Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Vermont

  • Distance

    248 Mi.

    (399 KM)
  • Days


  • % Unpaved


  • % Singletrack


  • Difficulty (1-10)


  • % Rideable (time)


  • Total Ascent


    (6,467 M)
  • High Point


    (740 M)

Contributed By

Joe Cruz - Pedaling in Place

Joe Cruz

Pedaling in Place
This extraordinary loop weaves a selection of storybook-farm dirt roads, flowy New England singletrack, and rugged historic woodland paths to create a circuit of some of the world’s best and most coveted craft beers.
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Route designed and scouted by Joe Cruz & Logan Watts

The seed for the Green Mountain Gravel Growler was planted back in 2013 when a visit to Vermont revealed a burgeoning craft brewery scene that churned out 10 of the top 50 beers in the United States (Beer Advocate, 2013). The brewery landscape in Vermont has changed a lot since then. Most of the breweries have expanded to larger facilities and there are many new ones. In fact, Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state in the nation. One thing is certain, the beer is still incredible and the industry is still distinctly unique to Vermont. Several of the most sought after breweries do not export beyond state lines, and perhaps the most coveted, Hill Farmstead, doesn’t even sell beyond it’s own town, which is conveniently in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately for us, a lot of Vermont’s best breweries are in the middle of nowhere — or at least in the middle of quaint towns scattered amongst the rolling countryside. That’s another aspect that inspired this route. Vermont boasts the highest percentage of unpaved roads in the country.

  • Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont
  • Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont, Salsa Warbird

In the summer of 2016, Logan collaborated with Vermonter/New Yorker Joe Cruz to select the best dirt, gravel, singletrack and all but abandoned woodland roads to connect the best breweries the state has to offer. That fall they scouted and finalized an incredibly beautiful and tasty five day, 248 mile loop that links 13 breweries, 2 classic brewpubs, and several taprooms and restaurants throughout the central region of Vermont. At its heart, the Green Mountain Gravel Growler is a route designed to enjoy over an extra-long weekend on a gravel/adventure bike with hearty 40mm tires or greater. Daily mileage is low to allow leisurely tours and tastings. Along the way you’ll find abundant climbing, incredible views of the green mountains, rolling farmland and quaint New England charm… oh yeah, and some of the most amazing beer on the planet.

  • Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont
  • Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont
  • Green Mountain Gravel Growler, Bikepacking Vermont

Thanks to all the breweries who showed us your incredible facilities. And thanks to Salsa Cycles for loaning us Warbirds for the outing — a great bike to attack all the terrain that this route dished out, read the review here. And, to Mike Donofrio and company for putting us up and showing us great trails!

  • Highlights


  • Must Know


  • Camping


  • Food/H2O


  • Trail Notes


  • Classic dirt farm roads, red barns, and holstein cows.
  • Incredible breweries including Foam, Zero Gravity, The Alchemist, Lost Nation, Hill Farmstead, Frost and Fiddlehead.
  • Next year Lawson’s Finest Liquids will open a taproom in Waitsfield, and this route takes you through there. Right now sample Lawson’s at The Mad Taco.
  • Visit Otter Creek, one of the OG’s of Vermont brewing as well as Good Measure, a brand new up and comer.
  • Ascend mighty Lincoln Gap, with sustained grades of 20% and maxing out at 24%. New England road builders consider switchbacks wholly optional.
  • Three pubs with great vibes and amazing food and beer selections: The Threepenny Taproom in Montpelier, The Bobcat Cafe in Bristol, and Prohibition Pig in Waterbury.
  • Even more beer to try, as Stone Corral (Richmond), Trapp’s (Stowe), Rock Art (Morrisville), and Drop-In (Middlebury) are along this route.
  • Fly into Burlington or take Amtrak’s Vermonter which introduced roll-on bike service this year.
  • The ideal time for this ride is late summer through fall. Timing it for early October leaf season will make for a magical experience.
  • This route was designed with gravel/cross bikes in mind. It features a lot of gravel, a few paved sections, some bits of medium technical singletrack, and several really rough ‘class 4’ roads where you’ll be a bit ‘underbiked’ on a CX rig. 40mm+ tires are recommended but a bike with 35’s can manage.
  • Create a schedule of the times and days of the week that the breweries will be open so that there are no disappointments. On the other hand, if you end up missing a beer that you wanted to try, there’s likely a chance to order it at the taprooms of the route.
  • Old Spokes Home in Burlington definitely get the dirt adventure scene, so stop in at the beginning of your ride if you need anything. There are also terrific bike shops in Stowe, Montpelier, and Middlebury. Spares and repairs are always nearby.
  • Onion River Sports in Montpelier, mid way through the ride. Drop off your bike for TLC while you sit for some pints and a meal at the Threepenny Taproom, right around the corner.
  • Vermont is the second least populated U.S. state (after Wyoming) and there is no shortage of beautiful New England woods on this route. Still, private property and no trespassing signs abound. Make every effort to check with the landowner before wild camping. A simple friendly inquiry to a farmer is very likely to yield permission to camp at the edge of a field.
  • Primitive camping is allowed in the Green Mountain National Forest, which this route goes through between Warren and Middlebury.
  • Town forests vary in their camping policy. You are unlikely to be hassled if you are discreet, keep a small footprint, and pack up early. #leavenotrace.
  • Check out for potential hosts as well.
  • You are never far away from food and drink, so there is little reason to carry much beyond a few energy bars and a couple of bottles.
  • Absolutely have a meal at Prohibition Pig (or the Blackback Pub across the street), Threepenny Taproom, The Mad Taco, and The Bobcat Cafe.
  • Time your route to have the excellent pizza at Folino’s in Shelburne right next door to Fiddlehead Brewery. Buy a growler or some cans to BYOB.
  • Finish the route at either Flatbread (Zero Gravity) or The Farmhouse. Both have excellent options for post-ride beers… if you need one!

