Cross Vermont Bike Trail
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:2967 Scott Highway (US 302), Groton VT
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: Free

Cross Vermont Trail Association, 802-498-0079,

Bathrooms: At the trailhead, Ricker Pond State Park, and Stillwater Campgrounds along the way
Water/Snacks: At the Upper Valley Grill

USGS Groton, Knox Mountain, and Marshfield quads;

This 12.74-mile section of the 90-mile Cross Vermont Trail passes delightful campgrounds and several lakes on its route through peaceful woods.

Imagine biking on a smooth, old railroad bed through the peaceful farmland and forests of Vermont, swimming in lakes, eating tasty treats, and camping along the way. This is all possible on the Cross Vermont Trail. This multiuse, 90-mile trail crosses the state from Burlington to Wells River following the peaceful grades of the Winooski and Wells river valleys. Much of the trail is situated on old railroad beds with an average grade of under 2 percent, which makes it an excellent path for biking, large-wheeled jogging strollers, and wheelchairs alike. This trip covers one particularly scenic 12.75-mile section of the trail from Groton to Marshfield, but you can bike and camp all the way to Burlington for an epic family adventure! For more information about planning an extended trip, consult the Cross Vermont Trail Association’s website.

This route is divided into smaller, bite-sized chunks that you can pick and choose from depending on the abilities of your group. The distances given for each section are one-way. Older kids ages 10 to 12 may want to tackle this 25.5-mile round-trip, which will be a long but rewarding day. Plan to cover fewer sections with younger bikers. We recommend riding hybrid or mountain bikes—the trail is generally smooth, but still a little rough for a road bike with skinny tires.

US 302 to Rickers Mill Trailhead (1.7 miles)
From the Upper Valley Grill parking area, follow the wide shoulder of US 302 for 0.2 mile to Wilson Road on your right. Cross it carefully, then head west  on Wilson Road to the railroad bed trail on your right. Follow the railroad bed through ferny hardwood forests to the Rickers Mill trailhead.

Rickers Mill to Kettle Pond (4.5 miles)
This is a beautiful section of trail is highlighted by views of and swimming opportunities at Lake Groton and Kettle Pond—and it may be the best section for young children. At 4.5 miles (just before the bridge over Stillwater Brook), a small spur path leads 400 feet to Kettle Pond, which has great swimming, picnic, and backcountry camping options.

Kettle Pond to Marshfield Village (6.6 miles)
This serene section passes several beautiful ponds and crosses into the Winooski River Watershed. The town of Marshfield makes a good lunch spot before your return trip.

Plan B:

You’ll find the Cabot Creamery in nearby Cabot. Factory tours provide a great mix of getting to see the workings of the massive cheese-making operation with a chance to taste unlimited quantities of Cabot’s local cheese.

Easy hikes at Devils Hill (Trip 64) and Big Deer Mountain (Trip 65), and nearby camping make for a great multiday trip.

Where to Eat Nearby:

The Upper Valley Grill at the southern trailhead has a quaint, old-fashioned diner, ice cream stand, and convenience store and deli. Both Marshfield and Groton have many eating options including simple deli sandwiches, pizza, and high-end bistros.


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