Where Can We Go Hiking?
Walking is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, even if the weather is not the best. It requires no special equipment or headgear, just a comfy pair of shoes. It does not require any special skill or lessons and it is aged – defiant. Afterwards , you will feel refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated!
Country Roads – A walk along some of the unpaved roads is an easy way to see some of the prettiest sights around. Many run along the ridges overlooking the towns and villages; These back roads provide an intimate view of the Northeast Kingdom and the people who live there,
Darling Hill – A walk along historic Darling Hill offers supurb views of Burke Mountain and the valley below, as well as Willoughby Gap. The walk from the Wildflower Inn, past Mountain View Creamery to Burke green Cemetary and back is about 5 miles.
Bugbee Crossing- Another walk Darling Hill , Bugbee Crossing is a good loop, taking you from a “Y” in the road and back to the same spot. On the way, you can see Willoughby Gap presiding over the North Country in one direction and Burke Mountain in the other. You will pass through Burke Hollow, the oldest part of the town. Look for the old meeting house in the middle of the Village. The house on the corner was built as A tavern and boarding house for early travelers. At the top of the Green is the oldest burial ground in Burke.
From The Village…
Darling Hill – After lunch in the village, take a walk up Darling Hill, turn right at the top of the hill. Follow the road to the four-corners, turn right and come back to the Village. It is about 5 miles and it is a really pretty walk. The route is paved most of the way; Traffic is not very heavy, but be aware and alert you never know what kind of wildlife you may see.
Beldon Hill to tke Kirby Road – A bit more ambitious, but A true Kingdom back road. From the Village, walk up the old dirt road at Bailey’s Country Store. Turn right at the top, and travel past the fields and woods. You can talk to Steve Brown’s cows on the way; they are very curious about passers-by! One of his mother’s dogs will probably talk to you, too, but none of the critters will bother you. When you come to Mount Hunger, follow the road to the split and turn left up the hill; This is a dirt road that follows a lovely brook most of the way. When you get to the end of this road, turn left. You will be on a ridge with spectacular views of Darling Hill and Willoughby Gap, walking right under Kirby Mountain and Burke Mountain. This road comes to a split; you may either go up the hill in front of you to the point where you began on the road at the top of Beldon Hill or you may turn right, then left, through the Village. Whew! It took longer to explain than it will to walk!
Pinkham Road – At the base of Burke Mountain is a lovely old road that takes you past the Old Cutter Inn and the orchads at the Blue Wax Farm . It eventually comes out on Route 114, but you may want to turn around at the top of the hill that terminates at Route 114 , and return the way you came the views of Burke Mountain on the way back are very special.
Burke Mountain Toll Road – The toll road was built by the civilian Conservation Corps as a part of the Depression – era government Works Projects, The road is paved, snaking it’s way up the mountain. The view from the top is breath-taking in all directions . You can easily see the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and the mountains of Quebec Province . There are footpaths on top to explore . Take a lunch- it is a great place for a picnic. Are those depressions in the rocks really dinosaur footprints as the story goes? You will have to decide that on your own!
Fire Roads – The CCC built a network of fire roads criss – crossing Burke Mountain into Kirby and Victory. Some of these roads are maintained as snowmobile trhils and as Northern Star’s Ski trail system. The roads are great for hiking and mountain biking, Look for blue and orange blazes.
Although a bit more remote the trails up Bald Mountain are worth the trip. From the abandoned fire tower at the top you can easily see many of the Regions lakes and peaks, Including the Green Mountain Range to the west and Quebec’s mountains to the north. The trail from Long pond is maintained by the Westmore Accociation and is marked. The Lookouts Trail is not marked or maintained, but is well travelled and thus easily followed.
Haystack Mountain – is also accessible from Long Pond and has two maintained trails leading to the lookouts just below the summit. These are by no means the only trails in the area for great hiking. Willoughby is perhaps our most famous (and obvious!) spot, but there is more to be seen, and nothing not worth the trip.
Groton State Park – Located at the western edge of the Northeast Kindom about 45 minutes from Burke. The forest consists of five parks, each with a system of nature walks and hiking trails. This huge recreation area is maintained by the State and the trails are well marked.
Brighton State Park – Brighton State Park is located north of Burke on Route 114 in the town of Brighton, and the village of Island Pond. The park is situated on Isldnd Pond and Spectical Lake, with access from the camping area
Maidstone State Park – Maidstone Lake, the center piece of the state park, is located on the Eastern border of Vermont, a stone’s throw from the Connecticut River and New Hampshire. The park is remote and isolated, therefor relatively undistrubed. Thre are footpaths maintained by the State and is a is a great place for picnicing and swimming. It is accessible from Island Pond on Route 105 to Route 102. It is well worth the effort to get there!
There are many places in the Kingdom to explore that are easily accessible from Burke and Lyndon. Each trail leads to sights you will be glad you did not miss!
Lake Willoughby – a deep, cold, glacial lake with spectacular rock cliffs rising high on two sides. Both mountains have trails maintained by the Westmore Association to make reaching the summits relitively easy. It is well worth the effort to get there!
Mount Pisgah – is on the right side of the Lake as you approach the south. There is a parking lot on the left side of the road, with trailhead directly across. On the way to the top, you will pass the Pulpit Rock outcropping where Perigrine falcons nest. The rocky walls of the mountain are home to rare and protected Artic plants that were deposited by the retreating glaciers centuries ago. From the top you will see the entire Lake streach lazily below. The trail continues down the other side of the Mountain to Route 5A and is an easy walk back to the parking lot.
The road behind the parking lot leads to the Herbert Hawkes trail up Mount Hor. The view from the summit is of the south end of the Lake and of Mount Pisgah’s cliff face. Chances are pretty good that you will see a moose or two!
There is a trail leading down the back of Mount Hor. which terminates at an old logging road. You can easily connect with the trail up Moose Mountain and to Wheeler Pond, but It is a long hike. Plan to leave early to allow enough daylight hours to make the round trip safely.
If you choose not to walk up: but rather stay by the Lake, there is there is a trail at the base of Mount Hor, Park at the beach and you will see a trail to the left. It’s a bit rough and rocky, but it’s a fun hike, none the less.
To explore another trail system in the area, travel North On Route 5A to the old Millbrook Store, Turn right onto a logging road and park at the gate. From the gate, the marked trails lead to Mount Pisgah summit or Bald Mountain or Mount Haystack Look for markers and signs.
The Long Trail- The 263 mile Long Trail, completed in 1931, runs the length of Vermont, from Canada to Massachusettes along the spine of the Green Mountains. The trail passes through the western edge of the Northeast Kingdom at Jay Peak. It begins in Jay, north of Jay Peak Ski Area, passes through Westfield and across the historic Bailey – Hazen Military Road. It continues through Lowell and over Haystack Mountain to Tillston Peak, leaving the Northeast Kingdom at Belvidere Mountain passing into Eden. Jay is about an hour from Burke, as is Lowell. Any part of the trail would be a great day hike.
The Bailey-Hazen Military Road, was part of the Revolutionary War era route and is now Route 58, but a section of the original road in Lowell is now a walking path. There is a monument marking the signficance of the road in Westfield along Route 58, as well as at Hazen’s Notch State Park. It is worth a day trip just for the Notch! The military road continues south through the Kingdom all the way to Well’s River and across the Connecticut River to New Hampshire. As it meanders along, parts of it are unimproved road, other parts are passable only on foot.