The GMGG (in order of ‘must try’ beers)

“Local Dork”, American Pale Ale (6.4%)

Foam Brewery, Burlington, VT
It’s only fitting that this was the beer we started with. American Pale Ales (APA) permeate the scene in Vermont, and they do them extremely well. The Local Dork is wet hopped with local hops and has a straw yellow color. It explodes with flavor of citrus and melon and finishes dry. Perhaps one of the best APAs we had.

“Focal Banger”, American IPA (7%)

Alchemist, Stowe, VT
The Alchemist is known for their Heady Topper, a classic award winning double IPA. However, there’s a new sheriff in town, the Focal Banger. Their incredible campus in Stowe produces and cans this american IPA that’s a bit more forgiving than the Heady (8%). It’s hopped with Citra and Mosaic and it smells and tastes damned near perfect.

“House Pale”, American Pale Ale (variable ABV)

Lost Nation, Morrisville, VT
While Lost Nation has a few other great beers, we went for their ‘house pale’ which varies depending on what they are experimenting with. The version we tried was a hop blend with incredible juicy complexity.

“Self Reliance #2”, American Pale Ale (5.2%)

“Edward”, American Pale Ale

Hill Farmstead, Greensboro, VT
An incredible APA hopped with Vic Secret and Enigma (New Zealand). Perfect in every way, Self Reliance has an amazing and unmatched complexity. Joe says it might be the best beer he’s ever had. Logan agrees. Also, Edward is a classic beer named after Shawn Hill’s grandfather who originally owned the farmstead. It’s a beautiful APA hopped with a lovely combination of Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, and Warrior.

“Early Riser”, Cream Ale

Good Measure, Northfield, VT (next to Cornerstone Burger)
This is Scott Kerner’s take on an unpretentious, inexpensive, drinkable beer. We loved it. Good Measure is now open and serving beer tastings in a fantastic renovated space. Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 7 PM / Sunday 12 – 5 PM

“Super Session #2”, Session IPA (4.8 ABV)

Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Warren, VT (not open, yet / on tap at Mad Taco)
Lawson’s beers are always outstanding; some of the most sought after in Vermont. The Super Session is no exception — A single hop session IPA brewed with Amarillo hops. Stop in at Mad Taco; they always have a couple Lawson’s on tap.

“Steampipe”, Lager (6.0 ABV)

Otter Creek, Middlebury, VT
A very likable lager and something to actually buy at grocery stores in the Northeast. Make sure to have lunch there too.

“Lush”, Double IPA (8% / 80 IBU)

“Farmhouse Ale”, Farmhouse

Frost Beer Works, Hinesburg, VT
Throughout the trip as we name dropped places we were going, Frost was a common point of excitement. Tucked away in the small town of Hinesburg, they are creating a buzz with their beers. Joe loved the Belgian style Farmhouse and Logan thought the Lush DIPA was amazing.

“Stable”, American IPA (6.2%)

Fiddlehead Brewing, Shelburne, VT
Their flagship beer is the “Fiddlehead IPA” but Joe likes their “Stable” American IPA better. Make sure and grab some cans and have a pizza next door at Folino’s.

“Bamberg Helles”, German Lager (5%)

“Sans Souci”, Farmhouse Pale Ale (5.9%)

Zero Gravity Brewing, Burlington, VT
Zero Gravity has a nice brewery at a new location in Burlington, and they are also featured at the American Flatbread Pizza. We went to both. Two exceptional beers are the Bamberg Helles, which is a really welll done classic German lager with a touch of smokiness. And, the Sans Souci Farmhouse Pale which has a nice touch of aromatic hops and lavender.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.

  • Seth

    Another great writeup and glad to see the Prohibition Pig on this list! It is a must stop for every ride or bikepacking trip in the region!

  • Thanks! Yeah, the Pig is a great place to eat (and drink). They had Self Reliance #2 (our favorite beer of the trip) on tap.

  • Jamie Lent

    Do you have any recommendations for camping along the route? Or just throw down wherever you get tired and can’t see house lights?

  • Check out the Camping tab above. There are few notes there. We wild camped in the National Forest and pitched on private land (with permission)…

  • Fionn McArthur

    The beers on that map just make me SO happy! Looks like a great route – nice one.

  • Thanks… us too!

  • Jamie Lent

    Oops, missed that tab. Thanks!

  • Rob Grey

    this is the kind of trip i live for.

    excellent work gentlemen!

  • Harley Raylor

    So stoked to see a route designed for cross/gravel bikes! Do you think it would be possible to do this route as a credit card gravel tour staying in small town hotels along the way instead of camping?

  • Thanks Rob!

  • That’s absolutely possible. I think between inns, B&Bs, and Warmshowers hosts (if you are on a budget), that’s totally doable. Keep in mind that some of those Class 4 roads are pretty burly; as mentioned above, during those sections, a cross bike is definitely not quite enough bike. That said, there are only a couple sections like that…

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey Harley, I absolute think the route can be done in the style that you’re describing and it would remain a blast with less gear to carry. The way I’d do it would be something like:

    Day 0: Arrive in Burlington early enough to have dinner and visit Foam. Lodge in Burlington
    Day 1: Put in a long-ish day to ride to Morrisville. Quick break in Richmond at Stone Corral, lunch in Waterbury at Prohibition Pig, a visit to the Alchemist after lunch, and dinner at Lost Nation. Lodge in Morrisville.
    Day 2: Ride to Hill Farmstead to arrive in time for their opening, taste and enjoy, linger a bit. Lunch on the town green next to the grocery store in Greensboro, then a super fun run into Montpelier with dinner at the Threepenny taproom. Lodge in Montpelier.
    Day 3: Ride to Northfield with a quick break at Good Measure if it’s open (grab a snack at grocery store), fun ride to Waitsfield for lunch at Mad Taco, then ride to Warren. Chill out in Warren with a big smile.
    Day 4: Ride to Middlebury, lunch at Otter Creek or Drop In, continue on to Bristol, dinner at Bobcat Cafe. Lodge in Bristol.
    Day 5: Ride to Hinesburg, have a tasting at Frost, continue onward to Shelburne for Fiddlehead and pizza next door for lunch. Ride into Burlington to enjoy the city a bit more fully, visit Zero Gravity around happy hour, dinner somewhere in town. Head home or lodge again in Burlington.

