I was up in northern Vermont this past weekend, attending a training course at such a great venue- the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. They have world class ski trails in the winter, but in the summer you can mountain bike the snowshoe trails (which, as it turns out, are pretty great single track!).
The trail fee is only $5, and you can grab a map at the bike shop. Some of the maps out on the trail network are of the summer trails, but most of them show the ski trails, so I recommend getting the map! They’ve marked off a couple of loops with colored arrows, which I loved having never ridden these trails. They’ve got two 5ks, a 3 k, and a 13k for all the trails marked out, and it was so great not needing to always stop and consult my map. I did venture off the arrowed paths a couple times when I spotted a particularly great looking trail, but it was pretty easy to find my way back again.
There aren’t nearly the number of trails that Craftsbury’s neighbor to the south (Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT) boasts, but then again, I only spotted 3 bikers when I was out while Kingdom Trails can start to feel a little crowded especially during the height of summer. Craftsbury also boasts some other great benefits as well.
I stayed in Cedar Lodge, which has dormitory style rooms with shared bathrooms and it was very comfortable. They also have some cottages to rent. The best part was definitely the food though.
They do farm to table food and offer three meals a day of absolutely delicious cuisine, and unlike a lot of local food focused restaurants, they offered meat as well as vegetarian options! Highlights for me were bacon wrapped meatloaf, a wood fired pizza (yes, they have their own on site!) and an amazing peach blackberry crumble. A number of great athletes live and train at Craftsbury and I could see that the food would be great fuel for performance!
I also love their focus on being environmentally friendly- note the field of solar panels next to their outdoor gym. They also have composting toilets in their newer training center. It’s pretty inspiring to see a world class facility move in this direction! I hope other venues take note of what Craftsbury is doing.
I’m hoping to go back up north this winter and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in the winter when (hopefully) the trails are full of snow.
A couple things to note:
- You have to drive on dirt roads to get there. I drove ~10 miles of dirt the way I went.
- No cell service. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center has wifi (except in the dining hall) but that could be a bit iffy for me at high traffic times.
- The road signs aren’t very helpful on the way out. I had written directions (important since there’s no cell service and I don’t have a GPS), but they weren’t super helpful since some of the roads aren’t clearly marked. Thankfully I managed to make it out (on my 2nd attempt) but be prepared- have a GPS or map!