Mount Mansfield (Race to Top of Vermont) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

4.2 mi
2,506 ft
11.4 %


Page Contributor(s): Drew Bressem, Southwick, MA; Bruce and Stacy Topping, Midway, UT; Bruce Pauly, Truckee, CA.


Mt. Mansfield is the highest point in Vermont (4,395’) and is located in the Green Mountains subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. The road is fully within Mount Mansfield State Forest (44,444 acres, established 2002).  The road is open to cyclists (only) one day per year - the fourth Sunday in August. 
11.5% average grade - 47% of the climb is at 10-15% grade, 12% is at 15-20%, and 1.4% is at ≥ 20%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 16% and steepest mile 13.2%.  

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Nearly all of the road is dirt, but manageable on a road bike.

Traffic:  None on race day.  For the descent, you follow a pace car from the top which leaves every 20 minutes. 

Parking:  At the main or overflow parking lot near the toll road entrance - MapStreet View
Bike and Tires:  We have not cycled this climb, but did drive and walk much of it.  We believe it can accomplished on a hybrid road  (e.g., diverge) or gravel bike with 30mm tires preferably with knobs (ideally probably a 34-38mm tire).  Here is input from Drew Bressem of Southwick MA:  "Hey John, yes. Ridden this 3 times. It is hard pack dirt all the way up (200 ‘ of pavement at start). I’ve Used a Cannondale slate with 650x 41 Surly Knard’s (low profile knobs). Kona king Zing road bike w 25mm road tires and a Kona Stinky Mt bike w 2.0 knobys. The Cannodale Slate was the best set up, you will find many cross and gravel bikes w 28/30mm participating."
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Mount Mansfield is near the quaint Vermont town of Stowe and you will not go wrong staying there for your climb.  

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in this area. 



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Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - looking down hillside toward town, hills covered in bright fall foliage

Cycling Mt. Mansfield (one day per year)

Ride 4.2 miles gaining 2,511’ at 11.5% average grade.

Mt. Mansfield is the highest point in Vermont (4,395’) and is located in the Green Mountains subrange of the Appalachian Mountains.  The road is fully within Mount Mansfield State Forest (44,444 acres, established 2002).

This is an unbelievably scenic and challenging climb.  The two drawbacks to cycling Mt. Mansfield are (a) it is open only one day per year for an annual bike race to the top -- otherwise, no bikes allowed, and (b) it is gravel.  The gravel is the lesser of the two drawbacks -- at least you can ride on it!

Bruce Pauly, Stacy Topping and Bruce Hamilton chalking up another PJAMM Top 100

As of August 30, 2022, Bruce 97 Top 100’s; Team Stacy and Bruce are at 86.

Climb summary by PJAMM good friend and contributor Bruce Hamilton.

This climb is located in a beautiful area of Northwest Vermont just north of Stowe at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort. It winds up to the top of Mt Mansfield – highest point in Vermont and it’s a private toll road that is open to cars in summer but open for bikes only one day each year. This is usually on the fourth Sunday in August and in order to ride this road you must enter the Race to the top of Vermont event held each year.

Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - photo collage, toll road, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Climb’s Start.

The first ¼ mile of this road is paved and this results in the unusual situation of not being able to see the condition of the dirt from the beginning of the road. The event website states that gravel tires are required – it even says that they will turn back any entrants trying to ride on road tires. However, we showed up with only 30mm road tires and nobody pulled us out to say we could not ride. If we’d been able to see the dirt section before the day of the event, we would definitely not have tried this on road tires. Shady spots were slick from moisture and some sections exposed to sun were slippery from lack of grip on the dusty surface. If we’d been riding in either wetter or drier conditions we would not have been able to complete the ride. Wide tires are not really needed, but knobbies definitely are recommended. There is no shuttle down so you have to ride your bike down the hill as well - knobbies and disc brakes would definitely be desirable.

Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - photo collage, fall foliage, ski signs, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

The road is through Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont.

This is a small event compared to Mt Washington (also a private road open only one day each year) and this event is usually conducted the weekend after the Mt Washington race. We did both of these as bookends of a New England trip. This is also not as difficult or as long as Mt Washington – there are several places along the way where the grade relaxes and there is an opportunity for recovery. It’s made more difficult by the rough surface, however, and would be very difficult in bad weather. An unusual PJAMM climb (dirt road and private road) but a fun event and a very pretty climb.

Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - visitor center and informational signs at ride's end

End of the road.


Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - photo collage, fall foliage, one-lane gravel road, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Cycling Mt. Mansfield, Vermont - photo collage, fall foliage, one-lane gravel road, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner


The annual cycling ride on Mount Mansfield, Race to the Top of Vermont (RTTTOVT) is held annually on the fourth Sunday in August.  

Bruce, Stacy and Bruce at the finish  -

Race to the Top of VErmont 2022

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