Just because winter is here doesn’t mean you have to go into hibernation. Sure the days are shorter, and it’s cold, but there is still a lot do outdoors. The great thing is you probably don’t have to drive too far.
Here in Southern Vermont we are lucky to be surrounded by some great mountains. One of my favorite places to go is in Manchester’s Equinox Preserve. The Preserve consists of over 914 acres that encompass the base of Mount Equinox. It is open to pretty much any type of non-motorized activities. There are numerous well-marked trails that suit all abilities. If you have kids there’s a great flat trail that goes around the pond that is a little less than a mile long. Dogs are allowed as well, though they must be under voice control or on a leash and please clean up after your pet (bags are available at the kiosk). The trails are especially great in the winter for both snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. I believe that there are also a few geocaches hidden within the preserve.
Just beyond the parking area past the gate there is a kiosk with trail maps and information. If you’re looking for a challenging hike, follow the blue trail 3.10 miles with 2,480 feet of elevation change to the summit of Mount Equinox, on a clear day the views are fantastic. Mountain Bluff and Maidenhair are challenging trails and can be tied together to make great loop. Robin’s Lookout offers fine views at a shorter distance with less elevation change. For something different, head out on the Trillium Trail and take the Southern Vermont Art Center Loop trail and stop into the Art Center or just walk around their grounds to see some great sculptures by local artists.
There you have it folks, next time your sitting on your couch looking for something to do, grab the kids, dogs and head over to the preserve. If you don’t have snowshoes, cruise over to The Mountain Goat or EMS in the center of Manchester they’ll get you set up. I believe they might even have rentals. If you would like some more information click here.
Happy trails, Greg.