Local Vistas and Views
With longer days and milder temps, springtime hiking is pretty fabulous! Choosing trails with care is key. The Vermont Park Service reminds us to tread lightly, opening high elevation ascents only after May 1, when paths have had a chance to dry out. Rule of thumb, if it’s super muddy, turn back. Safer for you and better for the ecosystem. But, the moderate elevation hikes we’ve collected here are perfect for this time of year! They run through mixed hardwood forests on open, easy-to-navigate trails, past budding trees and babbling brooks. Find one of Vermont’s prettiest falls, and overlooks with dramatic views of Manchester and the valley.
This trail follows old Rootville Road up along Downer Glen Ravine. It winds along a mountain brook before departing into birch-beech forest on a wide and open logging path. The trail crisscrosses the Appalachian and Long Trails at approximately 1.7 miles (same road) before a spur trail on the right leads to Prospect Rock. The overlook offers a gorgeous view of the Manchester Valley with Mount Equinox to the west. 3.5 miles round trip. Follow the blue blazes.
How to find it:
From Route 7A in Manchester, travel a ¼ mile east on Route 11/30 to East Manchester Road. Turn right just past Raven’s Den. At the 3-way stop, drive straight onto Rootville Road and follow for about a mile to parking just before the water tower.
Lye Brook Falls
This trail follows Lye Brook up a steady gradual slope. You’ll find easy going, dog-friendly walking for a couple of miles to a spur trail on the right that leads to the falls. At 125 feet, it rushes in the spring, and is one of the tallest in Vermont. Along the way, watch for industrial relics. Traces of old railroad beds, and the footprints of kilns and sawmills from more than a century ago. A little history and gorgeous scenery. If you snap a photo, tag us on instagram @manchestervermont! 4.6 miles round trip. Follow the blue blazes.
How to find it:
From Route 7A in Manchester, travel east on Depot Street (Routes 11/30) for a 1/2 mile, turning right on Richville Road, just past Vineyard Vines and Brooks Brothers. At the local Post Office, turn left on East Manchester Road and cross beneath Route 7. After the underpass, turn right on the Lye Brook Falls Access Road and follow to the end. Trail access is at the far end of the parking lot.
Equinox Preserve includes a number of easy to moderate loops of varying lengths that run around Equinox Pond, connect to the Southern Vermont Arts Center, or ascend the summit. For right now, early spring, we love Robin’s Lookout; a short relatively steep climb (just a 1/2 mile) to spectacular views of the pond, and the broader valley. Map of the Preserve is available at a kiosk near the trailhead and at the nearby Equinox Hotel.
How to find it:
From Route 7A in Manchester Village, follow West Union Street past Burr & Burton to its end. At the parking area on the right you’ll see a red gate that indicates the start of the trail. Happy hiking!
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