    Saying all that aloud makes me want to go back and do it this way!

    Hope that helps,

  • Mike

    How early in the year could you do this without it being a mud pit?

  • Joe Cruz

    Honestly, I think any earlier than the second half of June would be pushing it but you could get lucky! We really think second half of summer and fall are the best bet.

  • Mike

    That’s sort of what I was thinking. . . Thanks for the great route!

  • Michael King

    This might very well be the single coolest bicycle story I have seen in a very, very long time. Amazing photos! :D

  • Michael King

    Thanks! We are totally doing this route next Summer. :D

  • Marco

    Great trip! I really love those routes in the US. I should come over from Europe to do some bike packing at your great continent. Keep up the good work with the site.

  • Harley Raylor

    Awesome itinerary! Cheers! I’m always looking for gravel routes with this option. My wife and I rode the Oregon Stampede gravel route last month staying in the towns of Dufur and Maupin. Living in Seattle, a flight to Burlington might give us the chance to use Bike Flights for the first time. Is there a bike shop in Burlington you’d recommend that might accept our bikes being shipped directly to them?

  • Old Spokes Home (link under Musk Know) is probably a great bet!

  • Prof. Cruz holding two beers– priceless!

  • Peter NIss

    Hey Joe. Great to see even from far Germany… but hold on. Another bike with that new Revelate Gas Tank on board. Hope RD is lifting the curtain quickly … I am in need ;-)

  • Ben O’Brien

    this is totally awesome! thanks for putting this together. i’m already assembling a crew for next summer.

  • Joe Cruz

    I was sharing. Honest.

  • This looks like fun (and I don’t even drink) and as an expat Yankee stuck in the wasteland of Austin, daydreaming of New England is always a good thing.

  • Bill Wright

    Just finished the Western New England Greenway route from Connecticut to the Canadian border. Not very much gravel and dirt, but a great big dose of New England. Wish you had posted this trip a month ago as it would have been a great loop to add on when I passed through Burlington. Now I need to go back! Thanks for putting this one together. Looks like a must do!

  • Jake Kruse

    looks glorius

  • John Wrynn

    Nice to see some NorthEast routes.

  • Joe Cruz

    Sorry about that, Bill. We had a good sense (a bit selfishly) that this one would be fun to do around peak foliage, and we weren’t disappointed. Yes, a reason to come back!

  • Rob Grey

    easy praise, my friend

  • Daniel Schmidt

    Great to see Vermont get some attention. Feeling pretty lucky to call these roads home.
    This route also connects up about a dozen trail networks, for those looking for a singletrack add on.

  • Eric

    Are parts of this trip possible to do with kids on a weehoo? Or is the terrain too much?

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey Eric, that’s an interesting tykepacking thought! Certainly the dirt road sections would be doable and fun, but Logan and I tried to conceived of the route in such a way that there would be exciting and demanding sections of trail and class IV road interspersed at just the right moments. The descending sections between Waterbury and Stowe might be a handful with your rig, and the singletrack climb out of Stowe as well as those south of Montpelier would be a no-go. I think the Class IV Buffalo Mountain Rd would be a tough climb and you’d end up walking most of Waitsfield Gap.

    All of that is to say: You’d absolutely be able to ride *most* of this loop with the weehoo, but you’d have to find work-arounds for a number of the rough sections that we intended as fun underbiking for the gravel/cross bike set. Such a work-around would be pretty easy. Write to me off list if you want specific advice on that.


  • Holy bucket list! A good excuse to go visit la belle province while I’m at it!

  • Jake Dean

    Peter, have you seen these offerings? Pretty good prices and I believe they ship to everywhere in EU.

  • Jake Dean

    Any problem with ticks? They seem to be getting worse every year in that part of the country.

  • Not this time of year. Perhaps in the spring riders should be concerned/vigilant.

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey Jake, just to echo Logan’s remarks: I think vigilance for ticks is very well advised for any first half of the season version of this ride. We don’t have you going through very many tall grassy sections, but there are some.

  • Absolutely doing this!

  • Joe Cruz

    Feel like I can say with some confidence that you’ll have a great time, Max!

  • Kelley says “We’re going to do it in winter?” but I think Mad Taco convinced her. Let’s see if we can make this happen…


    Any advice re. accommodations? Is this a camping route or more inns and BnBs?


    What would better suited for the terrain…a steel adventure/gravel bike with 40mm tires and a 105 3X10, or a 2016 Trek Stache 7 (Sram 1X11, front sus, 29+, ergo bar ends)?

  • Joe Cruz

    Hey pLaylord—The route was conceived with your adventure/gravel bike squarely in mind that that’s what I’d recommend you should ride. To be clear, though, there will be moments when your Stache would be “better suited for the terrain”! Those were moments we were underbiking on our gravel rigs: they were fun, usually short—coupla hundred meters here and there—and usually only once per day to add some spice to the whole thing. I think if you rode the Stache, though, you’d feel like you brought too much bike for the dirt road sections that constitute the majority of the ride.

    I hope you do this route and have fun!


  • Joe Cruz

    It’s intended as a camping route; be sure to look at our advice under the “camping” tab, above.

