Northern Green Mountain National Forest Roads
The Green Mountain National Forest consists of a North Half (the Rochester/Middlebury Ranger Districts) and a South Half (the Manchester District).
The Middlebury / Rochester Ranger District contains the area extending east to west from Rochester to Middlebury, VT, and north to south from Starksboro to Rutland, VT. (North above US 4 up to SR 17. East of US 7 and west of SR 100).
While there are no freeways, interstates, or expressways that cross the Northern section of the Green Mountain National Forest, State and town roads travel around and lead to National Forest land. Most of the approximately 243.6 miles of U.S. Forest Service Roads are dirt or graveled single lane or 1-1/2 lanes with occasional pull-outs (less than 2% are paved). They wind through the Green Mountain National Forest providing unlimited recreational opportunities in the Northern Green Mountains at any season of the year.
The Rochester/Middlebury Ranger District is ideal for mountain biking. The northern Green Mountain area is higher in elevation and more rugged than the southern section. It encompasses Mt. Mansfield, the highest point in the State, at 4,393 feet above sea level. The Green Mountain National Forest hugs the ridge tops and the GMNF network of forest and old logging roads roll over the mountain peaks through dense pine forests and dip into lush green valleys. Rocky, carriage roads climb the hills to sparkling, mountain-ringed lakes and descend to moist, fern-filled hollows to follow tumbling streams. The forest roads also provide connections with cross country ski areas, the Breadloaf and Bristol Cliff Wilderness Areas, the Texas Falls, Moosalamoo and Silver Lake Recreation Areas, hiking and snowmobile trail systems and singletrack trails perfect for mountain biking.
Non-motorized off-road vehicles, such as mountain bikes, are limited to trails specifically signed open to mountain bikes and Forest Service Roads open to vehicular travel. Bicycle use is prohibited from the Long and Appalachian Trail, it's side trails and Wilderness, Primitive and Special Areas.
The following Northern Green Mountain Forest Roads and trails are recommended for mountain bikes.
Bingo Road - (Rochester) Forest Road 42
Trailhead: Forest Road 42 is located 4.5 miles west of Rochester off Vermont Route 73.
This country road meanders along a mountain stream providing very nice riding along a low gradient. You can pedal comfortably as you gently climb and then enjoy the return trip. It's a nice easy ride for anyone and families will enjoy this ride. If you want more and are up to the challenge, head onto Thresher Hill.
Thresher Hill: (Rochester) Forest Road 62
Trailhead: From Rochester: South on Route 100 to the junction with Route 73. Travel west on Route 73 for 4.0 miles. When Route 73 makes a 90-degree left hand turn, go straight onto Forest Road 42 (Bingo Road). Follow FR 42 for at least 5.0 miles and park in one of the small pull-offs.
If you climb Thresher Hill (Forest Road 62) (not for the faint of heart) you will be rewarded by great views, a great workout, and a great return trip. You may decide to continue beyond the end of FR 62 onto the Pine Brook Trail. This trail gently, then more sharply, descends back to Bingo Road.
Liberty Hill: (Rochester-Pittsfield) Forest Road 223
Trailhead: Forest Road 223 is located 2.4 miles south of Rochester off Vermont Route 100.
Portions of this road (recommended for 4WD vehicles only) not only provide a challenging ride but opportunities for loop travel as well. Cycling Liberty Road through to Pittsfield results in an excellent workout and there are nice views as you descend into Pittsfield Village. The return to Rochester is via Vermont Route 100. An alternate suggestion is Forest Road 223 and Forest Road 228 loop. Abandoned fields in this area provide pleasant resting places. Watch for mountain bike trail signs that will lead you to the Contest Trail on FR 223, and Ash Hill Trail beginning on FR 229.
Michigan Brook Road: (Pittsfield) Forest Road 35
Trailhead: Forest Road 35 is located off Vermont Route 100 in Pittsfield.
A small parking lot (passenger cars not recommended beyond this point) is located 2.3 miles from the intersection. This ride takes you through woods along a relatively flat course and then provides a good climbing workout and nice views along the top. Caryl Brook and other streams are available for a quick splash (but don't drink the water).
White River Road: (Granville) Forest Road 55
Trailhead: Forest Road 55 is located 8 miles north of Rochester off Vermont Route 100.
This road wanders along the headwaters of the White River, taking you several miles into the surrounding hills via Forest Roads 50, 55 and 101. Many streams and fields offer scenic views and pleasant resting places.
Road To Silver Lake (Ripton) Forest Road 27
Trailhead: At Brandon take Route 73 east. Go past Route 53 and turn left onto Town Hill Rd. to Goshen. Take the Goshen-Ripton Rd. (Forest Road 32) north to the intersection with Forest Roads 27 and 224. Turn right onto Forest Rd. 224 and proceed to parking area.
Forest Service Road 27 is a well-maintained gravel road. It's a pleasant, fairly level, occasionally rolling, ride through the woods. It’s especially pretty in the fall with clusters of purple Joe Pye weed along the route. It connects with the Goshen Trail at 2.2 miles. The Goshen Trail travels for 0.g miles to Silver Lake Recreation area where you can enjoy a lovely picnic on the north shore of the lake.
For more information
Rochester Ranger Station
Phone: (802) 767 - 4261
Middlebury Ranger Station
Phone: (802) 388 - 4362