Walks & Hikes
Walks and Hikes are great ways to explore the natural beauty and history of Manchester & the Mountains.
Boswell Botany Trail at The Southern Vermont Arts Center
The Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Boswell Botany Trail, a rambling, three-quarter mile nature trail dotted with rustic seats and benches, began its long career in 1917 as the nature walk of the original Webster estate. It was officially designated as the Boswell Botany Trail, in honor of its creator, Mrs. Harold “Petie” Boswell, in 1964. The trail was re-created and greatly expanded in 2001 thanks to funds from the Nichols Foundation. Replete with its wonderfully bucolic wildflower walk, the Boswell Botany Trail boasts stately white birches, native orchids, grasses and moss, and most of the 67 varieties of fern found in Vermont, all in a unique glacial microclimate. The trail is easily explored at a leisurely pace by most walkers in a half-hour or less.
The Equinox Preserve consists of over 914 acres on the slopes of Mt Equinox in Manchester, VT. In 1996, owners of the Equinox Resort donated conservation easements to the Vermont Land Trust to permanently protect this land. The Equinox Resort owns the Preserve, which is managed by the Equinox Preservation Trust, the Equinox Preservation Trust Forest and Trails Steward and Equinox Resort staff. Download the map.
Lye Brook Falls, Manchester, Vermont
The trail, marked with blue blazes, enters the 15,680-acre Lye Brook Wilderness following along Lye Brook. Utilizing 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 challenging, which is in keeping with Wilderness management practices. A century ago, this area had been heavily logged, with railroads, charcoal kilns, and sawmills dotting the landscape. The land has reverted back to its natural state, but those wishing to explore can still find the remains of many of these turn of the century industries. The 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 extremely dangerous and climbing the falls is not recommended. How to get to the trailhead: Starting in the town of Manchester, From Route 7A, turn east on Depot Street (Routes 11/30) and drive for about 1/2 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 park.
Merck Forest & Farmland Center, Rupert, Vermont
All of Merck Forest and Farmland Center’s trails are open year-round for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Our trail system, with over 30 miles of trails on 3,000 acres of land, is well-marked, and the trail terrain is variable: some loops cover easy-to-moderate terrain (great options for family treks), while other trails are steeper and rocky (more-suited to the experienced hiker). Many trails go through the forest, around the farm, travel along streams, and include beautiful views of the Taconic and Adirondack Mountains. Visit our website for ideas on the best trails for you to explore and for more information on trail use at Merck Forest and Farmland Center. Our Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 802.394.7836 Trail information.
West River Trail in Southern Vermont
The WRT is a 36-mile scenic (former railbed) all-season trail through the West River Valley. When connected, sections of the trail will link Brattleboro, Dummerston, Newfane, Townshend, Jamaica and South Londonderry. To get a map and for more information visit their website.