Summer Outdoor Recreation
Summer in Addison County is beautiful. The weather is nice and provides ample opportunities to get outside. Enjoy the sun while biking, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, or swimming!
You can create your own route or ride one of nine bicycle loops developed by Lake Champlain Bikeways, a 1,600+ mile network of bicycle routes in the Lake Champlain Valley of Vermont, New York, and Québec. In Addison County loops range in difficulty—for example, an easy loop with a continuous panorama of fields and mountains along Lake Champlain or a more challenging loop offering two mountain climbs over the Middlebury and Brandon gaps. Several of the routes are a mix of paved and hard-packed dirt roads. Tour one of the loops detailed here, in the Heart of Vermont Bikeways map. In addition, check out the Vergennes Partnership's suggested bicycle loops.
Addison County’s first trail designed and constructed specifically for mountain biking is within the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, this 9-mile circuit offers vistas across southern Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks on a trail ascending to an amazing ridge line, descending through ferny glades and winding through the boulder-strewn Leicester Hollow, back to the Silver Lake Campground. With the assistance of the U.S. Forest Service, this is a one-of-a-kind system and the first on federal land in Vermont.
The Golf Club at Basin Harbor features an 18-hole championship golf course. With six sets of tees, the course caters to all skills and abilities of golfers.
Neshobe Golf Club is a beautiful 18-hole course located in Brandon, Vermont. The par-72 Championship course lies amongst woods, farms, pastureland, and rolling hills. While Neshobe Golf Course affords beautiful mountain views in all directions, it is not a typical “mountain course,” having no severe up- or down-hill lies or blind shots.
The Ralph Myhre Golf Course is an 18-hole public course owned and operated by Middlebury College. The course is open for play from April through November 1, weather permitting.
Hikes and Walks
Addison County has many great areas in which to hike. Download our Area Hikes Guide for suggested trails around the county or scheck out the specific trails below.
The Green Mountain National Forest's diverse landscapes range from the rugged exposed heights of the Green Mountains to quiet secluded hollows in the Wilderness. The Forest was established in 1932 after uncontrolled logging, fire, and flooding ravaged the state of Vermont. Today the Green Mountain National Forest has grown--tract by tract--to more than 400,000 acres that stretch across nearly two-thirds the length of Vermont.
Portions of Vermont's Long Trail go through and can be accessed by side trails in Addison County.
Explore Moosalamoo's cliffs, mountain lakes, streams, diversity of plants, and animals. Retrace the footsteps of its first inhabitants and early settlers. Experience bird watching, heritage exploring, berry picking, hiking, skiing, biking, and camping. Moosalamoo is located between Route 125 and Route 73 within the Green Mountain National Forest. The most popular access points are Route 53 near Branbury State Park and along the Goshen-Ripton Road.
ROBERT FROST INTERPRETIVE TRAIL
A 1.3-mile accessible loop that has some of the poet’s work posted along the way.
Commonly referred to as the TAM, the trail is a 20-mile footpath, encircling the town of Middlebury and linking several hundred acres of town land, conserved properties, schools, and other local landmarks.
A 3/4-mile nature walk along the banks of the Otter Creek Basin with easy views of the 37-foot waterfall as it plunges towards Lake Champlain, 7 miles to the west.
DON'T HAVE YOUR OWN HORSE
Mountain Top Inn & Resort
Experienced rider or new to the saddle, make horseback riding part of your Vermont summer/fall vacation plans. Enjoy the seclusion and immersion in nature as you tour Mountain Top’s miles of trails. They have multiple riding options to choose from.
Pond Hill Ranch
Pond Hill Ranch is open 7 days a week and offer hour-long rides for anyone over the age of eight. They also offer riding lessons in both indoor and outdoor facilities.
HAVE YOUR OWN HORSE
In the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF), horses may be ridden on Forest Service roads open to vehicular traffic. The Forest Plan also allows horseback riding on designated trails, which you will see marked with horse symbols. The North Zone of the GMNF has limited opportunities for horseback riding on trails and many of the parking areas may be tricky for horse trailers.
Horse Trails in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area include:
- Silver Lake Trail (Forest Trail (FT) 127) which runs concurrently with Forest Road 27 (a gated road open only to maintenance vehicles)
- Nettles (FT 141)
- Widow’s Clearing (FT 142)
- Horseshoe (FT 143.08) -- The trail is managed for horses from Forest Road (FR) 32 (across from FR24) to junction with Goshen Dam Trail
- Moosalamoo Area Ski (FT 143.12) -- The trail is managed for horses from FR 32 to FT 141 (0.1 miles)
- Minnie Baker (FT 253)
- Goshen Dam (FT 257)
- Water Tower Connector (FT 278.01)
- Water Tower Sundown (FT 278.02)
Here is a suggested 7-mile route:
- Park at Chatfield Trailhead (just off Route 125 in Ripton)
- Ride Widow’s Clearing Trail west from Chatfield (not down FR 67)
- When you come to a junction with the Sundown Trail, you can stay left to stay on Widow’s Clearing Trail (reducing ride down road later) or you can go right onto Sundown Trail to extend your ride with a longer road ride). Either way, you will intersect Forest Road (FR) 32 (a dirt road).
- Take left onto FR 32 and ride south to FR 103.
- Take left onto 103 (where you will see horse symbol) which is known as Horseshoe Trail. There is a gate at the start of 103 but vegetation has been cleared to the left of it to allow for horse passage.
- Ride east towards Sugar Hill Reservoir. When you come to a trail junction, stay left (following horse symbols) to intersect with FR 67. Do not ride over the dam-it is private property of a power company.
- Take FR 67 north back to Chatfield parking lot.
Waterfalls and Swimming Holes
Bartlett Falls, also called Bristol Falls or New Haven River Gorge, is easily accessible from Bristol. With a deep pool that the falls tumble into, this is a popular spot for cliff-jumping, however, another shallow pool provides the opportunity for wading.
Branbury is located on the eastern shore of Lake Dunmore at the base of Mt. Moosalamoo. The 1000-foot natural sandy beach, clean, clear Lake Dunmore, and the large open grassy areas make the area very popular for swimming, sunning, or picnicking.
Button Bay, a 253-acre park, is located on a bluff in Ferrisburgh along the 130-mile-long Lake Champlain.
FALLS OF LANA
Across from Lake Dunmore, these falls live up to their lovely name. The trail to the falls is part of the network of trails in the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area.
About 1.1 miles east of the junction with Route 116, there’s an informal pull out. Below, there is a gorge, falls, and swimming area. The gorge is popular with kayakers when the water is high and is a pretty spot to enjoy on a hot day.