    Maybe you’ve seen in the comments that I’ve sketched a version of the itinerary where you stay in Inns and B&B’s. As I said, I think that would be great, but I don’t have any specific recommendation as we didn’t do it that way.


  • Cameron Dube

    My GF sent me the link to this route (very untypical of her, but beer is involved!). Thanks for this as it’ll be her first bikepack trip!

  • Joe Cruz

    Sounds like you have a fantastic girlfriend! Ha, you’re very welcome, Logan and I had a great time putting this route together. Seriously feel welcome to drop me a line for any further details you may need. Consider late summer or early fall; a first bikepacking trip should be all about fun!


  • Cameron Dube

    Thanks Joe. We’ll probably be able to get this done during the summer months as my schedule fills up come the fall but we’re only 5 hrs from Burlington, so the drive isn’t too bad to get there. Happy Holidays.

  • Sarah Jane Summers

    We want to ship our bikes up here from Texas.. Do y’all know of a shop you’d recommend?

  • Jamie Lent

    Old Spokes Home in Burlington is probably your best bet. Can’t recommend them enough! If Old Spokes Home can’t do it, then Ski Rack might.

  • Hi guys!!
    I’ve been going through the site looking for a prospective ride to do in 10 to 14 days on early October with a friend of mine who lives in NJ. This route looks absolutely great: beers, camping, experiencing the fall in Vermont and enjoying it all in the fine company of a hardcore-biking-gal is right up my alley.
    Is there any other route around to add to this one? Or a way to stretch the trip a little more? Up to now our plan looks something like getting ourselves to VT by means of the Amtrak Vermonter to St. Albans and from there heading south to Burlington for the trip so anything in between would be fine, albeit it seems there’s a rather short distance separating one town from the other.
    Could any of you give as hand?
    Thanks and all the best to you all from Chile!!! :D

  • Hello Nicolás, greetings to you down in beautiful Chile! Sorry for the delay in replying, Logan and I were on a trip and I’m only now getting back in the swing of things. Without a doubt there will be a way to extend your trip either into the Adirondacks of New York, or more in Vermont and New Hampshire. In fact, with the number of days you have, you could even consider riding back to your friend’s house in NJ. Drop me an email so we can think about it: jcruz at williams dot edu


  • Charles Latulip


    I saw that you recommend 40mm tire width but you say 35mm will do… I was wondering if someone know If I can go with schwalbe marathon plus 32mm, am I gonna regret it or it isn’t so bad? I ride a specialized diverge and even if its a gravel bike, I cant put more than 32mm in the rear…

    Thanks !

  • Hello Charles,

    Exact numbers are difficult. For many sections of this ride, I was at the limit of comfort and control on the 37mm stock tires of the Salsa Warbird I was riding. If I could choose any tires to ride, I would want to go up from there rather than down and 40 may be a kind of sweet spot. Now, is it possible to do the ride on 32’s? Well, yes, probably. There will be sections of broken abandoned rocky road where you may have to walk a bit more, you will be more prone to flats, and there may be some parts of the singletrack that are harrowing. On the other hand, a lot of the route is on smooth dirt road and asphalt where your Diverge will be just great. So it depends on your attitude and how patient you can be on the rockiest sections.


  • James Carpenter

    Plan on doing this April 1st. Any suggestions on where to stay close to the start that accommodates trailers and I will be able to leave parked for 5 days? Any help would be great.

  • Hi James, I’m not a Burlington local so can’t say with much confidence where you can leave a trailer. Maybe give the folks at Old Spokes Home a call and see what they say. FWIW, I’ve left a vehicle at the park and ride outside of Waterbury for a few days without a problem.

    Let me say, too, that you’re very early in the season. We received two feet of snow up here in Vermont last week. It’s certainly melting at a decent pace, and you’re ten days out, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to hit a lot of snow, slush, and serious mud in the woodsy sections of this route. Maybe you’ve got some Fat Bike ambitions, in which case, that’d be fun! If not, though, consider a variation of the route that skips most of the real rough stuff and instead sticks to roads that are likely to have seen plows. You can find it on my personal ridewithgps page:

    Whatever route you do, let us know how it goes and enjoy those pints!


  • Jamie Lent

    As Joe mentions, there was a lot of snow recently and it is all melting. Dirt roads are looking pretty friggin muddy right now ( There are still plenty of trails that people are grooming for fat biking, but ungroomed, you certainly couldn’t ride them. Even if it were all to melt away, the trails would be too wet to ride without causing serious damage. Who knows what 10 days will do to all that, but realistically I think singletrack is out of the picture for the time being.

    But dirt roads should be a blast!

  • Spencer Ralston

    I see you guys did not have a cargo trailer and used only frame bags. Is it possible to do this route with a cargo trailer? Or are the dirt/farm roads too rough for a trailer?

  • Jamie Lent

    See Eric’s question and Joe’s response to bringing kids in a WeeHoo trailer below.

  • Hey Spencer, it’s been some years since I’ve used a cargo trailer. But I did tour in Asia for a good while with an Extrawheel and it was certainly very capable. So, do I think this route—the version with singletrack and rough Class IV roads, not the version that sticks to dirt roads that Jamie is mentioning below—can be done with a trailer? Well, yes, I suppose so, though it will depend a lot on the particular setup and your approach to it. If you’re the kind of trailer user who happily charges onto twisty trails even though it’s bouncing and getting air behind you, then I think you’ll be fine. Maybe the trail outside of Stowe and the ones south of Montpelier will give you pause, just because the turns are tight and there are logs and stone fences to clear.

    If your trailer has mostly been a companion on gravel roads, then I agree with Jamie and I’d suggest the modified version (from my personal page:

  • Stephen Reynolds


    I just moved to no Mass and wanted to know if there a printed version of this route.

