Best Winter Walk: Equinox Pond
Equinox Pond is a perfect, easy adventure.
Our favorite lark, a stroll to Equinox Pond where a mile loop on a level woods road affords pretty views without requiring much in the way of time or gear.
The terrain here is called “Equinox Highlands.” Together, Mount Equinox and nearby Mother Myrick form the northernmost end of the Taconic range and are home to one of the largest, best examples of a rich northern hardwood forest in the northeast. In the winter, it’s peaceful and majestic. In the summer, home to a diverse mix of flora, fauna, and wildlife.
The entire Preserve is a local treasure. Its 900+ acres of hardwood forest, protected by the Equinox Preservation Trust, the Nature Conservancy, and the Vermont Land Trust, are home to a trail system that loops and winds for eleven miles along the side of the mountain, with a mainline to the summit. The Pond Loop is perfect for a breath of fresh air, but with snowshoes or microspikes and hiking poles, you can access Robin’s Lookout for a dramatic winter view or if you’re up for it, head straight to the top.
For us, we followed the yellow blazes of the aptly named “Flatlanders Path” to the Pond Loop. The entire outing took us about an hour, with plenty of breaks to admire animal tracks (moose!) and cool trees, with a pond-side pit stop for a snack and a drink. We met a couple of black labs from Orvis, a cheerful Gordon Setter, and a Boxer wearing his Christmas sweater. Plus, a father and son (Jim and Luke) visiting MVT from Jersey. Nice five-minute nature break talking NFL playoffs and favorite local spots. They’ll be back in the spring for sugaring season. We promised Jim we’d give a plug for the Sugar Shack; a stop they say they won’t miss when March comes around.
All in all the Pond loop is barely a mile, including a pass around the backside. At the water’s edge, you’re a cool 1100 feet gazing up toward the 3816-foot summit. While there’s no big commitment getting here, the reward is big.
If you go. Dress in layers, leash your dog. Walk up from the Resort or park at the West Union Street Entrance. Grab a trail map from the kiosk and plot your course to Equinox Pond and beyond. Great winter hiking tips here from Matador. If you need “stuff” for a bigger adventure, head directly to the Mountain Goat on Main Street in town. Not only did they make Gear Patrol’s list of 25 best outdoor stores in the country, they’re a staff of experts, and real nice people.
With proximity to some of the best skiing and riding in the East, Manchester, Vermont is the place to be this winter.
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