Hiking Vermont: 60 of Vermont’s Greatest Hiking Adventures
by Larry Pletcher (Updated and revised by Tom Seymour) (Falcon Guides)
© 2008 Larry Pletcher (Updated and revised by Tom Seymour)/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
If you are going to do this, by all means do the Birch Pond trail to the top of Mt. Antone summit. The views are spectacular all the way to the Adirondacks. Take a lunch and eat it at the Summit. It was challenging the last 1/4 up this specific trail. Many trails and roads are at Merck but this is the best. The rest are basically for leisure hikes.
My wife and walked the main trail on a crisp January day. The Merck Woods is a short drive from Manchester, Vermont, where we had gone for a medical meeting. Somehow we missed the sign indicating the entrance, a one-lane dirt road which was (fortunately) frozen. The "Farmland" part is no lie - we passed horses, sheep, and the henhouse to get to the trails. Unfortunately there was a thick ice patina on the trail which made the ascent treacherous - my wife fell twice. We were going to double back on the Kouwenhoven trail, but after a quarter mile or so it just ... disappeared. All in all a pleasant walk on a pleasant trail, but nothing spectacular. If you're in the area, visit by all means. Don't go out of the way to make it your destination.
Beautiful beyond all comparison. Take the time, indulge what is offered. Spectacular vistas. This is the road less traveled by not for weekend New Yorkers looking for a paved roads and escalators.
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