VMBA Central Vermont Mountain Bike Map

Map Overview

The Central Vermont Mountain Bike Map was produced by the Vermont Mountain Bike Advocates (VMBA) through a grant from the National Recreation Trails Fund and the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council. VMBA contracted GrassRoots GIS, who employed geographic information system (GIS) data maintained by the Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI) to produce the map.

The map shows Central Vermont town roads and trails that are desirable for mountain biking and includes all of Washington County and three towns in Orange County: Orange, Washington and Williamstown. It also shows roads and trails which, for various reasons, are unsuitable for riding. We have included them here because they appear on other maps. The section on Overall Ratings (below) explains why they are deemed unsuitable.

During the summer and fall of 1999, VMBA members volunteered over 500 hours riding and evaluating the roads and trails highlighted on this map. On the back of the map are their assessments. Please remember, the evaluations were done in 1999 and it is possible that since then, road classifications, conditions and accessibility may have changed.

The State of Vermont classifies town roads and rights-of-way as class 1 - 4 town highways. Class 1, 2 and 3 are for year-round automobile travel. Class 4 are maintained for summer travel only. However, many class 4 highways are not maintained at all, and may be washed out, overgrown, flooded, or blocked. Many are more like trails than roads and make good mountain bike routes. Legal trails also appear on this map and many are available for mountain biking. For simplicity, we refer to class 4 highways, forest roads, park roads and legal trails as primitive roads. Please note that some roads on this map are in state forests and parks and might be closed to mountain biking.

State and federal highways are identified by their number designation and appropriate shields. Town highways longer than 1.25 miles are identified with names used by the Enhanced 911 emergency system (E911). However, not all E911 road names had been assigned when we produced this map.

A primary consideration for road and mountain bikers is whether a road is paved, gravel or dirt. All public paved roads are shown using a double line. Non-paved roads are single lines. Primitive roads are single, dashed lines highlighted with color (see Overall Rating below). Note: Road surfaces may have changed since the data was obtained from VCGI.

The Map and the Assessments


Primitive roads are broken into segments that extend between intersections. They also terminate at changes in road classifications and at dead ends. Most segment end-points are easy to find. Each assessed segment longer than 200 meters has been identified by a number, which coincides with a written assessment on the back of the map.

While riding, you may come upon intersections that are not on the map. These intersecting roads and trails may be private roads, driveways, logging roads, snowmobile trails, hiking trails, or new roads not yet included in the GIS data base. Please use the written assessments to help select your route.

Segments have three features to help mountain bikers select routes and design loops that match their skill level: an Overall Rating, a Difficulty Rating, and a Written Assessment.

Overall Rating

Each segment is highlighted with a color, which indicates the overall riding suitability.

Note: overall ratings are subjective and reflect the level of enjoyment the VMBA volunteers experienced. A superb trail may have a gentle slope easy to ride in both directions, with a gravel surface and excellent views. Another superb trail may have a difficult, but fun, technical descent. A beginner may agree that the first trail is superb but should avoid the second. Refer to the written assessments to determine whether a segment is suitable for your experience and abilities.

Difficulty Rating

The difficulty rating should not be confused with the overall rating. Technical and/or aerobic difficulty is shown on the map using conventional ski trail symbols: a diamond means difficult; a square means moderate; and a circle means easy. These symbols appear only on segments longer than 200 meters and are based on the technical and/or aerobic challenge for the hardest travel direction. Technical difficulty is determined by the road surface and steepness. Aerobic difficulty is determined primarily by steepness but may also be affected by the road surface. For example, a steep, technically difficult road is aerobically more difficult that a steep smooth road. Refer to the written assessment for information on the technical and aerobic levels of difficulty.

Written Assessments

The assessments contain all the data collected in the field by VMBA volunteers. Note: segments shorter than 200 meters have no number on the map, and hence, no written assessment. Volunteers evaluated specific parameters important to mountain bikers. In addition to the overall technical and aerobic ratings, the written assessments provide information on surface type, segment length, trail type (road, double-track, single track), latitude/longitude, motorized use, ease of finding and following, landmarks, riding direction, suitability for wet-weather riding, special attributes (views, lunch spots, biting dogs, etc.) and additional comments.

To rate technical difficulty, riders were asked to determine if the segment was technically easy, moderate, hard or brutal. Aerobic difficulty was rated as aerobically easy, moderate, hard or brutal.

Volunteers used their own judgement to decide if segments were single track, double track or wider. Most primitive roads are double track.

Road surfaces were rated in approximate percentages of the following: gravel, hard packed dirt, sand, loose rock and cobbles, overgrown, grassy, running water over a hard bottom, running water over a mud bottom, totally washed out, standing mud or under water.

