How did I end up in the cool town of Stowe Vermont, you ask? Simple. A guy from Tinder turn me on to the excellent single track mountain biking that can be found at Kingdoms Trails in Burke, Vermont. My search on AirBnB and Booking.com showed no availability in Burke but I found a place called Innsbruck Inn, which happened to be in Stowe on Booking.com about an hour and half away from Burke. The name of the hotel took me back to a place I love—Austria, so after a quick Google search to make sure there were things to do in Stowe, I booked a room for three days.
Hiking Mount Mansfield
I arrived to Stowe on the first day later than planned, so unfortunately, there wasn’t much daylight left for me to do any exploring. But I woke up the following day determined to spend the day hiking and mountain biking. I enjoyed a hearty breakfast (included with the room) before setting off to hike the tallest mountain in Vermont—Mount Mansfield.
Finding the hiking route online proved to be confusing. Thankfully, the owner of the Inn was able to trace the route for me and tell me where to get started. My journey began at the start of the Long Trail path off of Route 108 up to chin (the summit), across the ridgeline and what should have been down Haselton Trail, except I never found Haselton, so I came down one of the ski slopes—making for a steep descent. Killed my knees.
The hike up was challenging and definitely required wearing hiking boots. The path followed along a few streams which means it was rocky and wet. The hike was worth it for the view at the top of the ridge was beautiful. From anywhere along the ridgeline, the mountain offers breathtaking views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, the White Mountains, the Green Mountains and Mont Royal in Quebec.
Biking Around Town
After my four plus hour hike, I got back to the hotel and took a quick nap. My plan was to eat a late lunch after my nap and spend a few hours in the afternoon mountain biking. I searched online and found an area with some single tracks that I could bike to—I jumped on my bike and hopped on the paved recreational path that covered the miles all the way into town. I had lunch and continued on to find the mountain biking trails.
Due to my lack of paying attention to direction, I went out of my way a few miles in the wrong direction…twice. The plus side of my mistakes allowed me to see more of Stowe. A lot about it reminded me of Austria. Especially while riding the paved path that offered lovely views of the fields, the town, and the mountains. The minus side of my mistake, it tired me out. By the time I was almost at the entrance of the mountain biking trail, I had biked over ten miles and my legs were getting tired.
I decided to turn back, go feed Little Man and save myself for the mountain biking the next day.
A Rainy Day
I woke up to rain, went to breakfast to sunshine but returned to the room to rain. It rained almost all morning long—ruining my plans to mountain bike at Kingdom Trails. Once the sun finally returned, I mounted my bike but didn’t feel like doing an hour and a half drive to Kingdom Trails, so I headed to the trails on Cady Hills from the night before. It wasn’t a big network of trails but it was still some fun riding.
Riding that made me realize what a mountain biking rookie I am.
My day ended feeling bummed out.
I woke up to sunshine. The point of this stop in Vermont was to mountain bike Kingdom Trails. So while I was happy I had discovered Stowe—I had to fulfill the purpose of this stop. It was only a slight detour to stop in Burke on my way to Canada so I loaded everything up and headed that way.
I’m so glad I did!! While once again I felt like a complete rookie mountain biking the single tracks of Kingdom Trails—I had a blast! It made me wish I could do this every day. There’s more than 100 miles of trails—a mixture perfect for all skill levels.
I want to go back and spend more time on those trails. Perhaps I’ll spend next Spring/Summer in Vermont. Who knows…after all, I get to make it up as I go!