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Parks, towns, and forests of Southern Vermont welcome walkers and hikers

Foliage at Equinox Preserve - Manchester, VT
Equinox Preserve

Slopes of Mount Equinox Manchester, VT, 05255 Phone: 802-366-1400

The Equinox Preserve consists of over 914 acres on the slopes of Mount Equinox in Manchester, VT.
Entry Points. There are two main entry points to the Equinox Preserve lands. The green entrance gate at the designated parking to the Red Gate Trail is the principal entrance. To reach it, drive west on West Union Street (just south of Burr & Burton Academy on Prospect Street in Manchester Village). Turn right at the end of paved portion toward the town’s water tank. The gate is a short distance below the Red Gate Trail. A second entry is through the Southern Vermont Arts Center, during business hours. - Trail Map (PDF)
Hildene Walking Trails - Manchester, VT
Hildene Walking Trails

1005 Hildene Road Manchester, VT, 05254 Phone: 802-362-1788

Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, is a historic house and also a place for wonderful walks. Twelve miles of trails on 400 acres begin and end at the Welcome Center. The trails include a variety of landscapes from woods to meadows. The sanctuary is a home for pollinators; bees and butterflies and ground nesting birds. On the lower part of the property at Dene Farm, the trails lead to a working farm.
Hours: Open year-round; daily; 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
General Admission: $6-$23, depending on age.
Sculpture Trails at Southern Vermont Art Center - Manchester, VT
Trails at the Southern Vermont Arts Center

930 Southern Vermont Arts Center Drive Manchester, VT, 05254 Phone: 802-362-1405

The Southern Vermont Arts Center loop trail leads to many hikes. You may follow the loop to the Equinox Pond for a relaxing afternoon, or make the day of it and hike to the summit of Equinox Mountain, to enjoy panoramic views of Manchester and the surrounding area. See the heading Sculpture Park & Trails at this page.
Brattleboro Retreat Trails - Brattleboro, VT - Photo Credit Brattleboro Retreat Farm
Brattleboro Retreat Trails

Off Route 30 Brattleboro, VT Phone:

Trails on the Brattleboro Retreat property have been used by local people since the 1800s. In 2006 and 2007, the Retreat and the Windham Foundation partnered in a project to revitalize the trails. There are several ways to enter the nine-mile trail network. Trails are open to year-round for hiking, cross-country skiing, showshoeing, mountain biking and horseback riding. No motor vehicles. Pets are welcome on leash. Please pack out what you bring in. Open year-round for free. - Trail Map (PDF)
Bennington Town Walks - Bennington, VT
Bennington Town Walks

Bennington is a beautiful and classic Vermont town, where it is fun to stroll and simply look at the houses and parks and businesses. The Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce has created two self-guided walking tours (Trail Map [PDF]) that pass some local landmarks of distinction, as well as ordinary places where life bustles forward among old paths and foundations.
One of the tours passes the Bennington Monument, The Catamount Tavern, the Old Academy, the Village Lion, the Walloomsac Inn, the Old First Church, and the Bennington Museum. The other tour, through downtown, passes St. Francis De Sales Church, the Putnam House, Bennington County Courthouse, the Old Blacksmith's Shop, the Old Stone Mill, Bennington Potter's Yard, the Blue Benn Diner and the Henry Bradford Mill.
Merck Forest and Farmland Trails - Rupert, VT
Merck Forest and Farmland Center Trails

3270 Route 315 Rupert, VT, 05768 Phone: 802-394-7836

Many trails range from easy to difficult; something for every walker and hiker

Merck Forest and Farmland Center is an educational organization that teaches and demonstrates innovative management of forest and farmland. The public may visit the farm every day of the year from dawn to dusk. People may visit the farm, explore the forest, walk on 30 miles of trails or stay overnight in a rustic cabin or lean-to. There is no admission fee. Merck Forest Trails are open for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Mt. Olga Trail at Molly Stark State Park - Wilmington, VT - Photo Credit VT State Parks
Molly Stark State Park Trails