    Considering riding this in July
    By the Way I have a Salsa Fargo it should be able to handle this correct?

    I rode the great divide route for 9 days last august with no problem with bike!

    Steve Reynolds

  • Hi Stephen—No printed versions. The thought is that you’ll load the GPX file onto your phone or your GPS. I’ve sometimes for myself traced routes out on paper maps (like on the pages of a DeLorme Atlas) if that makes the whole thing easier to visualize and navigate.

    (Or maybe I’m misunderstanding your meaning: It is possible to print out the route from within ridewithgps if you are a premium member, but we don’t host that facility.)

    re: Your Fargo, that will be a *perfect* bike for this route. Enjoy!


  • Stephen Reynolds


    I just moved to Northern Mass and I am considering doing this ride
    I have a Salsa Fargo and figured it could handle this
    I also rode it on great divide for 9 days last summer.

    Is there a printed map for this


    Steve Reynolds

  • Marilie Croteau

    Have you finally been there at the beginning of April? We did a part of it last weekend and some parts are not ‘ready’ yet! Had to push the bike over 3 miles in snow between waterbury and stowe, Darling trail road and West Woodbury were also pretty covered with snow, streams and mud. It is still pretty muddy and sticky on many roads in the area so you can’t expect to move fast.

  • Harold Gillmore

    My wife and I are looking to do this right in the fall. How accessible are the routes for a pull behind burley trailer for my daughter question

  • Hi Harold—I’m recopying my answer to a similar question asked below:

    Certainly the dirt road sections would be doable and fun, but Logan and I tried to conceived of the route in such a way that there would be exciting and demanding sections of trail and class IV road interspersed at just the right moments. The descending sections between Waterbury and Stowe might be a handful with your rig, and the singletrack climb out of Stowe as well as those south of Montpelier would be a no-go. I think the Class IV Buffalo Mountain Rd would be a tough climb and you’d end up walking most of Waitsfield Gap.

    All of that is to say: You’d absolutely be able to ride *most* of this loop with the [Burley], but you’d have to puruse work-arounds for a number of the rough sections that we intended as fun underbiking for the gravel/cross bike set. Here’s a version that I’ve put together that takes out most of the hardest bits (it’s hosted on my personal ridewithgps page):

  • Harold Gillmore

    Thanks Joe!

  • No problem, Harold! I hope you three do it, and let us know how it goes with the trailer. If you need anything else as you think through your plans, feel free to drop me a line here or off-list, jcruz at williams dot edu.


  • Ben Zammit

    Is this trip possible in early May, or is it still too muddy?

  • Hey Ben, honestly I can’t say with a lot of confidence. My gut tells me that that’s still too early. You’re talking about the week after next or something like that? Maybe some northern Vermonters will chime in, but things take awhile to dry out and come around up there.


  • Ben Zammit

    Hey Joe, thanks for the reply. I have from now until mid May when I start my job, and I’m looking for a multi day gravel trek. If not this, do you have any other suggestions?

  • That’s a nice chunk of time! Let’s not totally give up on this until others have chimed in (and I’ll make some inquiries). But ping me with a note off list (jcruz at williams dot edu) and we can brainstorm. Let me know if you’re in New England and looking for something close or if you’d be traveling under any circumstances. New Mexico and Arizona are great right now!


  • Jared Herman

    how inefficient would it be to do this route on plus bikes? or do you think it’d just be a little slower?

  • Hey Jared. There’s plenty of dirt road and some pavement, but really probably just a little bit slower. I’d have no hesitation to do it on a plus bike.


  • Jared Herman

    Awesome! Thank you!

  • Peter Herrig

    It looks like you started and finished from the parking lot at Waterfront Park, you were able to leave cars for days?

  • Hello Peter. We start the tour at Foam Brewers just as a convenient place to anchor the loop. Logan flew into Burlington and I parked my car at a friend’s house, so we cannot say whether a car can be left at Waterfront Park.


  • Justin

    Hi all,

    I heard about this trip last weekend and it sounds amazing and I think I am planning on doing it this summer with a few friends. One question they had was do you think there is a three-day version of this? Is there a three day loop or would the suggestion be to plan where to end after three days and leave a car there?

    Also, I am currently in search of a new bike, as my Trek520 was wrecked in an accident (I am fine). In looking to replace it, I started learning more about off-road trails and tours, and began looking for something a bit beefier than the Trek520, but that ideally I could still use for commuting and potentially longer road touring, as well as trips like the Green Mountain Gravel Growler. Do you have any suggestions, or am I describing at least two different bikes based on what I’m looking for? It sounds like a suspension fork would not be needed for a trip like this?

  • Hi Justin—Thanks for visiting. This trip is a pile of fun! As far as a three day version, it depends, of course, on the pace of the ride and how much you’re in it for the beer versus the pedaling. But I can easily picture a pretty fun variation as follows:

    Day 1: Park in the park and ride parking lot in Waterbury, Ride to Stowe, stop in at Alchemist, maybe quick sampler at Von Trapp, Ride to Morrisville, dinner at Lost Nation, ride out of town to camp. 67 miles.
    Day 2: Ride to Hill Farmstead, dinner sandwiches at the general store in Greensboro, continue toward Montpelier, camp. ~55 miles.
    Day 3: early lunch in Montpelier at Threepenny taproom (they open at 11), quick stop at Good Measure, back to Waterbury via small roads including Moretown Mountain Road, dinner at Prohibition Pig. Dunno mileage, ride till you get there!

