Mid Summer Guide; Out-Doors
by Elizabeth Bassett,
July 14, 2011, pg 3-A
Walking Trails in the
Voila! A summer inventory of walking trails. Last year this column featured public walking trails in Charlotte, still available online at thecharlottenews.org/pages/aguidetowalkingtrailsincharlotte1402.html. This year’s column introduces trails in adjacent towns for your walking pleasure. Get outdoors and enjoy our Vermont summer!
Allen Hill: Allen Hill rises 180 feet from Lake Champlain on a small peninsula on Shelburne Point. Its dry summit hosts early spring wildflowers and the chestnut oak, an uncommon tree in Vermont. The loop trail is about 1.5-miles.
Recreation Path: Gravel keeps your feet (mostly) dry on a route just inland from Allen Hill. The 93-acre Shelburne Bay Park, site of the Recreation Path and Allen Hill, lies next to the mouth of the LaPlatte River on Bay Road.
Ti-Haul Trail: This one-mile route was created decades ago for moving the steamship Ticonderoga from Shelburne Bay to its home at Shelburne Museum. The gravel path begins south of Bay Road and continues to Harbor Road via field, wetland and forest.
LaPlatte River Marsh: A 1.75-mile trail meanders along the banks of McCabes Brook. The 245-acre parcel protects marshes, wetlands and rich shoreline at the confluence of McCabes Brook and the LaPlatte River where they enter the lake.
Shelburne Pond: A one-mile marked trail is home to many varieties of spring wildflowers. So close to the bustle of Burlington, the 1,046 conserved acres of pond, wetland and upland host an impressive diversity of habitats.
LaPlatte Natural Area: A mowed trail loops through the meadows adjacent to the Shelburne Post Office. Please park on LaPlatte Circle, not at the post office.
Upper LaPlatte River Natural Area at the Vermont Zen Center - The Lake Champlain Land Trust (LCLT) collaborated with the Zen Center to conserve 65-acres of critical LaPlatte River watershed. Trails explore 2/3 mile of river shoreline and fields en route to a hemlock forest on a limestone bluff. The trails were officially opened to the public for walking, birding, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on July 9. The Zen Center is located at 480 Thomas Road. Park in spaces designated for LCLT.
Ferrisburgh and Vergennes
Rokeby Museum: A stop on the Underground Railroad and home to a Quaker family of abolitionists, Rokeby is more than a museum. It’s a window into the life of a prosperous 19th century sheep-farming family. These 90 acres tell the story of man’s interactions with nature. Only a few miles south of Charlotte on Route 7, Rokeby offers guided tours of the house and farm in addition to an interpreted walk through forest, field, garden and orchard. See rokeby.org.
Kingsland Bay State Park: Although short, the 0.6-mile walking trail offers a restful stroll away from the bustle of the park. Beneath towering hemlocks and cedars, the trail stays close to the water as it follows the shoreline around MacDonough Point.
Button Bay State Park: A Nature Trail on the peninsula loops beneath very old oaks over limestone cliffs. The route is punctuated with listing northern white cedars and passes a giant fossilized Maclurites magnus in the ancient bedrock. These snails lived in tropical waters about 500 million years ago.
Vergennes Falls Park: Not a very long walk, but what a setting! Below the crashing falls on the Otter Creek, six and a half acres of waterside park offer walking paths, picnic areas, fishing and a boat launch. From Route 22A, turn right south of the Otter Creek Bridge onto Canal Street. After 0.1 miles, turn right down Mechanic Street toward the water.
Buck Mountain: Located just south of Vergennes, this sheep-back mountain has unmarked trails that lead to its summit. This writer has only reached the summit by trial and error (lots of it). Make your first trip with someone who knows the way!
Hinesburg Area Recreation Trails (HART) provides maps, directions and information about appropriate use at hinesburg.org/hart.html.
Lincoln Hill Project: A significant wildlife corridor of walking and mountain biking trails. The Hinesburg Land Trust conserved 144-acres that connect 1,150-acres of the Fred Johnson Wildlife Management Area with 850 acres of the Hinesburg Town Forest (HTF). HTF includes bike, hiking, ATV and horse trails.
Gillespie/Copp-Welch Properties: Trails on 187-acres through forest and meadow include stunning cliffs and towering hemlocks. Between Lewis Creek and Gilman Roads, this acreage adjoins the LaPlatte Headwaters Project on the Bissonette Farm. Excellent for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Geprags Park: Two miles of foot trails on conserved land on the Shelburne/Hinesburg Road.
Russell Family Trail: Two miles of trails on a conserved 63-acre working farm in Hinesburg Village.
Local Motion’s Trail Finder: localmotion.org/trails/index.php
Places to Walk, Paddle, and Explore in Vermont, The Nature Conservancy, nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/vermont/
Nature Walks in Northwest Vermont and the Champlain Valley, by Elizabeth Bassett, Full Circle Press. Available at Little Garden Market, Old Brick Store, Flying Pig and area bookstores. Also at the Charlotte Library.
The Walker’s Guide to Vermont, Green Mountain Club, greenmountainclub.org.