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How To Bike the Sublime Stowe Recreation Path, Vermont

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When you think of Vermont, your mind probably conjures up images of Autumnal leaves and thick, dense New England Forests.

This is the scene we wanted to see on our trip to Stowe, but we didn’t want to just see it, we wanted to be in the thick of it, so we opted to take our bikes and hit the Stowe Recreation Path, an internationally recognized greenway that stretches for 5.3 miles from Stowe Village to Topnotch Resort on the Mountain Road.

The term greenway pretty much says it all about what to expect. This family-friendly trail is a sublime journey through Vermonts thick, flourishing woods and blooming meadows.

To top it off, it also criss-crosses over 11 arched wooden bridges – something that is particularly unique to Vermont.

It’s the perfect half day activity in Stowe. Here’s everything you need to know about the Stowe Recreation Bike trail!

Table Of Contents

How Long Is The Stowe VT Bike Path?

Stowe Vermont View from Sunset Rock

The Stowe Recreational Path is a 5.3 mile (8.5km) out and back trail tucked behind the charming village of Stowe, near Mt Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont.

The trail is paved the entire way, and officially starts at stretching from Stowe Village, behind the Stowe Community Church.

The finishing point of the trail is Top Notch Resort, where you can take a breathe, enjoy the breath-taking mountain views, before turning around and heading back.

The trail crosses the West Branch of Little River several times, but there are no river crossings, only bridge crossings.

How Hard Is The Stowe Recreation Path?

Overall, the Stowe Recreation Path is an easy bike ride. The terrain is flat and paved throughout, making it very family-friendly.

The path is a multi-use path, and is used by hikers, joggers, and bikers. Definitely not as hard as the White Mountain bike ride in Franconia, New Hampshire.

When Is The Stowe Recreation Path Open?

Stowe’s proximity to the mountains means it is action packed full of hiking, biking and skiing adventures at any time of the year.

This means the Stowe Recreation Path is open all year round and never closes, though those visiting in the winter months may need to swap their bikes for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing!

Stowe Quiet Path

On a side note, there is a second trail, called Stowe Quiet Path, which is a short 1.8 mile loop nature surface path from Cemetery Road towards Mayo Farm, hugging the banks of the Little River.

This is a jogger and walker only path, and is also pet-friendly. If you’re planning to visit Stowe with your pooch, consider taking this trail for a short dog walk.

However, if you have a bike like us, then you won’t be allowed on this trail.

Our Experience Riding The Stowe Recreation Path

mum and daughter on bikes posing on the Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont New England (2)
Biking in New England

The church steeples and colonial style houses dusted in snow makes Stowe look like it sprung out from the pages of a children’s Christmas story.

From the Stowe Community Church, we hopped on our bikes and headed north. It wasn’t long before we were leaving the small town behind, and were peddling through sterling forests of orange and gold (in the Fall) and open farmland.

Since we were biking with two small kids, we stopped many times. Fortunately, there are benches, portable restrooms (porta potty only, sorry!) and picnic areas along the way.

At several points, there are places for wading in the river during the summer months. It was a little too chilly for swimming on our bike ride.

Savannah loses the training wheels

It was only two days before riding this trail that Savannah mastered a bike without training wheels for the first time.

She wasn’t in complete control of the bike and there is no way she would have ridden 5.3 miles on her own bike.

girl Biking over a bridge on the Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont New England (2)

Fortunately we had a tag along for this trip, which was attached at the back of Craig’s bike.

It was so wonderful to experience the joy she felt at accomplishing a huge goal and overcoming her fear, as she was really worried about getting on the bike.

Since losing her training wheels, she was begging us every day to go bike riding. She was thrilled when we told her we’d be doing the 8.6 mile return ride along the Stowe Recreation Path.

Attractions on Stowe Recreation Path

Most of the places to stop at are about 15 minutes into the bike ride. Along the path they also have mechanic stations should anything happen to your bikes, and there is also a corn maze we cycled past if you want to stop for more outdoor family fun.

