Page Contributor(s): John Summerson, The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike), 2nd Edition
Cycling Mt. Ascutney , Vermont
One of the steepest and hardest bike climbs in the northeast.
Ride only 3.5 miles but gain 2,280’ to 2,796’ elevation at 12.4%.
“Another legendary New England ascent, Mount Ascutney is an extremely steep and difficult climb located in eastern Vermont near the New Hampshire border. There are extended ramps of 15% grade and except for a stretch early within its second half the entire climb is steep.” (This quote is provided with the approval of John Summerson from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike) in the Northeast, pg. 178.)
Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.
Before heading to Vermont on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
Begin the climb by riding into Mt. Ascutney State Park.
Ride away from the New Hampshire border, a stone's throw from the start.
Our July 2015 start.
Our Fall 2020 start
Mt. Ascutney, #74 on the Top US 100 Climb list, is an extremely steep, albeit brief, climb to the parking lot at the end of Mt. Ascutney State Park Road. At 12% and 3.5 miles, this is the shortest climb in the first 60 of the Top 100 U.S. Climbs -- you get your bang for your climbing buck on this one! The other Top 100 climb within 200 miles of this climb are #3 Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, #18 Mt. Equinox, Vermont, #41 Whiteface Mt, New York, and #87 Burke Mt, Vermont.
The roadway is bordered by thick forest nearly all of the climb.
The Mount Ascutney State Park Road bike climb begins near Windsor, Vermont (population 3,553, 2010; elevation 1,066’). Windsor is known as “the Birthplace of Vermont.” Visit the Old Constitution House while in the area. Mount Ascutney is part of the Coolidge mountains, a subrange of the Appalachians mountain range.
Rarely do we see such colors on our App’s gradient profile . . .
. . . . purple = 20%+ !!
Drive through and across one of the top covered bridges in New Hampshire and Vermont. The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge is a two span timber Town lattice-truss covered bridge. The bridge was built in 1866 and is 449 feet long and 24 feet wide. It is about a five mile drive from the beginning of the Mt. Ascutney climb and connects Cornish, New Hampshire with Windsor, Vermont.
Overlook entrance is 1.7 miles up from the climb start.
Path and overlook during fall colors.
MT. ASCUTNEY DURING FALL COLORS
Leaf peeping time -- stunning scenery!
First half of the climb.
Photos clockwise from top left are arranged lower elevation to higher elevation.
Note in the two fall photo collages how the colors change from lower to higher elevation.
Second half of the climb.
CORNISH, NH - WINDSOR, VT COVERED BRIDGE
Photo left: Windsor Cornish Covered Bridge, as seen from Mt. Ascutney.
Be sure to include the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge on your list when you climb Mt. Ascutney. The bridge is 4.3 miles from the start of the Mt. Ascutney climb (map).
This version of the bridge was constructed in 1866 and is the longest single span wooden covered bridge in the United States at 449. The bridge crosses the Connecticut River and the New Hampshire/Vermont border between Cornish (NH) and Windsor (VT).
MT. ASCUTNEY BICYCLE HILL CLIMB
There was a bicycle race up Mt. Ascutney from 1999 to 2014, which went on a hiatus from 2015-2018. The race began again in 2019 but was not held to our knowledge in 2020 due to the pandemic. For those searching for the race, Google Mt. Ascutney Bicycle Hillclimb.
That’s a wrap!!
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