862
Putney Vermont Municipal Office
127 Main Street
Putney, VT 05346
Phone: 802 387-5862