The Slate Valley contains a mixture of gravel roads, paved roads, rough 4th class roads and the D&H Rail Trail to offer some very good cycling in Vermont and eastern New York. It has quiet roads, charming villages, friendly people, valley roads and trails, mountain roads with good climbs, little traffic and scenic views. Here are 16 routes that center on the village of Poultney, Vermont in the middle of the Slate Valley.
Each of the rides has a map and a complete cue sheet. The routes comprise a series of different length loops on roads that explore the different areas and terrain of the Slate Valley. Fifteen of the routes are loops that begin and end in Poultney. One route is a one-way connector from the D&H Trail in Poultney to the D&H Trail in West Pawlet, Vermont that uses public roads and a portion of the D&H Trail in New York to connect the “missing” section of the D&H Trail.
All rides begin at the D&H Trail kiosk at the intersection of Church and Knapp streets in Poultney. To reach the kiosk from Main Street, turn north on Depot Street from Main Street and then east (right) on Church Street until you come to the D&H Trail. If you are travelling to Poultney south on Route 30, turn right (west) onto Church Street and travel until you reach the D&H Trail. There are several places you can park.
Route Terrain Ratings
Each route is rated based on the average for this area, which is somewhat flatter than other places in Vermont and generally hillier than other areas in the northeast. The routes with easier terrain generally stay in the valley and go north and south from Poultney. The routes become progressively hillier as you go east into the Taconics. As one person wrote on SVT’s Facebook page, “bring your climbing legs.”
Technical Hardness Ratings
All the routes use public roads or a rail-trail. Nine of the 16 routes use gravel roads, paved roads and a rail trail that are generally smoothly surfaced and offer no technical difficulties. Seven routes use sections of unmaintained 4th class roads that do present some technical difficulty and require the ability to ride bikes on rough terrain.
QUARRY HILL - 19.9 miles, Hilly
Pond Hill Road
Bicycling and foot trails in the Slate Valley region of southwestern Vermont
NORTH POULTNEY LOOP - 8.2 miles, Moderately Hilly
MIDDLETOWN GRINDER - 22.1 miles, Very Hilly
GORHAMTOWN LOOP - 13.4 miles, Moderately Hilly
CLIMBER'S DELIGHT - 39.6 miles, Very Hilly
POINTS SOUTH - 30.7 miles, Hilly
STONE VALLEY 50 - 50.6 miles, Very Hilly
SAWMILL CLIMBER - 22.8 miles, Very Hilly
Slate Valley's Gravel Ride Network (GRN)
CASTLETON JAUNT - 15.5 miles, Flat
(no motor vehicles; great for beginners and kids!)
HILLS OF HAMPTON - 24.5 miles, Hilly
AROUND THE MOUNTAINS - 33.7 miles, Very Hilly
BIRDSEYE VIEWS - 22.4 miles, Very Hilly
THE MISSING LINK - 14.0 miles one way, Moderately Hilly
SLATE ALLEY - 14.2 miles, Moderately Hilly
HILLS AND HOLLOWS - 14.4 miles, Moderately Hilly
POND HILL VIEWS - 20 miles/1136 ft. total climb via East Poultney and Gorhamtown