One downside to living in rural Vermont is that to go anywhere exciting, you usually need a car. However, there are a few trails you can get to from Middlebury College by walking or public transportation, so for those of you who are staying on campus over fall break we’ve put together a list of our favorites.
The closest trail to Middlebury, is, of course, the Trail Around Middlebury. Many of you have probably walked out to the organic garden on it at some point, but the TAM extends for 16 miles around the entire town. This makes for great running or walking. One of our favorite spots on the TAM is the Gorge section in Weybridge, which runs in a loop along the Otter Creek and up through a cow pasture. The trail is well-maintained and mostly easy grade. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, try Chipman Hill, a moderately steep but short climb with views looking back towards campus at the top. There are several trails you can take that come out at a few different entry points, so go explore! An interactive map can be found at go/tamtrail. If you want a little more wilderness try taking the ACTR bus to the top of the Middlebury gap. From here you can follow the Long Trail north or south for as long as you want. For a short, moderately steep hike with good views, go to the top of the Snow Bowl on the Long Trail South. Make sure you check out Lake Pleiad on your way (there is a sign marking the short side trail). If you want a longer hike, you can stay on the LT past the top of the Snow Bowl, where it follows a narrow ridge through beautiful high-elevation forest with some partial views on both sides.
You can also head north from the gap, to Silent Cliff (0.8 mi one way) or Breadloaf Mountain (5.1 miles one way), both of which have views. If you want to do a loop, try splitting off the LT on the Burnt Hill Trail, which connects to the Norske trail at the bottom. In the winter this is a ski trail (maintained by the MMC!), but this time of year it’s not too wet to hike and you can follow it back up to Rt. 125, where it comes out across from the Snow Bowl driveway. In total this loop is 6.7 miles, moderate difficulty.
The best part about the Long Trail and the TAM is that you can make your hike as long and hard as you want. There are a lot of cool spots on these trails, so we recommend you take advantage of fall weather and fall break to go exploring!