The Green Mountain State offers far more than just mountains. Some of America’s most striking scenic drives are in Vermont, from the shores of Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River along the state’s eastern border. We’ve compiled the 10 most beautiful, motorcycle-friendly routes in the state. Some constitute a full half-day adventure, while others are a bit shorter, but each one offers stunning sights and fantastic waypoints along the road.
1. The Green Mountain Byway
Length: 200 miles
Time to Ride: Allow at least 4 hours, or plan an overnight along the way
One of the most popular and well-known routes in the state, the Green Mountain Byway runs through the center of Vermont from north to south. Along the way, some of Vermont’s most famous villages and attractions make great places to stop and explore. The villages of Stowe and Waterbury are popular stops. Accommodate your sweet tooth at the Ben & Jerry’s factory, or grab cider and donuts at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center. The Green Mountain Byway traverses rolling hills and plains with a dramatic mountain backdrop at every turn.
2. Lake Champlain Byway
Length: 81 miles
Time to Ride: 3 hours–or take a few days to explore your way along!
Locals refer to Lake Champlain as Vermont’s West Coast–for good reason! During the summer, lake islands and beaches come to life with families, vacationers, and outdoor adventurers. The Lake Champlain Byway spans 81 miles along the lake’s central islands and coast. Throughout the ride, you’ll enjoy sparkling views of Lake Champlain, a fresh pine-scented breeze from the water, and views of Vermont’s Green Mountains and New York’s Adirondacks. You’ll pass farms, forests, and small towns filled with personality-filled restaurants, shops, and history.
3. Molly Stark Byway
Length: 48 miles
Time to Ride: 2 hours
Southwestern Vermont’s Molly Stark Byway, also known as VT Rt. 9, has been a popular “pleasure drive” for as long as Americans have been taking to the roads just to enjoy the sights. The Molly Stark Byway winds through charming, quintessentially-Vermont villages, offers spellbinding views of the Green Mountains (especially in the autumn months!), and passes many historical monuments and points of interest–like Woodford, the highest village in Vermont, at 2,215 feet. The winding, well-maintained roads are bike-friendly–and never boring. From Bennington to Burlington, you’ll find plenty of places to stop for a great meal, to take a hike, or just to pull off and enjoy the scenery.
4. Mad River Byway
Length: 36 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours
The Mad River Byway is one of the state’s shortest scenic routes, but it’s packed with some of the most breathtaking scenery and experiences you won’t want to miss. The Mad River Valley is one of Vermont’s top ski destinations, and the Byway runs just below many popular ski resorts. The Mad River Path offers a well-planned, picturesque walk in and around Waitsfield, which is also home to incredible local restaurants, arts, and culture. Along the Byway, you’ll travel through Middlesex Village, Moretown, the Granville Gulf Reservation, and experience the top of the Appalachian Gap via Buels Gore.
5. Route 30–Middlebury to Poultney
Length: 39 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours or more
If you want to avoid the crowds, driving Route 30 might be your best bet. It’s one of the most underrated scenic drives in Vermont. Though it might be tempting to spend much of your time exploring Middlebury, don’t overlook the tiny, charming villages of Sudbury, Cornwall, and Whiting, too. Route 30 winds through open fields and forests and flanks Lake Bomoseen, Vermont’s largest lake, in the south. You’ll find plenty of places to stop and soak up the atmosphere along the way, and the smooth, easy road is always a pleasure to ride.
6. Dirt Road Highway
Length: 64 miles
Time to Ride: 3-4 hours
If you’ve got a dual-sport, it doesn’t take long to get sick of pavement. The Dirt Road Highway covers 64 miles between Pittsford and Huntington, Vermont, with as little pavement as possible along the way. According to Motorcycle-Vermont.com, you can expect mostly Class 3 dirt roads with a bit of mild Class 4, making it perfect for bikers with larger adventure touring bikes who want to mix things up while keeping the ride relaxing. You’ll travel through the Moosalamoo National Recreation area, part of the Vermont National Forest, skirt old-fashioned general stores and campgrounds, and enjoy views of bubbling brooks, open fields, and dense forest along the way.
7. The Killington Twist
Length: 117 miles
Time to Drive: About 3 hours
If you like twisting roads featuring switchbacks, high altitudes, and plenty of scenic overlooks, the Killington Twist is for you. The Twist diverges from some of the most-traveled tourist paths, so you’ll enjoy more open roads with less traffic. And a reconstruction in 2010 means you can enjoy a beautifully smooth ride every curve along the way. You’ll pass by the Old Stone Church, the Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area, multiple ski resorts, and picturesque Vermont villages.
8. Mount Equinox Skyline Drive
Length: 5.2 miles
Time to Ride: As long as you want, depending on how much time you spend at the top
Tolls: $12 for a bike and operator
Though the toll for this one seems steep, it’s worth the views. Skyline Drive is a privately-owned and maintained paved road curving up Equinox mountain in Sunderland, Vermont. The steep ride contains a few twisty switchbacks, but nothing too crazy; just expansive views of the Adirondacks, Green mountains, and lakes down below. You’ll find plenty of shaded picnic areas and pull-offs along the way, along with a network of short hiking trails near the summit for those who want to explore a bit more. The Drive is open seasonally from May-October during daylight hours.
9. Bristol-Appalachian Gap-Middlebury Gap Ride
Distance: 67 miles
Time to Ride: About 3 hours
Another favorite among sports bikers, the Bristol-App Gap-Middlebury Gap Ride covers just over 67 miles for a two-hour loop that covers four mountain passes. For sports bikers, the most exciting portion of the ride is the Appalachian Gap, which covers 3 miles with 53 turns. The twisty mountain pass roads require some attention, but pull-offs and scenic vistas along the route allow you to stop and soak up the scenery. Stop in Bristol for gas and great local food before you set out!
10. Connecticut River Byway
Length: 410 miles
Time to Ride: At least a full day; probably more if you take your time
Bordering New Hampshire on Vermont’s eastern edge, the Connecticut River Byway travels by lakes, dense spruce forests, and historic villages as it hugs the Connecticut River on its way south toward the Massachusetts border. The well-maintained roads make for an easy, relaxing ride, and Waypoint Communities along the way welcome riders with plenty of places to park for free, fuel up, and enjoy the journey.