Distance: 47 miles
Elevation gain: 4,548 ft (GPS devices vary)
Road Surface: 82% gravel; 18% asphalt
The Plainfield Park & Ride makes a perfect start and end point for this ride. (The rail trail that leaves from here is also a great out & back option for family members who might not be up for the full gravel adventure you’re about to embark on)
The toughest climb of your day comes almost immediately as you head up East Hill Road. This is a daunting, 4 mile climb that will pitch you at double-digit gradients most of the way, along with two false summits. You’re bound to burn some matches, but not to worry, this is the biggest challenge you’ll face on the ride.
A short stint on Reservoir Road will take you to Smith, a delightful gravel patch that takes you through what is strangely identified as the Barre City Forest (you will feel miles away from any city). Bennett Mill Road and George Street will take you to State Route 302, which you’ll effectively cross over to plunge down Richardson Road, across Emery, Cyr and Creamery toward Route 110. A tiny bit of asphalt and you’re on to the leg snapper of Lowery Road.
After conquering Lowery, cruise down to LittleJohn Road, enjoying some spectacular farm and mountain views along the way, then loop around Millstone Hill into East Barre and head out alongside Cobble Hill on a bit of asphalt before heading up Phelps Road.
A few traverses take you over to Country Club Road, a largely downhill trending gravel run that does, in fact, feature a golf course to one side.
After crossing State Route 2, you’ll head along Coburn Road, first passing the hidden Coburn Pond (a lovely spot for a dip if you’re so inclined) and then the Coburn Covered Bridge, a quintessentially Vermont attraction. At the end of Coburn Road you’ll cross Route 14 and head into East Montpelier, beginning a muted but steady climb toward the village of Adamant.
Sodom Pond Road is the route that’ll take you there, and don’t worry about the Class IV warning sign at its onset; it’s a pretty well-maintained road as those go.
Enjoy the magical scenery of Adamant and its series of waterfalls and ponds before heading up and around Martin and County Roads to the aptly named Bliss Pond, and then your work is largely done. It’s a lovely downhill-trending cruise back to Route 14, then just a short few miles on a quiet stretch of asphalt to return you to Plainfield.