This 65-mile route travels through the six small Vermont towns of Richmond, Jericho, Underhill, Jeffersonville, Stowe and Waterbury. The ride’s main highlight is the seven-mile, 1,600 foot climb to the top of Smugglers Notch. The route’s remaining miles are filled with stout rolling hills, miles upon miles of farmland, stunning mountain views and another tricky climb up Pleasant Valley. This ride is easiest if ridden clockwise. All of the roads are paved and in pretty decent condition. Smugglers Notch can get very crowded with people and cars during the summer so go early in the day or during the week. Please note that Route 108 is closed during the wintertime, so be sure that it is open if contemplating this as an early springtime ride.
What Makes It Great
The Notch Road is beautiful and challenging. The climb is stout, but the views on the way up are stunning with waterfalls off the road cuts, the rising cliffs of the approaching Notch and mountain views. Once at the top the road narrows and is very twisty and turny meandering in and around many large boulders. The road does finally open up and straighten out so riders can enjoy a fast descent down.Viewing of the fall foliage is epic here.
The remaining miles on the route also provide a good workout and views. The route winds along backcountry Vermont roads with endless farmland and mountain views. It offers big rolling hills, including the ascent on Pleasant Valley, and fast, fun descents that will give your legs a bit of a break (if only for a minute). It will also bring you by some cool Vermont sites like the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Richmond’s historic Round Church and both Smugglers Notch and Stowe ski resorts.
Turn right out of the Richmond Park and Ride and take a right at the lights on Route 117. At just under three miles take a right onto Barber Farm Road, follow to end, and turn left at the stop sign onto Brown’s Trace. Follow Brown’s Trace to the end and take a right on Route 15 for about a half a mile and then bear right on River Road in Underhill. Follow River for just under three miles and continue straight at a stop sign onto Pleasant Valley for 6.5 miles and then bear right onto Upper Pleasant Valley. Follow this to the end and take a right onto Church Street in Jeffersonville and follow onto Route 108.
Stay on Route 108 for just over 15 miles riding up and through Smugglers Notch. Once through the notch take a hard right onto Luce Hill Road to avoid downtown Stowe. Take a left onto Barrows and another left onto Moscow. Follow Moscow to the end and turn right onto Route 100. Follow 100 for about 7.5 miles through Waterbury down to Route 2. Take a Right onto 2 and follow for 9.6 miles and take a left onto Cochran in Jonesville. Follow Cochran to the end and take a right onto Bridge Street at the Round Church in Richmond. At the lights take a left onto Route 2 and head back to the car.
Who is Going to Love It
Cyclists looking for a challenge coupled with stunning views. The main Smuggs climb is an obvious workout, but don’t forget about the other 58 miles because there are some pretty decent ascents in there too. It’s mostly downhill once you reach the top of the Notch. There are a variety of spots to stop, catch your breath and take in the beautiful surroundings (and then there’s Ben and Jerry’s too!)
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Park at the Richmond Park and Ride. It’s free and open all hours.