In the summer, you can also stop off to swim at the swimming holes near the bridges.

Idletyme Brewery

Contrary to the name, Idletyme Brewery is not quite a place that I’d consider idle.

Just before the Farmer’s Market, we cycled past a brewery with a beautiful outlook onto the path and forest, games of corn hole in the garden out the front (which Savannah loves to play) and a beer garden and deck.

We parked in the bike rack and pulled up a table on the deck in the warm sunshine.

The girls were having fun playing in the garden, we had delicious lunch, and I got to taste a new delicious local Stowe Cider (lemon and ginger cider).

picnic table beside the the Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont New England (1)

I think Vermont would have to have the best cider as they are all about the apples.

Would have loved nothing more than to sample some of those craft beers, but you know, gluten and all…

The Farmer’s Market

We started the bike ride with overcast skies and by the time we hit the Farmer’s Market 15 minutes later the sky was out and our sweaters off.

It was a gorgeous warm Fall day and the colors were sparkling.

We love a Farmers Market so were stoked to jump off the bikes for a shaved ice, a fresh juice and a wander. The markets are only on a Sunday, so if you want to experience it come then.

The Alchemist Brewery

The Alchemist Brewery, which is located across the street from where the Farmer’s Market takes place, is closed on a Sunday, but makes for the perfect pit stop for refreshments on days the Farmer’s Market is closed.

The brewery is home to the Heady Topper, voted as the best beer in the USA (someone even told us the world, but I think that’s a difficult contest to judge).

Be warned, according to local residents, the line up to snag one of these beers are not short and can be twenty minutes long.

It was our experience in Stowe and Burlington that lines were long everywhere you went.

But, we did visit on the busiest week of the year!

family Biking the Stowe Recreation Path in Vermont New England (3)

After the Farmer’s market we continued the bike path crossing over the bridges, and enjoying the gorgeous world of yellow and orange we found ourselves in.

We had the wind behind us on the way back, which was perfect as Kalyra was getting pretty tired. It blew us back home pretty quickly and was the perfect finish.

FAQs about Riding the Stowe Bike Path

Are there puncture repair stations on Stowe Bike Path?

Worried about your bike breaking down? Fortunately there are bike maintenance stations located at Lintilhac Park and Chase Park, which are open from Spring until Autumn. They offer basic bike repairs, so can only do quick fixes.

How long does it take to cycle the Stowe Rec Path?

Depending on how fast you go, you could cycle from point to point in about 1 hour, but you will want to include some breaks to stop off at the brewery. In total, I would allow yourself 3 hours to complete the trail with time to stop off for refreshments.

How steep is Stowe Bike Path?

The Stowe Bike Path is not steep at all, with the highest terrain grade of 5%. The entire trail is either paved or gravel and is about 6 feet wide.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend spending half a day cruising along the paved Stowe Recreation Path.

The route takes you through beautiful panoramic views of the mountain, great exercise and the chance to experience a little local flavour.

Plan time to make stops along the way.

Of course you can walk or roller skate if you like. We also came across some people on horseback. There were plenty of joggers and walkers, but don’t worry, the bike path wasn’t too crowded and we didn’t feel like there were too many people to make it difficult.

Where To Stay In Stowe, Vermont

Accommodation in Stowe, Vermont

During our visit to the town of Stowe we stayed in this cozy cottage attached to a large carriage house on 26 acres of countryside within an easy 5-minute drive into Stowe.

We had lovely mountain views, there’s a pond you can take a boat out on, and even a tennis court.

Adirondack chairs beside a lake
big tree in front of house

It proved to be a lovely base with super accommodating and friendly owners who gave us some great local tips on activities to do in Stowe.

Here are more vacation rentals in Stowe. You can also peruse the map below for more accommodation options.

Video of our Stowe Recreation Path Bike Ride

Want to see what riding the Stowe Recreation Path is like? Check out how awesome the Stowe Recreation path is in our travel video!

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Are you thinking of riding the Stowe Recreation Path? What other family friendly bike trails in Vermont have you tried? Let us know in the comments.

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