Boats to Boats River Splash: July 16, 2017
Boots to Boats Section Hikes: June 17, July 1, July 15, July 29, August 12, Sept 2, Sept 16, Sept 30
Boots to Boats Public Kayak Day: June 25
Boots to Boats The Seven Hikes
► Getting Started - Find a route below
Hike 1. "Dana Hill" Up and Over!
Find this trailhead: It's on the south side of VT Route 12, 3.25 miles north of the Billings Farm &Museum in Woodstock.GPS coordinates 43.6552,-72.5662. Parking for several cars.
This steep up and over hike takes you through historic farmland now largely re-forested. From open land at the top of Dana Hill (1550 ft) –a great spot for a picnic -see Mount Ascutney to the south. Continuing on, you'll descend more gradually through dense woodland, to reach Stage Road.
Hike 2. "Totman Hill" Woods and Wetlands
Find this trailhead: 0.25 miles north of the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, on VT Rte 12, bear right on Pomfret Rd. Drive 2.6 miles. At Teago Store bear left on Stage Road. After 1 mile, the trailhead pullout is on the right. GPS coordinates 43.6719,-72.5539. Parking here for two or three cars.
This is the gentlest "Boots to Boats" hike, winding through forest, meadow and wetland with views of the pastoral Pomfret Valley and no very steep sections. Across the footbridge over Barnard Brook the trail leads through a meadow and a shady red pine plantation, between Breakneck Hill and Totman Hill and down into a wetland area. Crossing two unpaved roads it continues to Pomfret Brook, a sizeable stream with no bridge but crossable on rocks and with the help of a cable. If the crossing is difficult, try this 10 minute detour: Turn west (right) on the logging road just before descending to the brook. This brings you out on Pomfret Road just downhill from the trailhead. Be very careful on Pomfret Road: traffic moves fast!
Hike 3."Cloudland" From View to View
Find this trailhead: 0.25 miles north of the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, on VT Rte 12, bear right on Pomfret Rd. Drive 2.6 miles. At Teago Store bear right to stay on Pomfret Road. Trailhead is 1.0 miles on the left, after Bartlett Brook Road. Parking here for four cars. Beware of fast traffic on Pomfret Road.
Ladder-like wooden steps lead you up into a brooding red pine plantation. A steep switchback climb leads to an open hillside where plentiful milkweed might harbor monarch butterfly caterpillars in late summer. The viewpoint here gives a dramatic westerly vista of the Green Mountains. The trail leads down to the "Old King's Highway", an historic farm road named for a local family and bordered by stone walls and ancient sugar maples. This hike peaks at a cairn and signpost at 1713 feet, offering a panoramic view. Berry bushes along the trail provide snacks for hikers and wildlife alike. Re-entering the woods, you'll pass through a gap in a stone wall, down and up through young trees, ancient white pines and the remnants of former apple orchards, to Cloudland Road.
Hike 4: "Joe Ranger Road" Billy the Beaver
Find this trailhead: From the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, take Old River Road east for 0.9 miles. Turnleft on Cloudland Road. The AT crosses this road after 3.5 miles. GPS coordinates 43.6867,-72.5002. Parking here for three cars.
This hike climbs along the edge then enters the woods to reach its high point at Thistle Hill (1946 ft). After 2.3 miles you'll pass the junction for Thistle Hill Shelter which lies 0.2 miles from the trail and has a privy with a view. Continuing gently up and down through forest, you descend along a hayfield where bobolinks may nest in summer, then down,enjoying some open land and views, to reach Joe Ranger Road. Joe Ranger, who lived here until 1964, was a local farmer famous locally for communicating with a beaver called Billy who lived in his pond.
Hike 5. "Valley Views" Down to the White River
Find this trailhead: From Patriots Bridge in West Hartford, VT, head west on Quechee/WestHartford Road for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Joe Ranger Road. The AT crosses Joe Ranger Road after 1.8 miles. GPS coordinates 43.7054,-72.4627. Limited parking along the road.
