Trail Around Middlebury (TAM)  Rating: 5

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Trail Managed by:

Middlebury Area Land Trust
Josh Phillips, Executive Director
P.O. Box 804
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-1007
josh@maltvt.org
www.maltvt.org

Trail Details

Trailhead:

Numerous trail heads located around Middlebury.

Description:

Below are details on each section of the TAM; the descriptions generally run in a clockwise direction. Parking is available at most trailheads, and signs will indicate whether the section you are entering is available for mountain bike usage. Much of the TAM crosses private property, so please stay on the trail and respect the rights of these landowners. We appreciate your observing the rules of the trail as shown below, and thanks for using the TAM!

1) Middlebury College Trails (Easy access point)
Length: 4.6 miles. Begin on South Street, west of the Middlebury College baseball fields and just north of Porter Hospital. Follow the TAM signs west as you skirt the southern perimeter of the Middlebury College Golf Course. Upon crossing Rt. 30, you will enter the "Colin O'Neil Class of '97 Trail", designed and built by senior Environmental Studies students in conjunction with MALT. The final section from Rt.125 north to Rt. 23 goes through a mix of open and wooded land, with wonderful Adirondack views from one rocky knoll. This section ends at the Jackson Trailhead on Rt. 23 in Weybridge.

2) Jackson Trail
Length: 1.9 miles. Begin at the TAM parking area on the south side of Rt. 23, 1.5 miles north at junction with Rt. 125 in Middlebury Village. Cross Rt. 23 and start this enjoyable hike by climbing the stile over the fence near the north side of Rt. 23. Don't be surprised if you find yourself among cows! Follow the TAM signs to the lower end of a small gorge through which a seasonal stream runs. The trail runs north along the stream bank within the gorge for the first mile, then emerges into a meadow before intersecting Hamilton Rd. Turn right onto Hamilton Rd. and walk 200 yards east to the Johnson Trailhead & parking area on your left.

3) Johnson Trail (Bike accessible)
Length: 0.8 miles. Begin at the TAM parking area at the junction of Hamilton Rd. & Sheep Farm Road in Weybridge. Featuring a pond and restored wetland favored by various waterfowl, muskrats, and a variety of birds, this is a pleasant section of the TAM and an easy walk. Proceed north along a fence line to the pond, skirt the pond to the right, and enter the woods. The trail then turns east, winding through deer habitat to the Otter Creek Gorge trailhead on Horse Farm Road.

4) Otter Creek Gorge Preserve (Easy access point, Jog Stroller accessible)
Length: 1.7 miles. Begin at the parking area on Horse Farm Road, 0.2 mile north of the junction with Hamilton Rd. After walking along a meadow fence line, you enter a wooded area passing several other trails and follow the TAM down toward Otter Creek. Cross the Dan & Peggy Arnold Bridge and continue south into the New Haven section of the Otter Creek Gorge Preserve and Wright Park. A short spur open for hikers and jog strollers only starts a few hundred feet north of the main entrance and continues down to a lovely pool and protected shore of Otter Creek. Jog strollers need to return along the same route. Hikers can continue on to Belden Falls; as you walk upstream there are excellent views of the deep and narrow Otter Creek Gorge. Hike this in the springs and hear the water thundering in the gorge!
Previously, this land was the main holding of a separate land trust; whose three trustees, Willard T. Jackson, Linda O. Johnson and Steven Rockefeller; gifted the preserve to MALT. The Preserve is an important natural heritage site that showcases Champlain Valley ecosystems. The three predominant natural communities are: Valley Clayplain Forest, Transition Hardwoods Limestone Forest and Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest. In addition, the open fields and meadows are currently used for agricultural purposes. Protecting the preserve's ecological integrity is our primary stewardship objective. Guided natural history walks are scheduled annually. Enjoy the diversity of plants and animals living in the preserve. The main TAM access begins at the parking area on Horse Farm Rd, 0.2 miles north of Hamilton Rd.

