Hikes in Southern Vermont
Top 4 (incredibly, personally biased) hikes in Southern Vermont.
It took a long time, but I think it's safe to say that summer is finally here! This means no more snowshoes, icy summits, or muddy boardwalks. In other words, it's the perfect time to explore some new hikes in Vermont.
There are 55 natural areas owned by The Nature Conservancy across the state, many of which have public hiking trails. The following are some of my favorites in Southern Vermont, although there are many more I still have yet to visit.
- High Pond: A three-mile, relatively flat, out-and-back trail winds through fields, ravines, and multiple forest types before ending at the namesake High Pond (which is great for swimming!). Moose and bear have been spotted walking through this natural area, which is no surprise considering how diverse the forest is. Located in Hubbardton, off Ganson Hill Rd.
- Shaw Mountain: Known for its spring wildflower display, this 2.5 moderately steep trail loops around the top of a limestone summit after crossing over a boardwalk through a marsh. This area used to be ocean floor, which is why it's home to at least 15 rare plant species. Located in Benson off Money Hill Rd.
- North Pawlett Hills- Haystack: Climb to the top of Haystack Mtn., almost 2,000 feet above the landscape, and look out onto NY, VT, and NH. This view, especially in the fall, is the epitome of New England landscapes. The three-mile, out-and-back trail is decently steep, but definitely worth it. Watch out for lots of wildlife (and red efts- juvenile salamanders) as the trail is located within about 1,400-acres of protected forestland. Located in Pawlett, off Tunket Rd.
- Buckner Preserve- Tim's Trail: Three-miles intertwine throughout the 4,000 acre preserve, but for the best view of Lake Champlain's southernmost point, take Tim's Trail (a moderate 2.8 miles loop), which opens up to a clearing and bench for taking in the scenery. I've managed to sit here for hours before realizing I should head back down the cliffs at some point. This is one of TNC's most biodiverse properties in VT, with at least 11 rare animal species and 18 rare plant species. Located in West Haven, off a dirt road from Rt.10.
-By Kelsy Allan, serving with The Nature Conservancy