Heading up the side of Bunker Hill, carefully traverse a short section of ledge that may be slippery. The trail by-passes the summit of Bunker Hill, named by local Revolutionary War veterans, then reaches two excellent viewpoints. At the second, after 2.3 miles, a welcome bench invites you to rest and survey the White River Valley below. Continuing down into a wetland area, crossed on wooden walkways called "puncheon", you come out onto the Quechee/West Hartford Road, leading right down to Patriots Bridge across the White River.
Just before the bridge, to your right along a short footpath, is Clifford Park, with restrooms, picnic tables, a children's playground and recreation facilities. On a hot day the White River is very inviting - swim with care.
Between hike 5 and hike 6 lies nearly one mile of road, mostly VT Route 14. This is the official route of the AT at this location.
Hike 6:"Tigertown Trail"
5 miles. Elevation change: 1400 ft up,700 ft down. Tigertown/Podunk Road West Hartford (paved), to Cossingham Road, Norwich (unpaved)
A happily rebuilt shelter This is our longest hike, with a lot of uphill walking if walked in this direction - try it the other way!
Find this trailhead: Starting at West Hartford Public Library, go west on VT Rte 14 for 0.4 miles; turn right onTigertown Road;continue 0.3 miles on Tigertown Road, passing under Interstate 89. The trailhead is at a road junction on your right just after the underpass. GPS coordinates 43.7168 -72.4002. Very limited trailhead parking. To walk along VT route 14 to the trailhead, park at West Hartford Town Library or Clifford Park (0.7 and 1.0 miles from trailhead).
From the trailhead, the AT heads upward out of the White River Valley, through trees and over some rocky terrain, crossing Podunk Road and a stream then following old woods roads. After 3.6 miles you'll find the Happy Hill Shelter just off to the left. The original shelter was built in 1918, pre-dating the AT itself. The old shelter was demolished and the present one, with a privy, was built in 1998. 0.2 miles further on, a sharp right turn (lookout for the double blaze) leads down to the Cossingham Trail, an old woods road.
Hike 7: "To the end of Vermont" into the Connecticut River Valley.
Find this trailhead: Just north of Dan and Whits Store, 319 Main St, Norwich, VT, turn left on Beaver Meadow Road. After 0.4 miles turn left on Bragg Hill Road. After 2.4 miles, turn left onto Cossingham Road (dead end).Trailhead parking for six cars is 0.2 miles along on the right. GPS coordinates43.7185,-72.3412.
To find the AT, about 0.5 miles: Continue on foot along Cossingham Road, bear left onto Cossingham Trail, then through a gate on your left, then right along the side of a field which rises to afford a superb view east to the White Mountains. Bear right through a gate, then immediately left to continue to the AT trail junction - watch carefully for the blazes - at GPS coordinates 43.4270,-72.9750. Turn left on the AT to head toward Elm Street, Norwich.
These woodlands harbor white and red trillium and lady's slipper orchids in spring. The trail winds gently up and down, passing under a power line, then descends steeply to reach an AT information kiosk on Elm Street, one mile from the center of Norwich, Vermont. GPS coordinates for Elm Street kiosk 43.7116,-72.3238. There's parking near the Elm Street kiosk for just two cars.
From the trailhead, Elm Street descends for one mile to reach Main Street, (VT Route 5) Norwich. Turning left here takes you to the shops and services of Norwich. Turning right, the road crosses the Ledyard Bridge over the Connecticut River into Hanover, New Hampshire, a distance of just over a mile along a busy road with a sidewalk.
Norwich and Hanover are official AT communities, part of an elite group of towns along the trail recognized for promoting and protecting the AT, and being neighborly to those who tread the trail. https://atcommunities.wordpress.com/. Public parking is available in both towns.
► This is where Boots become Boats!
You can reach the beginning of the waterborne section of the "Boots to Boats" trail on foot at this point. Just west of the Ledyard Bridge, still in Vermont, turn left onto River Road to walk half a mile to the Norwich Boat Landing. Or walk over the Ledyard Bridge, into Hanover, New Hampshire, and turn left into the Ledyard Boatyard. Driving directions to these landings are in the "Boats" section of the activity guide.
►Link to descriptions of Boating options
►Or go back to Adventures page
Last updated: February 15, 2017