    How’s that sound?

    re: a new bike, sorry to hear about your 520. A classic! The kind of riding you’re describing doing I think is pretty attainable with modern drop bar bikes with clearance for 45-50mm tires. Yep, commuting, road touring, and “allroad” touring. Logan and I were on Salsa Warbirds for this trip, and they worked great, though perhaps a bit of a handful on the most rugged sections of ride. The Warbird may also be a bit racy for the purposes you have in mind. Other bikes to consider instead might be a Raleigh Stuntman, a Salsa Vaya or Fargo, a Surly Straggler. We haven’t ridden one yet but the Why Cycles R+ looks like a nice rig. This category is the biggest thing going in cycling right now, so you’ll have plenty of options—again, concentrate on tire clearance and forgiving gearing.

    Hope that helps,

  • Marc Conti

    Hi Harold,
    We just did the north part of this route with our 2y.o. son. Its totally doable pulling a trailer but it has a lot of hills. We pushed the bikes all the way to the top of Buffulo Mt. Road just to come back down (we hadn’t read the comments below…) an hour later. It really rough and I would definitely skip this part and take Town Highway 6 which is just a little father on SR14. From Montpellier (stop for breakfast at Down Home, it so goood !!) we came back to Waterbury along VT cycling road along Route 2. You should do it now, all the flowers are blooming and its amazing !!!

  • Marc, so great that you had a positive time with the little one! Ugh, yes, Buffalo Mountain Rd would be a handful with a trailer—Town Hwy 6 is great. And also agreed on Down Home!


  • Nancy Citriglia

    Hi there, so my husband and I want to do this ride in September middle to end of September. We have Fuji steel frame touring bikes with 34mm tires. Would that work or would we be better off with our mt bikes? I cant buy a new bike so i hope what we have would work. I would like to do it in 4 days I also like the three day option you have but will definitely miss some fun stuff that way. We would need to do it with CC and stay in hotels or cheap motels if possible. We would ship our bikes most likely. Anyways…if you have done this and have any more insight I would love to hear more about it. Sounds so fun and my husband loves beer!! I have always wanted to go to Vermont!!! Thanks for all this info!

  • Hello Nancy, September will be a great time of the year for this ride. The way that the ride is mapped and described here, you would be better on your mountain bikes than on your touring bikes. No need to buy a new bike! I’ve heard reports that the three/four day version is fun and great, so you don’t have to worry about missing out. (There are a bunch of ways of shortening it, I think a good one is where you begin in Waterbury rather than Burlington and go clockwise and spend the night in Morrisville>Montpelier>Waitsfield then ride small roads back to Waterbury.)

    I’m afraid I don’t know Waterbury well enough to recommend a place to ship to.


  • Tom Blair

    dates! ( must plan on doing this!!)

  • Hi Tom, yes, it’s a great route for tremendous beer, Vermont culture, and rolling dirt tracks!

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding your exclamation, “dates!,” but it seems like you’re asking when this ride will be done. Just to be clear: this is a route with a description and information for anyone to do the ride at any time (well, there are times of the year when it wouldn’t be such a good idea). Logan and I scouted and refined it last year, and serves as a place for bikepackers to come together, share information, and sometimes downloads routes that are created by trusted contributors.


  • Tom Blair

    thanks for the clarification-
    i figured that out right after I hit send…..

    still looks great to me!!

  • Alin

    Thanks for documenting this awesome route! I’m looking at doing it in Sept with a few friends. One question: do you think route direction matters?

  • Alin—Glad to hear it! I doubt that direction matters much, it’ll be lovely either way. Maybe you’ll have to keep your eye open for the entrance to the single track after Northfield.


  • misterdangerpants

    I got thirsty just looking at the pictures.

  • Jerry

    I don’t use GPS and am not fimilar with using the GPX file is there a que sheet or some other route information I can use? Thanks ahead of time.

  • Hi Jerry—No, we only share GPX files. There’s a premium feature on Ridewithgps that would allow you to generate cue sheets from our file or, I suppose, you could manually copy out the route on a paper map.


  • Jerry

    Thanks Joe. Actually just found what I needed.

  • peteo

    Wow! This would be a dream trip, though I’ve been to most of those breweries, this would be amazing by bike. Coincide this with the Vermont brewers festival (Burlington every summer) in it would be a trip of a life time!

  • peteo

    Hi Joe, really looking into this trip. Never done bike packing before. Is doing this in 5 days realistic? Seems like 50 miles a day is a lot? That’s like 5 hours of biking a day then you have all stops. Am I way off?

  • Hey Peteo—Five days is a steady pace for sure, and it makes this ride feel hard and adventurous, which is what we were aiming for. Yeah, 4-7 hours riding per day, so breaks can’t be long. You can, of course, linger at the last stop of the day. Usually we’d enjoy ourselves to contentment and then slowly ride for another half hour to find a campsite.

    Logan and I invented the route in October, so daylight was an issue. You could make it a bit easier on yourself doing it in, say, late August.

    Tons of fun, I promise!


  • Scott Myers

    Just got home from riding this route. Very well done. Thanks!

  • Matthew Graham

    Thanks for a great route! Just finished the southern portion of the Growler and wanted to give you guys a heads up that the Waitsfield side of the Waitsfield gap is in really rough shape. It’s been blocked off by multiple tree falls, shrubbery and a jeep in the middle of the trail that looks like someone is living in it. To those considering doing this with kids, I would skip that section or scout it out well.

  • Jimmy Juricevich

    Heading out Friday night to do this; turned it into a 4 day trip starting/ending in Waterbury, cutting from Lincoln Gap straight to Bristol.
    Any last minute tips or tricks? Good camping spots?

  • Have fun… I’m jealous. Check out the post below about the area near Waitsfield.

  • Guy Bouchard

    Any problem doing it in fall (here in Quebec, moose hunting season keep us from a lot of place)?

  • Hello Guy, I think Fall is the *best* time to do this ride. Logan and I rode it in the second week of October, which was perfection in terms of weather and tree color. As far as hunting, regular deer season—when the woods would have the most hunters—is Nov. 11-26. If you do the ride at that time wear blaze orange, but I wouldn’t imagine that there’s much more to think about.


