MANCHESTER >> With summer in full swing, the forest beckons us to be outside, breathe fresh air, observe nature's subtleties, or explore some place new. The Green Mountain National Forest provides many opportunities and settings for outdoor recreation experiences and more.
Looking for somewhere to hike? There are over 900 miles of trails on the Green Mountain National Forest for hiking and mountain biking. In partnership with organizations such as the Green Mountain Club and Vermont Mountain Biking Association, these trails are maintained primarily by volunteers.
One option for hiking near Manchester is parking at the Appalachian/Long (AT/LT) trail parking lot on Forest Road 10 in Mount Tabor and hiking north on the AT/LT to scenic Little Rock Pond within the Robert T. Stafford White Rocks National Recreation Area. This trail can be retraced back for a relatively easy four mile round trip hike. Or, visitors can continue around Little Rock Pond and follow the Green Mountain trail up and over the name-sake Mountain and back to the AT/LT trailhead via the Green Mountain Connector trail. This provides just over 7 miles of semi-challenging terrain with opportunities to see several Vermont forest types and a few great vistas of Little Rock Pond.
The Green Mountain National Forest is also a great place to take your family and friends camping. There are several shelters and tenting areas situated along the AT/LT for backpacking. For those interested in camping closer to front-country facilities, Hapgood Pond Recreation Area in Peru provides 28 non-electric campsites, two pavilions available for day use and a bath house with flush toilets and showers. The 12 acre namesake pond is stocked annually with brook trout and has a small beach perfect for family enjoyment. Campsites and pavilion reservations can now be made online at http://www.recreation.gov There are other developed campgrounds on the GMNF as well as countless opportunities for dispersed camping along roads and trails all over the forest. Please be sure to pay recreation site fees or make a donation as they are used to maintain amenities at the site, such as trails and toilet facilities.
There are over 400,000 acres providing the land base for the Green Mountain National Forest. The opportunities for recreation on National Forest Service lands in Vermont are vast available to anyone wanting a forest adventure. You only need to heed the call inviting you to come outside and play.
Feel free to visit the Manchester Ranger Station located at 2538 Depot Street, Manchester Center to ask questions, look at a map or to start creating that bucket list of places to visit. The office can also be reached at (802) 362-2307.