The entirety of Vermont’s western route is filled with a lot of time spent near water, picturesque views of New York’s Adirondack mountains, and boasts the state’s quintessential culinary adventures (for either before or after your run)! The route itself begins in Bennington around mile 407 and ends in Alburgh around mile 49, spanning a grand total of 195 miles. There is actually an elevation loss from 407 to 109 feet, but if you’re looking for some hills you can find some at mile 411 (north of Brattleboro), 427 (around Manchester), 450 (north of Wells, around Little Lake) and 485 (South of the tiny town of Orwell). After Burlington, the route is fairly flat- especially into The Islands (unless you venture off of the mapped route, in which case there are many rolling hills). However, if you’re just finishing The Southern Route, these 195 miles should be a piece of cake!

Starting at around mile 495, The Western Route actually follows Lake Champlain for the remainder of the route. Meaning: your run might be breezy! If you’re particularly vulnerable to the wind make sure to bring any necessary equipment, but if it’s a hot day this could be a perfect part of the state to run in! It’s always your call, but a quick dip in Lake Champlain might be necessary for the days when you do your longer runs. This post-run swim could happen at White’s Beach in South Hero, near the Lake Champlain Bridge, or it might be on The Burlington Waterfront, home to the finish of the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon. This is a perfect route to reminisce on!

Although not directly on the route, there are some delightful detours that are only a 15-20 minute drive away:

  • You might finish your run in Addison and, if that’s the case, you could roam around Middlebury’s marble edifices or hike Snake Mountain as a recovery hike.
  • You also might consider ending your run in Burlington and having a cold beer at one of the many breweries in the city. At RunVermont, we love employee-owned Switchback Brewing!
  • If you end up in Alburgh and have to travel south, consider stopping in St.Albans, The Maple Capital of The World, for a maple creemee, maple stout, or maple cookie! You can always walk a few miles on the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail if you’re feeling a little sugar-crazed.
  • If you plan on running near the southern part of The Western Route, there are a plethora of small, fun towns to explore like Castleton, Brandon, and Putney for days when you just want to pursue a recovery walk and peruse.
  • Ending up in South Hero is always amazing, especially on a Thursday evening, because of SnowFarm Winery’s Summer Concert Series! Who doesn’t love a glass of wine after a picturesque 8 miles?

The sights, food, and running itself cannot be beat! Is there a better way to enjoy running AND Vermont?

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