5) Wright Park Trails (Easy access point, Bike and Jog Stroller accessible)
Many variations and a total network of approximately 3.8 miles. Begin either at the Belden Dam area north of the park or at the southem entrance off of Seymour St. in Middlebury. The land that now comprises Wright Park was given to the town of Middlebury in 1982 by Willard T Jackson in honor of his Middlebury College classmate Charles R. Wright. Consisting of about 150 acres, there are three main trails running north/south through the park. The White Circle trail runs next to Otter Creek and past a small bay near a thirty foot cliff, and past a marsh. The White Triangle trail runs along the eastern boundary near railroad tracks, and the TAM/White Square trail goes tnrough the central part of the park. There are several other cross trails that connect to these main
trails and form loops. Detailed maps are posted at the north and south entrances for your reference.

6) Chipman Hill (Bike and Jog Stroller accessible)
Many variations, total network approximately 2.5 miles. Access is from Springside St, High St. or from the TAM trailhead off of Seminary St. Extension, just east of the Co-operative Insurance building. Chipman Hill, the most prominent geographic feature in the town of Middlebury, has an elevation that is approximately 360 feet above that
of the town center, and affords the hiker wonderful views. In the 1940's and 50'S Chipman Hill was the site of Middlebury College's downhill ski area, and even featured a ski jump, the remains of which can still be found. Since then, the forest has regenerated and the area is a favorite of walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers.

7) Battell & Means Woods (Easy access point, Bike and Jog Stroller accessible)
Length: 1.1 miles in Battell Woods, o.7 mile in Means Woods. Begin at the parking area for Battell & Means Woods on Seminary St. Extension, east of the village of Middlebury. From the Battell/Means parking area, the TAM extends to the south on a well-used trail (the first 1500 feet of which is gravel through Battell Woods. At the southern end of Battell Woods, you'll drop in elevation onto open farmland once owned by the Sabourin family. Follow the TAM markers past the old Sabourin home and barn and along Rt. 7, to Boardman St. by G. Stone Motors. From here, you can cross Rt. 7 (CAREFULLY!) and enter the Murdock Nature Preserve to continue on the TAM.
For access to Means Woods, use the Battell/Means Woods Parking area, but begin hiking 100 yards east of the parking area on the north side of Seminary St. Extension. The TAM first follows an old town road grade, then a wooded trail north to Peterson Heights, a paved road. Follow this road north approximately 200 yards to its junction with Washington St. Extension. From this junction, follow the TAM markers through an open field toward the base of Chipman Hill, where you can join that trail network.

8) Jeffrey Murdock Nature Preserve (Bike accessible)
Length: o.6 miles. Begin on Route 7 across from G. Stone Motors or the Middlebury Union Middle School. From Route 7 (past a wooden rail fence just north of Dundon's) follow TAM signs through the 16-acre Jeffrey Murdock Nature Preserve to visit a small cave at the north end and a dedication plaque near a rock outcrop. Notice the huge, old oaks and hickories throughout these pleasant woodlands. The TAM emerges from the woods onto the fields of the Middle School. Follow the signs out the school's driveway, to the right (north) on Middle Road.

9) Boathouse Bridge (Bike accessible)
Length: 1.1 miles. Begin at the Middlebury Union Middle School on Middle Road or on South Street just north of Porter Hospital. From the Middle School travel north on Middle Road and turn left across a field, then left again (south) onto Creek Road, and then right along the edge of Otter Creek behind the Middle School playing fields. Cross Otter Creek on the "boathouse" footbridge, passing the site of the former Middlebury College boathouse. Follow the TAM signs out the dirt road, taking care when crossing the railroad tracks, which are still in regular use. The TAM turns left behind the playing fields and emerges on South Street. Across South Street the TAM continues into the Middlebury College Trails. (see beginning)

Winter Use
Much of the TAM is perfect for a winter excursion via cross-country skis or snowshoes. