Words by Vince Hempsall. Photos by Ryan Thibault.
A little while ago we were contacted by trail builder Matt Baatz who had heard about our guide book project and offered to take us on a tour of what he called the “Green Mountain Trails” in Pittsfield. We asked around and none of our friends had ever been there before so, despite fears we’d have to slog through double track “trails” in some flooded field somewhere, we told Matt we’d meet him for a ride.
And are we ever glad we did.
Pittsfield is like the Field of Dreams for mountain bikers: amazing trails in the middle of nowhere that’ve been built and you will come. (We half expected to run into Kevin Costner but then we realized he was on tour with his band Modern West…who sing modern western music…douchebags.)
Pittsfield’s Green Mountain Trails are the best kept secret in Vermont – they boast some of the most amazing singletrack the state has to offer and there’s no fee to ride. (Although there is a donation box at the trail entrance beside the stash of trail maps.) The majority of the land here is owned by Wall Street investor Joe DeSena who is a hardcore endurance athlete in his downtime. He bought the organic farm where the trailhead is located as well as the Amee Farm Lodge across the street that is now one of the fanciest looking B&Bs in the state. And then he set about funding trail maintenance and launching events here like The Spartan Death Race. (Check it out at www.youmaydie.com – seriously.)
According to Matt there are about 20 miles of mountain biking trails in Pittsfield and you probably won’t die on any of them. You will have a lot of fun though. The 1000-foot ascent is mellow, the descents are awesome and there’s everything from maple jungle bench cuts, bomb-proof berm tracks, stream crossings and stunning views from the top of Joe’s Peak.
And there’s good news for lazy fat asses like ourselves. You can shuttle up Tweed River Drive, park at the hut and then bike 300 feet up Green Trail to access the fun downs like, our favorites, The Stairs, Warman and Fusters. (The latter is named for the old farmer who used to own the land here.)
Jason Hayden was one of the original trail builders in the area and today Matt Baatz maintains them. He lives in the barn at the trailhead, which is super easy to get to. From Interstate 89 take exit 3 west on 107 and follow until it merges with 100 South. Drive until you see the giant totem pole with the bike wheel on the left beside the big grey barn. Park here.
Amenities in Pittsfield include the Clear River Tavern, Picarellos Pizza and the full service General Store. Click here for a copy of the trail map which includes the locations of these businesses.