Perry Hill - Trail Running

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About

Summary

Prepare to climb. A favorite running spot for locals full of uphill challenges and fast, fun descents. The first hill is a challenge even by Vermont standards.

Written by

Suzanne Loring

Distance

7.8 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

25.4 miles

Difficulty

4 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours

2-3 hours

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Fall

May though October

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

Located just minutes off the highway in Waterbury, Perry Hill is one of the most popular places in the area for locals to run. Its eight trails offer 7.8 miles of steep and technical singletrack, offering only one intermediate option. The Waterbury Area Trail Alliance (WATA), a nonprofit organization that maintains of the trail, are working hard to build additional trails when they are able, to make it more welcoming for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. Perry Hill is a multipurpose trail network open to runners, mountain bikers and hikers from May through October. Although if the trails are wet, people are asked to stay off of them.

What Makes It Great

Perry Hill is infamous for the stout climb necessary to get to the trailheads, but once runners conquer the steep quarter-mile ascent they hit Permission and up they go again. Permission is the central trail that leads to a variety of options on which to play around. The most well-known trails include the super technical, rocky, slab-covered Joe’s, which requires quite a bit of scrambling to run up; the super fast and flowy terrain on Burning Spear, or the twisting and turning, Rastaman. Campfire is the only intermediate trail at Perry Hill and is a fun loopy route through the pines. The trails are all marked with unique fun signs that keep runners motivated to see what the next one looks like.

The trails here are very steep with an average grade of 7.8% and a max grade of 14.3% found on the quarter-mile entrance trail that leads you to the rest of the trailheads. Embrace it, it’s the only way in to the other trails. Needless to say with the entrance and climb up Permission, runners will have an amazing workout by the time they reach the top. And the trails down, while still technical, are faster and rollier making it a really fun run.

The topography here lends itself to amazing natural running on packed dirt singletrack full of rocks and roots. The trails are originals and have been around since mountain bikers started cutting them 10-15 years ago. Because of this they end up being much more technical and advanced with all the rocks, drops, roots and rollers created by nature. While it makes for a good ride, it makes for a really fun run too. Just watch your foot placements and pay attention for all the riders in the area, they are fast.

Being located in Waterbury, home of the Alchemist’s famous Heady Topper IPA, there are a handful of good restaurants and spots to stop and get craft beer in town post-ride. Always crowded each of the restaurants and pubs have their own personality and offer everything from local-beef burgers and pizza to famous craft beers and wine.

Who is Going to Love It

Runners looking for a hardcore hill workout. From the first step onto the trails the ascent is the challenge. Even as runners get further in the trails are rugged and technical and even require a bit of scrambling in a few areas. The workout is one of a kind, so runners best be in shape to run here.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Take a left immediately before the bridge onto River Rd.  Drive a 1/4 mile down the road and there is a parking lot on the right directly across from the trailhead. There is also a row of parking across the road.

Location

Perry Hill

River Road
Waterbury, VT, 05676
44.32648, -72.741467

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