10 Sparkling Snowshoe Trips In Vermont

There’s no hibernating in Vermont.

At least for snowshoers.

Pound down those mountains and they say Vermont would be the size of Texas! No matter. The Green Mountain State also plenty of gentle trails, too. Those looking for extreme winter can find it on Camel’s Hump while others wanting a family outing can find a flat loop like the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. With a national forest and a healthy dose of state parks, Vermont serves up a diversified menu.

The Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert has miles of snowshoe trails through the woods of a working farm. Marty Basch photo

Trail: Osmore Pond
: Groton State Forest, Marshfield
Distance: 3.3 miles round-trip
Highlight: Easy loop around a frozen pond in northern Vermont
Trailhead: From Montpelier or St. Johnsbury, travel on Route 2 to Route 232 south. The trailhead is on the left.
Description: Three lean-tos on the eastern side of the pond make it appealing for frosty overnights. The flat circuit is an ideal family outing with a few bridge crossings to keep the young ones saying, “cool.”

Trail: Indian Brook Park Loop
: Essex
Distance: Nearly two miles round-trip
Highlight: A leisurely stroll around a reservoir not too far from Vermont’s largest city
Trailhead: From Interstate 89 north, take exit 15 and travel east on Route 15 through Essex Junction. Cross over Interstate 289 and make the first left on Old Stage Road. Make the second left on Indian Brook Road. Follow road into park and bear right. The road ends at the trailhead by a number of boulders.
Description: Encircling Indian Brook Reservoir is easy. It is not uncommon to meet locals out for a walk with their dogs on a warm winter afternoon. The trail, which goes around the finger-shaped lake, is never far from the shore, offering panoramas of the frozen water and its various bays.

Trail: Stowe Recreation Path
: Stowe
Distance: 5.5 miles one way
Highlight: Sample small town life with Mount Mansfield views
Trailhead: From Interstate 89, take exit 10 and follow Route 100 north about 11 miles into Stowe Village. Route 100 becomes Main Street, and the Recreation Path leaves from the Stowe Community Church.
Description: Constructed in the early 1980s, the long white greenway in winter is utilized by cross-country skiers, snowshoers and walkers. The small-town atmosphere of Stowe is felt along the path, which meanders between the flowing waters of the West Branch River and Stowe’s commercial Mountain Road (Route 108).

Trail: Robert Frost Interpretive Trail
: Ripton
Distance: Nearly one mile
Highlight: A leg stretcher not too far from where the poet once lived
Trailhead: The trailhead is on Route 125, about four miles west of Middlebury Gap, or two miles east of Ripton.
Description: The loop, located in the Green Mountain National Forest, is unique in that several of poet Robert Frost’s poems are mounted on placards along the way. Wooden benches have been placed near some of the poems as if to invite introspection.

Trail: Camel’s Hump View Trail
Location: Camel’s Hump State Park, Waterbury
Distance: Nearly one mile
Highlight: Wide, easy circuit within sight of hunchbacked Camel’s Hump mountain
Trailhead: From Interstate 89, take exit 10. Travel on Route 2 east .1 mile and make a right on Winooski Street. Travel about one-half mile and cross over a bridge. Turn right after the bridge. This is Duxbury Road. Follow it four miles and make a left on Camel’s Hump Road. The trailhead is about 3.5 miles down the road.
Description: Camel’s Hump View is a relatively new wheelchair accessible path built in the early 1990s. Since it must accommodate wheelchairs during the non-snow months, it is wide and the grade is gentle. This .8-mile loop is a very easy excursion, ideal for the family.

Trail: Burrows Trail
Location: Camel’s Hump State Park, Huntington Center
Distance: 4.8 miles round-trip
Highlight: Rugged trip up a challenging 4,000-footer for experienced snowshoers.
Trailhead: From Interstate 89, take exit 11 and then Route 2 east to Richmond. Turn left on Bridge Street and follow it to Huntington Center. Turn left on Camel’s Hump Road and follow the road 3.5 miles to the trailhead. Four-wheel drive is suggested for the last mile. If not, park by the lower unplowed trailhead and walk .7-mile to the winter trailhead.
Description: To ascend Camel’s Hump is to prepare for a trip that should be well-planned and done with caution. Clear skies and calm winds can change immediately to 40-mile-per-hour gusts and whiteout conditions. Knowing the forecast is of prime importance.

Rolling hills, church steeples and even the occasional horse feeding on hay are all parts of the Vermont winter landscape. Marty Basch

Trail: Faulkner Trail
: Woodstock
Distance: 3.2 miles round-trip
Highlight: Civilized journey up an in-town mountain with out-of-town views
Trailhead: Faulker Park is located on Mountain Avenue in Woodstock. Park by the Woodstock village green and walk through the covered bridge on Union Street, crossing River Street and taking a left on Mountain Avenue to Faulkner Park.
Description: To snowshoe up 1,240-foot Mount Tom in winter is to have an Old World experience. The yellow-blazed Faulkner Trail is a series of switchbacks, which zigzag up to the top where an old carriage road loops around. Follow the circular path and be treated to views of the village, Killington Peak, Mount Ascutney, Mount Peg and into the mountains of the Granite State.

Trail: Birch Pond Loop
: Merck Forest and Farmland Center, Rupert
Distance: 3.5 miles round-trip
Highlight: A uniquely delightful romp through a working farm, which could include horses roaming the fields or maple trees being tapped
Trailhead: From Manchester, travel on West Road 3.5 miles and turn left on Route 30 north to Dorset. Travel 5.5 miles and turn left on Route 315 for about three miles and turn left at the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert.
Description: The Merck Forest and Farmland Center in southern Vermont is located on 3,130 acres of hilltop working farm and forestland. The center is an environmental educational organization in the Taconic Range. Recreational and educational programs abound on its 28 miles of trails.

Trail: Mount Olga
: Molly Stark State Park, Wilmington
Distance: 2.3-mile circuit
Highlight: Climb above the evergreens to a fire tower with an alpine panorama of southern Vermont
Trailhead: From Wilmington, travel east on Route 9 about 3.4 miles. The entrance to the Molly Stark State Park is at 3.5 miles, but the entrance is not plowed. So, at the 3.4-mile mark from Wilmington, turn left on Sparrow Lane and follow it to the plowed turnaround and park there so as not to interfere with traffic. The entrance to the park is across Route 9..
Description: The loop trail up and down Mount Olga is fairly easy, winding through the evergreens to the summit. There are a few moderate pitches along the way, but they are quick and easily conquered. From the enclosed summit fire tower, the spectacular 360-degree panorama takes in three states — southern Vermont, northern Massachusetts and southwestern New Hampshire.

Trail: West River Trail
: Jamaica State Park, Jamaica
Distance: 4.6 miles round-trip
Highlight: Flat trip along the rushing waters and oxbows of a southern Vermont river
Trailhead: From Jamaica, turn on Depot Street and follow it one-half mile past the school, over the bridge and to the small plowed out parking area on the left.
Description: The water is your constant companion during this flat adventure. The easiness of the trail, rest stops and nature signs makes this trip ideal for families with children. They will also enjoy the mini-waterfalls along the way.

For a fine assortment of Snowshoes, click here.

Marty Basch is the author of several books including “Winter Trails Vermont and New Hampshire” (Globe Pequot), which details these and other snowy adventures.

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