Most of the primitive roads we assessed are double track, easy to find, easy to follow and okay to ride in wet weather. When estimating segment distances, anticipate some margin of error in the calculations.

Riding Direction

Some segments are better ridden in one direction. An arrow shows the preferred direction of travel. The alternative direction of travel for these segments is simply too difficult, the entrance cannot be found, or the route cannot be followed.

Elevation Contours

Contours are at 100 foot intervals and are included to help determine steepness.


Parking spots were identified by the volunteers and are indicated by a "P" symbol. However, the map does not convey permission to park at the marked spots.

Map Accuracy

As noted above, the locations of roads shown on this map are based on GIS data provided by the VCGI. In some cases, the data is wrong. To be consistent with other maps, we have not corrected the errors. The written assessments indicate when a road diverges from the VCGI data.


Finding primitives road can be difficult. Some might be illegally gated, obscured by logging, overgrown, or disguised as driveways or stream beds. As of this printing, there are no VMBA trail signs marking the routes. Before searching for the entrance to a primitive road, review its assessment. If the assessment says the entrance is difficult to locate, or the road is confusing to follow, the navigation tips below will be useful.


The grid of light green lines indicate latitude and longitude. Degrees of latitude and longitude are noted in the written assessments. If an assessment interests you, find it on the map by cross-referencing its latitude and longitude. For example, segment #511 has "4420'N 7241'W" (44 degrees 20 minutes north latitude by 72 degrees 41 minutes west longitude). To find it, simply look for the intersection of the horizontal grid line labeled 4420' and the vertical grid line labeled 7241'. The midpoint of segment #511 is nearby.

Navigating with a Compass and Cyclometer

A compass and a cyclometer can help navigation on unfamiliar roads. This map's latitude/longitude grid is at true north. Because the magnetic declination in Central Vermont is approximately 16 degrees west, we recommend a compass with a built-in declination adjustment for navigating in Vermont. The scale of the map is one inch equals one mile. When determining distances, expect some margin of error.

Navigating with a GPS

The ultimate tool for navigation is a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The map grid makes using a GPS simple. Set your GPS to use the WGS84 (World Geodetic Survey 1984) datum. Set it to display position in degrees, minutes, and tenths of minutes. Latitude and longitude values are displayed on the map borders. The tic marks on the map borders are tenths of minutes.


As noted above, the base data was obtained from the VCGI. VCGI makes no warrantee of the accuracy of the data or its suitability for any purpose. Neither does VMBA. The assessment process is subjective. Conditions can change dramatically and may have changed substantially since the assessments. In just the last two years the region has been subjected to floods, ice storms, wind storms, and droughts. Therefore, VMBA makes no warrantee of any kind about the accuracy of the assessments.

Responsible Mountain Biking

VMBA encourages mountain bikers to pursue our sport in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way that respects the rights of other trail users and private property owners. Do not ride on trails susceptible to erosion during excessively wet periods. The assessments indicate which roads are not suitable for wet-weather riding. The assessments also note other user groups you may encounter on your ride. Please be respectful of others. If you find trails that are not mapped or assessed on this map, please ask for permission from the land owners before exploring.

VMBA endorses the International Mountain Bicyclist Association (IMBA) rules of the trails:

VMBA promotes trail advocacy through volunteer participation in planning, funding, establishing, and maintaining trails throughout Vermont. Please help VMBA continue to advocate for trails in Vermont and to produce more mountain bike maps for the public. Join VMBA now! To join, copy the membership form below and mail it with payment to:

   PO Box 563
   Waterbury, VT 05676

For a schedule of VMBA events and possible map updates and additional map information, please visit our Web site, www.vmba.org


VMBA thanks the volunteers who devoted many hours finding and evaluating these primitive roads and creating this map. They include: Cris and Barb Cote, Carl Cloutier, Chuck and Judy Bond, Cilla Kimberly, Dan Gottleib, David Tremblay, Gary Kessler, Geoff Wade, Jean Kissner, Jeannette Perry, Jenny Bates, Jerry Lasky, Joe Cavelear, Joe Segale, John Hollar, Kate Carter, Kelly Ault, Margo Bullock, PJ Telep, Pat Shea, Peggy Faucher, and Terry Gilmore.

VMBA extends special thanks to the advertisers, whose ads funded the printing of thousands of maps for free distribution. In return for their support, please support them by patronizing their businesses. VMBA also wishes to thank the Vermont Center for Geographic Information for the data base on which this map is based. Many thanks to the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council and the National Recreation Trails Fund for supporting our proposal to create the VMBA Central Vermont Mountain Bike Map. A very special thanks goes to GrassRoots GIS. Their commitment to producing this map was incredible.