By Erica Houskeeper
The Green Mountain State is home to 8,000 miles of dirt roads. To put that in perspective, 8,000 miles is twice the length of the continental United States and roughly the entire diameter of the planet. That’s a lot of ground to cover, right? To help you figure out some worthwhile dirt roads to travel this fall, I’ve compiled a list of my personal favorites.
Beaver Meadow Road in Sharon and Norwich
Travel from Sharon to Norwich on this quiet, tree-lined road. You don’t get mountain views here, but instead you’ll find a beautiful canopy of trees and scenic McIntosh Pond before winding your way down to Norwich, a perfect little New England town.
Region: Upper Valley/Orange County
Getting there: Take Exit 2 off Interstate 89 and travel east on Route 132. Beaver Meadow Road is on the right.
Bryce Road in Cambridge
Soak up one of the most dramatic views of Mount Mansfield on Bryce Road in Cambridge. While this dirt road is short, the views are long and wide. Along the road are cow pastures, dilapidated barns, and a farm that has seen better days. Don’t let that deter you from visiting this road and taking in an amazing view.
Region: Smugglers’ Notch/Lamoille County
Getting there: From Route 15 in Jericho, take River Road to Pleasant Valley Road to Lower Pleasant Valley Road toward Cambridge. From the Underhill Country Store, travel 10.4 miles on Pleasant Valley Road to Lower Pleasant Valley Road toward Cambridge. Turn right onto Williamson Road, which turns into Bryce Road.
Want to get off the beaten path? The Moosalamoo National Recreation Area is a 16,000-acre protected wilderness paradise worth exploring. The Goshen-Ripton Road brings you to the heart of this stunning region, which offers extensive hiking trails, secluded lakes and mountain views.
Region: Moosalamoo National Recreation Area/Addison County
Getting there: From Route 7, take Route 125 east 5.2 miles to Goshen-Ripton Road, which will be on your right.
Bragg Hill Road in Fayston
Located off Route 100, Bragg Hill Road offers incredible views of Sugarbush Resort’s Mount Ellen. It’s also home to Bragg Farm, an iconic barn set on 48-acres that was conserved by the Vermont Land Trust and is now owned by Ploughgate Creamery. When visiting Bragg Hill Road, park your car near the farm and go for a stroll.
Region: Mad River Valley/Washington County
Getting there: From Interstate 89, take Exit 10 to Route 100 south to Waitsfield. Bragg Hill Road is on your right, just before the Route 17 intersection.
Stratton-Arlington Road in West Wardsboro
The Stratton-Arlington/Kelley Stand Road, which reopened in 2014 after suffering extensive damage from Tropical Storm Irene, offers access to Stratton Pond along The Long Trail, as well as trails around Grout Pond and Somerset Reservoir. The road originally served numerous logging camps and early settlements during the 19th century. It’s now one of the best dirt road drives in southern Vermont.
Region: Southern Vermont/Windham and Bennington Counties
Getting there: Take Route 100 to West Wardsboro and head west on Stratton-Arlington Road, which eventually becomes Kelley Stand Road and leads to East Arlington. The road is closed in winter.
Darling Hill Road in Lyndonville
It’s hard to write about dirt roads and not mention Darling Hill Road. This scenic route between Lyndonville and East Burke is one of the prettiest roads I’ve ever seen. Here you’ll enjoy views of Burke Mountain, Mount Pisgah, Mount Hor, Lake Willoughby, and Kirby Mountain. Darling Hill Road is arguably the most beautiful dirt road in all of Vermont.
Region: Northeast Kingdom/Caledonia County
Getting there: Take Route 114 north from Lyndonville for about a half-mile and turn left onto Darling Hill Road. The farther north you go on Darling Hill Road, the better the views.
North Street in Montpelier
North Street in Vermont’s capital city is on my must-list every fall. The road rises dramatically out of a residential area and turns to dirt once you’re high up overlooking the city. Once the road crests, the views of the Worcester Mountain Range and Green Mountains are incredible. Easily some of the best scenic views in Vermont.
Region: Central Vermont/Washington County
Getting there: From Main Street in Montpelier, take a right in the rotary and a left on North Street. On the paved section of road, North Street is very steep in places. Drive up and park near Sparrow Farm Road before you get out and explore.
What is your favorite dirt road in Vermont?
This post written by Erica Houskeeper and originally appearing on her blog Happy Vermont.