Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Montpelier-Wells River Rail Trail in Groton State Forest

Miss Clementine doubles as an easy riding trail bike.
In late October my husband and I celebrated his birthday by taking Friday off work and heading east to explore a section of the Cross Vermont Trail in Groton State Forest. 

My husband and his Bridgestone MB-3.
Groton State Forest is a unique area that encompasses several state parks, hiking trails, and beautiful ponds that have campsites, some of which must be accessed by boat. The Montpelier-Wells rail line used to bisect the region but was converted to a beautiful rail trail, a part of the overall Cross Vermont network.

I'd ridden the main paved Route 232 through the forest many years ago on my first bike overnight, but the late hour at the time had prevented me from exploring the rail line so this sunny autumn day was a welcome opportunity to be with my husband, doing something we both loved.

Pedaling beside Ricker Pond.
We parked mid-way at Kettle Pond then rolled southward. At higher elevation than where we live in Burlington, most of the leaves had fallen, covering an often rutted and rocky trail. But in spots the surface was smooth, especially beside the ponds. I enjoyed Clementine's long wheel base that soaked up most of the rough terrain. I'm not completely sold on the current Terry saddle - it's certainly better than the stock Rivendell one - so an optimal seat is still a work in progress.

My husband performs roadside emergency bike repair on a gravel island.
We had the trail to ourselves! Turning around at the town of Groton, we pedaled back to Kettle Pond and headed the other direction toward Marshfield Pond. A few miles before our turnaround point, we gingerly rode through a flooded area when my husband's bike picked up a stick that had wedged and bent his front fender. While he dealt with the adjustments I wandered around and discovered a culvert had drained an uphill pond beneath the road, but beavers had created a dam above the culvert, creating a personal swimming pool.

Soon we were riding again, enjoying more lake views filled with boulders, rounded mountains with golden foliage on one side with cliffs on the other, then retraced our route at the point where the trail begins to drop a lot of elevation into Marshfield.

I was tired when we returned to the car, but glad that we'd made the journey to enjoy a quiet 22 mile bike ride in a lovely forest.


  1. Looks like a really lovely place to ride. Nice to see Miss Clementine out and about!

  2. Thumbs up for your husbands Bridgestone MB. Wife and I each have early 90's MB-4's. Hers is set up for groceries and errands, mine is full on mt bike. We love them!


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