This weekend, my friend Ben and I set out for the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for two days of what can only be described as bikepacking and riding bliss. The plan was simple, centering around riding sections of the 240 year old Bayley-Hazen Military Road (BHMR) and connecting as many breweries, jeep, remote gravel, and class four roads as possible.
Vermont is, by pretty much all measures, my definition of a perfect riding mecca. It checks all the boxes: mountains, streams, remote unpaved and forgotten treelined roads, and quaint villages with general stores sprinkled throughout. So when when my friend Harris and I had been chatting one day and he mentioned the existence of the BHMR, an old revolutionary era road stretching almost ~90 miles from Wells River to Montgomery through Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, I knew it was a great starting point for a weekend of great riding. But, damn, did I not know just how good it would be!!!
We set out from Boston on Friday afternoon and drove to Ricker Pond State Park where we would crash in a lean-to for the night and be treated to some of the most amazing views of the Milky Way that I’ve seen in a long time. Our route the next day took us out through Groton State Forest, tracking northbound on and off of segments of the BHMR and passing amazing vistas of the Green Mountains to the west en route to a planned beer stop at Hill Farmstead Brewery outside of Greensboro, VT.
From Greensboro we headed south and connected up with Overlook and Bridgeman Hill Roads, which followed the crest of a long open ridge south into Hardwick Vermont. Summarizing that section of roads in four words: perfect country gravel grinding. Feeling entirely amped by the experience, we decided to make a break west along Vermont Hwy 15 through Walcott to check out an old covered railroad bridge, and then make for a second round of beers at the Lost Nation Brewery in Morristown. While we appreciated the beer and food after nearly 70 miles, it is safe to say the experience left both of us lacking as neither of us was quite ready to embrace a busy locale after many miles of beautiful solitude. Needless to say, we were refueled and rolled past sunset into camp at Elmore State Park for the night.
We woke up with a planned shorter day ahead of us, since we both had to be back in Boston by late Sunday. I had been especially looking forward to this section of the route since all of the bits of information that I could pull together seemed to point to one great road or jeep track after another and damn did it not disappoint! This day 2 route took us over a series of ridges characterized by steep punchy climbs with descents along a number of class four unmaintained roads that followed rocky streams. Our loop took us into Cabot where we grabbed some incredible sandwiches at the small general store deli, after which we headed south climbing our way into Groton State Forest past cascading waterfalls and, sadly, back to my car.
Having covered over 100 miles with some great climbs and descents it was nothing short of riding perfection! For a two night, two day ride we both commented on how it felt much more substantial given the density of amazing roads and experiences we were able to cram in. Definitely a region not to miss, and one I plan to quickly return to for more incredible riding!