Vermont's Gateway To Backcountry Skiing And Riding

3-Day Self-Guided Tour: Brandon to Ripton

Tour Summary
This trip features stays at two Vermont country B&Bs nestled in the quiet woods of central/northern Vermont. Start on Route 73 in Brandon and follow the trail to the Blueberry Inn, a B&B with a small network of trails, great views, and famous chocolate chip cookies. On Day 2 travel to Rikert Nordic Center and explore the trails home to the Middlebury College Nordic Ski Team. After a stay at the relaxing Chipman Inn, spend Day 3 skiing the backcountry along the Catamount Trail and Natural Turnpike (a multi-use forest road). 
Total Days:
Total Ski Distance:
17.3 miles, plus skiing at Blueberry Hill and Rikert
Shuttle Details: 
13.3 miles/36 minutes driving between trailheads – Printable Directions



Day 1
Route 73, Brandon to Blueberry Hill Inn (Catamount Trail Section 15)
Route Description: 
The trailhead for the Catamount Trail is a little over 1 mile down Route 73 past the Goshen 4-corners. Park on Route 73 by either parallel parking on the south side of the road about 0.3 miles from the trail head or at the parking lot for the Long Trail (about 0.5 miles down the road). Access the Catamount Trail directly from Route 73. The first 4 miles of the trail traverse intermittent streams and gullies, requiring good ski control. Once across the streams and gullies, hop on the gently rolling terrain of the Blueberry Hill Nordic Center. At Blueberry Hill, you’ll have access to 50km of ungroomed skiing. Stay the night at Blueberry Hill Inn, a classic Vermont country bed and breakfast.
Recommended Lodging:

Blueberry Hill Inn, Goshen, VT 05733



Day 2
Itinerary: Blueberry Hill Cross-Country Ski Center to Rikert Nordic Center (Catamount Trail Section 16)
Route Description: Begin the day enjoying the scenic trails at Blueberry Hill. Afterwards, ski 5 miles from the Blueberry Hill Cross-Country Center to Widow’s Clearing, a relatively easy and flat traverse. Continue for 3.3 miles though ungroomed backcountry terrain to the Rikert Nordic Center. Note: You will need to arrange transportation to the Chipman Inn, approximately 3 miles from Rikert Nordic Center.
Recommended Lodging:

Chipman Inn, Route 125, Ripton, VT 05766

Middlebury Taxi: (802) 349-8833



Day 3
Rikert Nordic Center to Natural Turnpike (Catamount Trail Section 17)
Route Description: Spend the morning exploring the 50km of trails at Rikert Nordic Center, home to the Middlebury College nordic ski team. Afterwards, follow the Catamount Trail 4 miles to the Bridges Trail, then follow a snowmobile trail for half a mile to the Natural Turnpike Winter Parking to conclude the day.

Middlebury Taxi: (802) 349-8833

Directions to Natural Turnpike Winter Parking: From the village of Ripton, take FR 59 north and then northeast for approximately 3.5 miles to the intersection of FR 59 and FR 54. Bear left on FR 54 and the parking lot will be immediately on your right.