Ah, Millstone. Located in Barre, VT, Millstone is built in and around some of the granite quarries located in this part of the state. In fact, part of the land is located on the Rock of Ages quarries. Millstone is a large network of trails encompassing three regions. This post is going to focus on the Gnome Man’s Land, a technical playground of black level trails.
Millstone is a pay to access area, and a 10$ pass can be bought at the local general store a 1 minute drive from the parking lot. There are also maps available here. The price is quite worth the trail access!
Getting to the Gnome Man’s Land section from the parking lot requires a few minutes of climbing, but take a second to stop and look at the reliefs carved into the stone piles near the entrance of the access road. There’s a ton of cool carvings and a pretty cool looking statue and pillars reminiscent of Greek antiquity. Also, many of the rock piles trap cool air in and have a sort of natural air conditioning around them! Make sure to take a second to look around, there’s plenty to see here. Be aware that swimming and cliff diving is strictly prohibited.
Once you get to Screamin’ Demon, the real fun starts. Here, you will start to find the trail’s signature rock and bridge work appear. The trails are difficult, and require an advanced level of biking skill to successfully navigate. You will find frequent challenges throughout all trails in this area. The bridge work is exceptional and unique, and takes full advantage of the natural granite rock.
The granite in Millstone has phenomenal grip, so much so that when dry you could liken it some of the rock riding out west. This makes the frequent steep rock sections reliable and fun.
The second half of Screamin’ Demon offers a fun downhillish section of trail, with a fun descent with small drops and jumps interspersed. They are well built and flowy. You can also do Angry Gnome, a fun but very technically difficult section with some really fun bridges, although unfortunately it has been closed for most of 2018 secondary to bridges needing repair.
From here, we like to hit Rocky Ridge to climb up to Harrington Heights and Harrington Ridge, two great descents that encompass some amazing trail routing down large slightly exposed shelfs of granite. Again, you will find frequent challenges on the way there, and on the descents themselves.
Descending down Harrington Heights. Make sure you don’t miss Vortex. It’s one of the coolest uses of natural rock I’ve ever seen, winding up and down exposed granite in a techy playground of fun.
If you’re planning on venturing out to Gnome Man’s Land to explore, I’d plan on riding for 3-4 hours and covering about 10 miles. If you get tired on the way back, you can jump out to Websterville Road via Websterville Gateway trail, which is about a 5 minute pedal on road back to town.
We find ourselves retuning to ride the tech of Gnome Man’s Land several times a year, and its always worth the drive. If you’re looking for some of the most fun tech in all of Vermont, you need to check Millstone out. We should note, while we personally haven’t explored it as much, there is a lot of green and blue trail located in the Barre Town Forest and Canyonland. You can find out more on the Millstone Trail Association Website located here.