8/30/2013

The Killington Twist

117 miles
3 hours
 Twisty,Cruising
Motorcycle rider on Vermont-100a, Riders in the 2011 MotoGiro riding on VT-100A, Bridgewater, VT

If you like your roads twisty, the Killington Twist should quickly become one of your favorites. The ride uses a mix of back roads and main roads and includes some of the best of south-central Vermont’s twisty-bits. In addition, the route does not follow the normal tourist route, so it should also provide some refief from car-bound droning.

The ride begins at the Foundry at Summit on the Killington Road, the location of the 2013 Killington Classic. Begin by turning right, out of Foundry, onto the Killington Road. Just past the North Star Lodge, bear right onto West Hill Road. Follow West Hill Rd to Vermont-100/US-4. Take a right onto VT-100/US-4 and follow it 10.7 miles.

Just past the Long Trail Brewery, take a right at Bridgewater Corners (store, no gas) onto VT-100A.

Vermont-100A is one of Vermont hidden gems of twisty tarmac. Years of brutal pavement kept 100A off the “Best Roads in Vermont” list, but a complete rebuild and resurfaced in 2010 has transformed the road into a rider’s paradise. The first time my friends and I rode it after reconstruction, we lapped it three times.

The road surface is still good (August 2013), but because it is trapped between hills on one side and a river on the other, maintaining the road is a challenge. Be aware that there may be occasional short sections of construction to repair the latest flash flood damage. Regardless, VT-100A is 7 miles of motorcycle bliss.

Follow VT-100A to it’s end, where it intersects with VT-100 in Plymouth Notch.

Tropical Storm Irene destroyed homes, damaged roads and bridge, and caused the cancellation of the 2011 Killington Classic. On VT-100 in Plymouth, you can still see damage from the storm, two years prior.

Take a left onto VT-100 South and head South 5.2 miles, past Amherst and Echo Lakes. At the Echo Lake Inn, take a left onto Kingdom Rd. Ride over a unique stone-railed bridge and climb steeply uphill. There are views to your left of Echo Lake as you rise above Route 100.

Kingdom, Rd, Plymouth, Vermont
Steep drop-offs on Kingdom, Rd, Plymouth, VT

Kingdom Rd travels uphill in a series of tight bends with steep drop offs on the downhill side. Ridden east-to-west, the road is steeply downhill. There are no guardrails and the drop-offs are a serious penalty for a simple fall. The grade and the drop-off combined is unnerving. I prefer riding this road west-to-east, because it is uphill and controlling speed is easier. The west-to-east direction also places you further from edge, which helps with my peace-of-mind.

After 1.8 miles, Kingdom Rd becomes Tyson Rd. You won’t notice the change, because you will be focused on enjoying the rolling curves through this shaded 40 mph back road paver.

As you pass through South Reading you will have views of the dormant Ascutney Mountain Resort ski area. The resort closed in 2010 and sold off much of its lift equipment. The fate of the resort is still unresolved, much to the chagrin of condo owners at the resort.

Tyson road descends past the 200 year old Old Stone Church and the Knapp Brook Wildlife Management Area to Fletchville and VT-106. There, you will find Watrobs General Store, which has a deli with fresh meats and sandwiches and a shady table where you can enjoy lunch or a snack. There is no gas here.

Old Stone Church, South Reading, VT
Old Stone Church, South Reading, VT

Take right onto VT-106 and head south through rolling terrain. VT-106 is open and provides a bit of easy riding. Follow VT-106 to a four-way intersection (blinking light) at Downer’s Corner Market and the intersection of VT-131. Here you will find the Country Creemee Restaurant, which has shaded picnic tables, grill food, ice cream and -- of course – creemees (including maple).

Take a right onto VT-131 and head west. The road twists and bends along the Black River, which gives the road it’s shape. The Hawks Mountain Wildlife Management Area and river combine to give the road it’s “scenic” designation. You’ll enjoy good quality pavement through this section, winding along the river in some of southern Vermont better 50 mph twisties.

The speed limit drops as you enter Cavendish. Follow VT-131 to VT-103. Take a right onto VT-103. Follow VT-103 approximately 3 miles to Ludlow Vermont.

Ludlow is a medium sized Vermont town and home of the Okemo Mount Ski Resort. Here you will find gas, hardware and auto parts, and many food choices.

Although you have been riding now for about an hour and twenty minutes, you are only 22 miles and 30 minutes south of Killington. If you’ve had your fill, you can return to Killington by turning right on VT-100 and looping back north.

To continue with the route, take a left out of Ludlow and head south VT-100.

We’ll head south and follow VT-100 for 7 miles to the intersection of VT-155 (gas). Turn left and continue on VT-100 south for 15.5 miles, through Londonderry VT (gas/food), until you reach VT-30.

Take a left to head south on VT-100/VT-30. The road descends by fast sweepers to Jamaica Vermont.

Just past the Jamaica, there is another opportunity to loop back north. Look for a sign “Windam 7” with a left arrow. The sign points to Windam Hill Road. This road climbs steeply out of Jamaica, rising 1,000 vertical feet in 3 miles. Windam Hill road reaches VT-121 in 8.3 miles. Take a left onto VT-121 and ride 2 miles to VT-11. Take a left on VT-11 and ride 4.7 miles to Londonderry and VT-100. Londonderry to Killington is approximately 37 miles or 54 minutes south of Killington on VT-100.

To continue with the main loop, ride VT-100/VT-30 to Townshend VT. Townshend has a grassy village green with a gazebo and shade trees. Take a left onto Local Route-35 and head north.

Townshend Green
Townshend Green

Local route-35 is local road that travels through the woods. Speed limits range from 35 mph to 50 mph and the surface includes excellent pavement, a short gravel section and some old cracked pavement. In all, the road is fun, despite some rough sections. Follow Route-35 to the intersection of VT-121.

Take a left onto VT-121/Route-35 and follow it to Grafton. Take a right to continue north on Route-35. Follow Route 35 to Chester Depot (gas).

Proceed straight across VT-11 onto Depot Street (next to gas station) and follow to VT-103. If you miss Depot Street, you can take the next left, Maple Street and connect to VT-103 that way.

Follow VT-103 north 9.7 miles past VT-131 and the Castle Hill Resort and Spa.

To return to Killington, follow VT-103 to Ludlow, then take a right onto VT-100 North. Ludlow to Killington is approximately 30 minutes on VT-100 north.

Garmin GPX Route: GPS downloadable route

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