Molly Stark State Park, 705 Vermont 9 Wilmington, VT, 05363 Phone: 802-464-5460

One easy and more moderate walk, 0.20 to 1.70 miles; easy walk is good for kids

This state park is located off historic Route 9, a very beautiful mountain road crossing the state from Brattleboro on the east to Wilmington on the western. Both towns are full of fun, dynamic things to do and see and places to eat and shop, for adults and children. A walk on Molly Stark P Park trails makes a nice half-day outdoor adventure for families and others.
From the park entrance, follow signs to the easy and kid-friendly Nature Center Spur Trail for a 20-minute walk of 0.20 mile or the moderate-rated Mount Olga Trail walk, which is 1.70 miles and 1.5 hours of walking, to a fire tower.
Girl in Water - Emerald Lake State Park - East Dorset, VT - Photo Credit VT State Parks
Emerald Lake State Park

65 Emerald Lake Lane East Dorset, VT, 05253 Phone: 802-362-1655

Fine camping, swimming, paddling, fishing, walking and hiking; motor boats prohibited

Located on Emerald lake and near the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and trails on Dorset Mountain, this park is a favorite for hikers. - Trail Map (PDF)
Lye Brook Falls Trail - Manchester, VT
Lye Brook Falls Trail

The trail, marked with blue blazes, enters the 15,680-acre Lye Brook Wilderness following Lye Brook. Using old logging railroad grades and old woods roads, the trail travels up a steady gradual slope. Downed trees from a 1995 cyclonic storm and a few small stream crossings make some of the trail difficult to pass. A spur trail at 1.8 miles, on the right, leads to the 125-foot high Lye Brook Falls, one of the highest in Vermont. Slippery rocks make the falls dangerous; climbing the falls is not recommended.
Directions to the trailhead: Starting in the town of Manchester, from Route 7A, turn east on Depot Street (Routes 11/30) and drive for about one half mile, turning right on Richville Road. At the 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 (the sign might say Glen Road, but there is another sign indicating Lye Brook Falls access) and follow it to the end and the park.
West River Valley Trail - Southern Vermont - Photo Credit Ellen Waagin
West River Valley Trail

Various access points Brattleboro, Dummerston, Newfane, Townshend, Jamaica and South Londonderry, VT Phone:

36-mile scenic all-season trail following a former railroad bed through the West River Valley. The two sections of the trail link to Brattleboro, Dummerston, Jamaica, Newfane, South Londonderry and Townshend. Parking for the lower section is available US Route 5 and Spring Tree Road. - Lower Section Trail Map (PDF) - Upper Section Trail Map (PDF)
One World Conservation Center Reserve - Bennington, VT
One World Conservation Center Reserve

413 US Rte 7 South Bennington, VT, 05201 Phone: 802-447-7419

This Reserve, a former dairy farm just a mile from the center of Bennington, is about 100 acres of open meadow, wetland and woodland. From the parking lot, a main trail crosses a meadow and passes through a wetland before it links to a cluster of trails beyond Brook. Trolley Trail follows an abandoned trolley line, with views of the wetland and the surrounding hills. Woodland trails wind through the hillside to the Birch Overlook, an old kettle pond. - Trail Map (PDF)
Fort Dummer State Park - Photo Credit VT State Parks
Fort Dummer State Park Trails

517 Old Guilford Road Guilford, VT, 05301 Phone: 802-254-2610

Easy 0.5 to 1-mile walks; great views; good for kids

By their very nature, old forts provide great vistas. Fort Dummer has three nice, easy trails. Also, this park is just south of Brattleboro, a fun place for visit, shop, stroll, and dine for adults and children. - Trail Map (PDF)
Sunrise Trail: A 1-mile loop trail across level and slightly sloping ground. Views about halfway along the trail, which is wooded the whole way. Sunset Trail is a 0.5 mile loop trail on the western side of the park, starting near the entrance and passing through the play field. The remains of the Boyden Farm, dating form the 1880s, can be seen along this trail. Farm relics include stone walls, a small shed and farmhouse.
Broad Brook Trail: This 0.5 mile trail descends from the campground to a popular swimming hole on Broad Brook. The trail is steep in sections, and therefore is a much more strenuous hike than the other trails.