  • Guy Bouchard


  • Melvin Glover

    Hey Joe. I’ve been planning a smaller loop on the northern half of the route similar to this one. Basically starts and ends near Pro Pig, following the route but connecting Three Penny Taproom and Pro Pig using roads along I-89.

    Do you remember what the route was like on the north side? Is there a lot of moderately trafficked paved roads or is it mostly unpaved, solitary greatness?


  • Jamie Lent

    I just did the section from Waterbury to Morisville. The primary route on that section is all beautiful back roads and some crazy fun and technical singletrack. The climb up to Trapp is totally silly on cross bikes, but so much fun.

    Check out the Cross Vermont Trail (highlighted in blue on the Open Cycle Maps in RWGPS) to get you back from Montpelier to Waterbury.

  • Jamie Lent

    Joe, I just went out on a section of this from Waterbury to Morisville. There is a new brewery to add to the list. Idletyme is just down the road from the Alchemist and has a MUCH better atmosphere. There is a whole beer garden in the back next to the rail trail. They had some of the best beer we tried along this section.

  • David Schenck

    sorry if I missed this, but which direction do you recommend, clockwise or counterclockwise? We plan for late October starting in Middlebury…thanks Joe, NICE WORK!!!!

    Dave Schenck

  • Hey Dave—The route is intended as clockwise, but I’ve heard from people who’ve done it the other way and enjoyed it!

    Logan and appreciate the kind words,

  • Hey Jamie—Oh man, yeah, and there are even a few others near the route since we’ve scouted it (not to mention Lawson’s will likely open their tasting room in ’18). Obviously, we’ll have to do it again to create an update! But that’s great beta on Idletyme, thanks for sharing. Alchemist is a bit of a zoo, and their legend and size has in some circles created a backlash, but their beer is so very good.


  • Melvin Glover

    Hey Jamie, thanks for the response! That sounds awesome. I don’t have the time to do the entire route and the northern half has more bars/breweries I’d like to hit than the southern half.

    Thanks for the tip on the Cross Vermont Trail.

  • Todd Brockway

    This sounds amazing. Thanks for all the detailed info. Great job!

  • jamin orrall

    hi! thanks for posting this!! planning on doig this ride in October, my bike has 650bx42 gravel kings (no tread). After seeing that many of the roads are dirt im thinking of switching to a pair of bruce gordon rock n roads that I have. Any advice? also, should the fenders come off?

  • Hi Jamin—yeah, I bet you’d be happier with the rocknroads and without the fenders. Hope you have a great time!


  • jamin orrall


  • Kevin L

    Hi Jamin, when are you riding? I’m catching a train to Burlington the 27th and leaving thefollowing day; catching a train home on the 4th.

  • Ottawa_bike_guy

    If you were to do it again, would you hammock it? Or were the stealth spots flat enough to go back with a tent?

  • Kevin

    Cannot wait to do this. Me and my biking friends are planning this trip now for next year! Thanks for sharing!

  • William Thompson

    Looking to ride this next week for my birthday! Do u recommend riding east out of Burlington for the start towards Waterbury or the other way? Cheers guys. Amazing work you do

  • William, you’re going to have a fantastic time, as you’re going during the perfect season! Yes, we’d recommend doing the route clockwise, initially heading east from Burlington. Cheers and happy birthday!


  • David Schenck

    Hey Joe, just got done with the route last Friday the 29th. Started with my 30 something buddy Frances in Middlebury and went clockwise in 5 days, Mon-Friday. Wow!!! AMAZING. I’m a Finger Lakes guy and 62 y.o. and claim to know a thing or two about steep climbs, but the Green Mtns kicked by ass!!! We parked at Otter Creek and sweated it out the first 3 days in the abnormal 90F heat before it cooled off Wednesday night. I will definitely allow more time next time to hit more breweries, 5 days is enough to sample a few. But I’m glad I had a Trek Superfly(29er) and my buddy had a Trek Stache. I was glad for the suspension on several descents which were quite washed out. Wished I’d had a dropper post too, but not essential. Can’t imagine doing most of the route(except Middlebury to Burlington) on anything but a hardtail with 2.3 tires. At least not in the condition its in now. I’ve done the Divide(toured it in 55 days 4 years ago) and I can say EASILY that the GMGG is the toughest 5 days I’ve ever spent bike packing. BUT I LOVED IT!!! Coming back again to quaff more brewskis too!!! I would have to rate the route at least a 7 on a 1-10 scale. Maybe I’m just getting old!!!

  • Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the update. So glad that you had a good time, and it’s fun to picture you up there. Man, riding in the heat must have been intense, but luckily some decent beer to slake thirsts.

    I appreciate, too, your feedback on the route. For sure a hardtail 29er is a great way to go, though last year our Warbirds were doable, even if a handful. I’ll be sure to talk it over with Logan. Again, thanks for sharing your experience.


