Bolton Access Road - Cycling

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Four miles of steep up and a thrill ride all the way back down. Brutal climb and killer scenery...think you can handle it?

Written by

Suzanne Loring


8.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

17.9 miles


5 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

30-60 Minutes


Spring, Summer, and Fall

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




Bolton Access Road, in Bolton, winds four miles up to the base of Bolton Valley Ski Resort, a 5,000 acre ski area offering downhill, Nordic and some of the best backcountry in the area. The road leading to its base is one of the steepest ascents around and is often used as training grounds for bikers, runners and Nordic skiers. Bikers will find few spots to relax on this brutal uphill battle, but will find glory in the extremely fast descent and fantastic views of Camel’s Hump.

What Makes It Great

One of the most arduous hills around, the Access Road’s four mile stretch is relentless. Starting from the car the road starts its climb and not gradually. It’s not until mile two that riders will get a bit of a break and find themselves on what seems to be in comparison to the first mile, flatter, rolling grounds, although in reality it continues to be a steady incline. Once you hit the sugar shack halfway up at mile three, it gets serious. There is a sign on the side of the road warning drivers of a steep climb ahead. The last two miles will test your strength and your will.

Then there’s the descent. It’s extremely fast and just as steep down as it was up. The road is relatively smooth barring any sand/gravel that may be left over from the winter or blown from the soft shoulder, and allows advanced riders high speed opportunities. There are two sharp turns, one at the top and one at the bottom, which make the downhill a bit more technical. The winding hills and fantastic views make for a very fun ride.

While the climb is tough on the legs, the scenery is easy on the eyes. The Access Road is a winding, paved road lined with forest on both sides. It meanders alongside Joiner Brook for a ways and flaunts waterfalls, and oftentimes wildlife (it is not unusual to spot a moose or deer) along its sides. The views of Camel’s Hump on the descent are amazing and there are a couple of different spots where stopping for photos is a must. During fall foliage, the whole ride is picture-worthy.

Two miles up the Access Road there is a parking area at the sugar shack and riders can give a go at a two mile hill workout if they are looking for something shorter, but still very challenging.

As an added bonus, the infamous Bolton Potholes live at the base of the Access Road and are easily accessible for a refreshing post-ride dip.

Who is Going to Love It

Advanced riders looking for a hardcore hill workout. This is one of the toughest rides in the area. But, the views from the top and during the descent are amazing especially when the leaves are changing colors.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There is a pullout overlooking Joiner Brook at the bottom of the Access Road on your right. If this lot is full, which it oftentimes is during the summer, you can park at Smilie School on Route 2 right across the brook. Parking is free and always open.

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Bolton Access Road

Bolton Access Road
Bolton, VT, 05477
44.373265, -72.87871

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