You can ride anywhere from five to about thirty miles on backroads along the scenic ridge known as Rochester North Hollow. After climbing from quaint Rochester, head north for a longer ride or south for a shorter one. Return to Rochester by descending to paved VT 100, or by doubling back. Be ready to do some climbing on smooth dirt roads. Once you're on the ridge, you can crank along at a fast pace, or take in the scenery--silver-sided barns and farms, fields with grazing animals, and colorful foliage and edible berries in the fall.
Along the way, you might visit several sites. Two miles north of Rochester, turn west on Quarry Road to reach a working marble quarry. In Granville (ten miles north of Rochester) there's scenic Granville Reservation, which contains Moss Glen Falls. A three-mile side trip off VT 100, on VT 125 East, will bring you to Texas Falls. Or cool off at a swimming hole near the bridge just north of Rochester on VT 100.
Rochester, north of the intersection of VT 100 and VT 73.
Rochester is located at 900'. The ride begins with a moderately steep climb of 500'. From there, it rolls over small hills, with an optional steep climb to the top of Mt. Cushman, adding on 1000'.
All services are located in Rochester, including a bike shop, an American Youth Hostel (AYH) lodge (for all ages), a bed-and-breakfast inn, an inn managed by mountain bikers, and inexpensive restaurants.
A Green Mountain National Forest office on VT 100 in Rochester sells USGS maps. Green Mountain Bicycle Service in Rochester displays a wall of topographical maps.
Finding the trail:
Begin riding in Rochester on VT 100 at the town common.
Sources of additional information:
Green Mountain National Forest Office, Rochester Ranger District, VT 100, RD 1, Box 108, Rochester, VT 05767, (802) 767-4777. Green Mountain Bicycle Service, P.O. Box 253, Rochester VT 05767, (802) 767-4464. Located in the center of quaint Rochester, on VT 100, this small business rents, repairs, and sells mountain bikes. It also specializes in guiding individuals and groups on leisurely and more challenging excursions. Drop in for a chat. The Huntington House Inn on the Green in Rochester, (802) 767-4868, is owned by a mountain biker.
Notes on the trail:
You can climb fairly steeply to North Hollow Road on Bethel Mountain Road and Brook St., beginning at the Green in Rochester. A less steep climb begins on a dirt road 1.5 miles north of Rochester on VT 100. Turn right just after a large house and barn and before a bridge. After a half mile, fork to the right, then right again at the next fork (although either road leads to North Hollow Road). When you reach North Hollow Road, go in either direction (north or south), depending on how far you want to ride. Whatever loop you choose, a mountain range to the east and VT 100 to the west will keep you from straying too far. For a day-long excursion, ride north to Granville. Otherwise simply turn west at a crossroad and descend to VT 100. For the more adventurous, there's an optional out-and-back ride up a mountain. Just east of Rochester, turn off North Hollow Road at an abandoned house onto a road that leads eastward to Mt. Cushman. Ask at the local bike shop about this and other rides in the area.
This ride has been is adapted from Mountain Biking Northern New England (formerly The Mountain Biker's Guide to Northern New England), by Paul Angiolillo. It's a compilation of sixty rides in VT, NH, and ME. A companion volume, Mountain Biking Southern New England, covers MA, CT, and RI. Both are available in outdoor stores and bike shops or from Menasha Ridge Press, 1-800-247-9437. Paul Angiolillo can be reached at 781-893-1341 (Waltham, MA) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.