  • Jon Schultz

    Thanks for creating this route! My 5 buddies and I just completed it last week, and the weather was phenomenal. Some notes relative to other recent comments:
    -Only came across one down tree on Waitsfield Gap, but had a couple of cow fences to cross. Definitely a hike-a-bike section, and the jeep is still there. It was fun and interesting, but consider Moretown mountain road if you don’t want to push your bikes.
    -We had a mix of touring and rigid mountain bikes with 40-50 mm tires, and everyone was relatively happy with their gear choices. Might have been different had the gravel roads not been perfectly dry.
    -Due to our large group of 6, we didn’t wild camp. Overnight locations included Smugglers Notch state park (Stowe), Highland Lodge (Greensboro), friend’s yard (Waitsfiled), and Rivers Edge Campground (Middlebury). Smuggler’s Notch state park had leanto’s available, and the owner of River’s Edge is very accommodating with a lovely campground. Highland Lodge didn’t impress us, and hit us with a 2 night minimum for our 6 person cabin. Just noticed a farm with camping near Hill Farmstead on hip camp, which might have been a better choice.
    -When approaching Middlebury, use the Trail Across Middlebury (TAM) for singletrack access direct to Drop-in Brewing.
    -We parked our cars in Burlington at Perkins Pier early on Sunday morning, and there was no attendant on duty to collect parking fees. Returned 5 days later and the cars were safe and no tickets.
    -Here’s a map of the singletrack south of Montpelier, but we skipped it due to time limitations that day. A fellow rider said he got lost trying to navigate through there –
    -The singletrack leading into Montpelier from the north is very nice!
    -Get the pub nachos at Blackback pub in Waterbury
    -We carried a gear with a mix of bikepacking gear and traditional panniers, and everything held up well.

  • Hi John. Thanks for the feedback; glad to hear your trip went well! Hip Camp locations are definitely something worth noting on some of our routes…

  • Pat Phillips

    How would this route be the last week in May?

  • Hey Pat—I think that that would be the earliest one would want to ride it, but most years would be fine. It’s amazing how dramatic the transition is from mid-May to first week of June.


  • Pat Phillips

    Thanks Joe. I’ve got a college reunion in Worcester, one of the guys is from Burlington, kinda seems like this trip is meant to be.

  • Fred Harris

    You guys came up with one AMAZING trip. Just got home from some of the most wonderful time on a bike EVER. The word is getting out, this is one fine experience–not to be missed. Unfortunately work caused me to miss the 2 first days, but that just gives me an excuse to do it again.

  • Kevin

    Thanks for this. I was up there camping with a MTB bike and did my own little tour. I plan on doing this full tour in the spring, although I agree with the your assessment of the fall, absolutely stunning up there this time of year. One other new brewery (3 years old) and in Stowe is called IdleTyme and great food and beer. There is a bike path that is directly behind the brewery. Outside bar, corn hole games and just a really great vibe. I am going to incorporate it into my tour next year. Hope this helps!

  • Brian Sullivan

    Hi Joe and Logan –
    I just finished this route with a small group of friends on Sunday, 10/15, and want to give a huge thanks to both of you for putting it together. Absolutely fantastic. Leaf peeping was off the charts!

    We did the loop in 5 days, starting and ending in Burlington, with shorter rides the first and last day to accomodate travel. This is how we cut it:
    Day 1: Burlington to Waterbury; camp at Little River State Park campground
    Day 2: Waterbury to Greensboro; lodge at Highland Lodge
    Day 3: Greensboro to Northfield; wild camp in town forest
    Day 4: Northfield to Bristol: lodge at AirBNB
    Day 5: Bristol to Burlington

    We had a mix of hardtail 29’ers and CX bikes with ~40c tires in the group. The MTBs were definitely better suited for the Class IV stuff, but the CX guys managed. The middle 3 days were action-packed with riding and potential stops, so with the shorter days this time of year it was important for us to manage our time and prioritize the brewery visits we wanted to make. Had to push hard to get to Hill Farmstead before they closed at 5:00 on Day 2, but we made it!

    Can’t wait to drink the beers we brought home and relive the memories.

  • Jesse

    Awesome, we just hit this route pretty much exactly. It’s comical (but sad) that Hill Farmstead was “closed” as you showed in your pictures. We ran into the same problem which was tragic! The good news is that when we got to Frost, they let us buy some beer even though they were closed.

    Thanks for the route guys! the single track through the warm rain during leaf peeping season was seriously excellent.

  • Logan and Joe,
    Great photos and beers!…
    I’am planning a three week bikepacking / packrafting expedition in VT with students for next year and I will like to use this route as the backbone for the trip, (without the beer component)… We will like to incorporate volunteer work on some farms or interesting projects. Circus Mircus, Shelburne Farms, Heartbeat Lifesharing are all cool projects that are close enough to the route and I’am familiar with them from other trips. I will love to hear if you guys have any suggestions?

  • Fabián Morgenstern

    Health for the ‘invention of beer and bicycle…

  • Ian Guignet-Simpson

    looks superb

  • Pat Riley

    My 66 year old father who bikes very little would like to do this with my brothers and I. Is there anyway to shorten the route and possibly make it 3 days or so? Thank you!

  • Jon Schultz

    Sure, lots of options. Roads in VT tend to be bike friendly, so easy to plan alternates. The loop is more ovals than a big circle, so easy to spot short-cuts. Would you want to cut-out the remote sections and maximize towns/breweries? The northeast and southeast portions are the most remote. The western portion is the flattest. There are several tough class 4/singletrack/climbs that can easily be avoided to speed up the route by choosing a parallel road.

  • Chris

    Thank you for the awesome trip report. My buddy and I are planning for this now in August. I didn’t NEED another hobby, but I sure am glad I found one. ha

  • Haha. Nice. Well, for what it’s worth, this is the best hobby… imo. ;)

  • Jason St-Denis

    Is this ride possible at the end of April?

  • Jamie Lent

    That’s going to be very weather dependent . Last year end of March looked like this:
    And end of April looked like this:

    The temps might not be bad but mud season will be there in full force. You might be able to do it, but I wouldn’t plan it months in advance.

  • Echoing what Jamie has said: I think end of May is just about the front end of when you’ll enjoy this ride. Could still be muddy, but the temps should be okay. Probably fun!

  • Jason St-Denis

    Typo, i meant end of May

  • Jason St-Denis

    Thanks Joe, so i should probably go with my mt bike vs my gravel bike with 42mm tires.

  • Yeah, I say so. You could def have fun on your gravel rig, but at that time of the year the mt bike will be better. And you won’t lose anything by being on your mountain bike! Enjoy!