Time varies depending on the group but expect to be hiking for around three to four hours. Distances range from four to six miles and longer if desired along trails and country dirt roads in the Green Mountain National Forest.
We do have a fair amount of trails that are relatively flat. However, sections of our trails are rolling, which means gentle uphill or downhill section that last for a brief time. Our hillier road hikes will gain 600 feet of elevation but, when your eyes see the reward, the effort will be worth it. Since the hikes are along country roads, generally the footing is good compared to intermediate hikes.
Our hike destinations vary from day to day; some are to a waterfall, along a scenic river, to a covered bridge, a historic mine, to a beautiful vista or a crystal clear lake. Generally the novice hikers have a little less time on the trail and more time in the villages.
Manchester Area Hikes
Our favorite hike in the area leads us to the Equinox Pond, starting at the Southern Vermont Art Center. A Georgian Revival home surrounded by more than 400 pastoral hillside acres, the center features a series of galleries displaying works from its well-regarded collection, as well as frequently changing exhibits of contemporary Vermont artists. From the Sculpture Garden we walk to the Boswell Botany Trail. Created in 1917, the trail has a wonderfully bucolic wildflower walk with white birches, native orchids, grasses and moss, most of the 67 varieties of fern found in Vermont and a towering 300-year-old sugar maple, all in a unique glacial microclimate. Then we enter the Equinox Preservation Trust lands to the Equinox Pond, a beautiful area that overlooks Equinox Mountain. The hike is around 4 miles with 250 feet of vertical rise.
One of our hillier hikes in the Manchester area, the Freedleyville Tunnel Quarry is well worth the effort. The vista has a breathtaking view of the Manchester Valley and the Peru Peak Wilderness and it is the home of one of the largest and first underground marble quarries in Vermont. Opened in 1790, the quarry measures 200 by 600 feet. Flooded portions freeze during the winter and will remain frozen until July. The hike is around 4.5 miles with 600 feet of vertical rise. Dorset Hollow is a lovely country road hike with a beautiful water wheel from the 1800's. This rolling hike is just less than 5 miles with 400 feet of vertical rise.
Woodstock Area Hikes
Our hike takes us through the Marsh-Billings National Historic Park which includes 20 miles of carriage roads and trails through one of the nation's oldest continuously managed forests, established by Frederick Billings in the 1880's on the deforested flanks of Mount Tom. We take a beautiful hike along carriage roads to a lovely vista overlooking the village of Woodstock. We hike around a beautiful pond known as the "Pogue". The hike distance can vary from 4 to 7 miles with 200 to 400 feet of vertical rise. We have a couple of other walks on the way to Woodstock that follow a lovely country road with a picturesque stream.
Middlebury Area Hikes
The Silver Lake hike will lead us through the Moosalamoo region which consists of 20,000 protected acres. Hiking along the forest road we arrive at the picturesque Silver Lake for a break and a swim. The hike can vary from 4 to 6 miles with a 400 feet vertical rise.
The Blueberry Hill Road hike is along a picturesque country and forest road through the Moosalamoo region. The distance is just over 5 miles with 500 feet of vertical rise. Also on Blueberry Hill is another great country road hike to the Sugar Hill Reservoir. The hike has a small loop with a distance 4 to 6 miles, depending on route, with 400 to 600 feet of vertical rise.
Quechee Area Hikes
On this very popular road hike and cycling route we follow the Ottauquechee River through some of the most beautiful farms in the area. It's a truly breathtaking walk with the river, mansions, cows and old farms. We end our journey at a covered bridge. The hike is just around 5 miles with 200 feet of vertical rise.
Rutland Area Hikes
We have over a dozen hikes in the Rutland area. One of our favorites is a wooded dirt road hike to a vista overlooking a beautiful pond and the Blue Ridge Mountain.
The West Rutland Marsh Interpretive Trail leads us to an old marble quarry, where Sculpture Fest is held and where we view marble sculptures that are on display. The marsh area provides an excellent chance for bird watching.
On another hike, we walk along a country road through Rutland State Forest on our way to the McLaughlin Falls, the area's most scenic waterfall. The distance can vary from 5 to 6 miles with little elevation gain.