Written by Arwen Turner

Hi Friends! My name is Arwen and I have been living in Rutland County for a little over a year. I love it here so much! There are lots of things to appreciate about Rutland County like the strong sense of community, how passionate folks are about decorating for holidays, the breakfast foods, and for me, my favorite thing about Rutland is all the different green spaces, parks, and hiking trails!

For experienced hikers, you may already know about some of the more “famous” trails here. The Long Trail/Appalachian trail both go through Rutland County and you can find thru-hikers all summer dawning their large packs and trekking poles from Killington to downtown Rutland, and on route 7 towards Wallingford.

For newbies, hiking can seem like a really intimidating activity, especially when you see a lot of serious hikers in your community with technical gear. For some, hiking might be something you have wanted to try but didn’t know where to start. Or maybe hiking is something you just haven’t done for a long time and are thinking about trying again.  Some barriers to getting on the trails can be experience level, ability, or just not knowing a lot about the trails in the area. Guess What? Hiking is just a term for movement in nature on a trail.  Being outside and connecting to nature has been proven to help decrease stress and anxiety, increase physical activity, and just make us feel happier.  We all deserve those feel-good magic vibes that result from spending time outside, so put on some well-treaded shoes, grab your bug spray and reusable water bottle, and let’s get on some trails in Rutland County!

Here are a few of my favorite local hikes. I have broken them down by ones that are best suited for families, individuals with accessibility needs, and for experienced hikers.

Good Trails for the Whole Fam

  • Pinecone Adventure Forest in Pine Hill Park is one of the most magical places I have ever explored. At ¼ mile length and with 12 stations that inspire creative play outdoors including fort building, fairy houses, and troll bridges, this is a favorite trail for families and young at heart adults to frequent.
  • Pittsford Rec. The trail is a 2.1 mile out and back trail located near Pittsford, Vermont that offers a chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. There is a story walk on this trail as well as a gentle creek to add ambiance to your outdoor adventures!

Accessible Trails

  • Stone Meadow Park is a lovely little park with multiple scenic walking trails that go through the middle of a meadow and around it. The trail through the middle of the meadow is gravel, 5 feet white, and marked as accessible. Honeybee hives have been installed at Stone Meadow and can be viewed from a safe distance. There is a picnic table at the park to enjoy your lunch al fresco.
  • Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail is a 10.2 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Castleton, Vermont. The trail surface is packed gravel with some grass or pumps and 6 feet wide. This is a great trail because you can turn around whenever you feel like you have finished your adventuring for the day.

Trails For Experienced Hikers

  • White Rocks Recreation Area Trail via the Long Trail is a 4 mile out and back trail near Wallingford, VT. The trail features a waterfall and is rated as moderate.  It can be muddy and slippery, so I recommend hiking poles and bringing an extra pair of shoes for the trip home.
  • Bald Mountain Trail is a 3.3-mile loop trail located near Rutland, VT. The trail is rated as moderate and is known for its vistas, blueberries, and wildflowers.  Don’t let the short distance fool you, there is a lot of up on this one.

Looking for more hikes? There are a couple of apps that are great for finding hikes by location. You can search by difficulty and length, advanced searches like family and dog friendly, and read what other folks have said about the hikes.  My two favorite Trail finding apps are AllTrails and TrailFinder (which is a VT-made app).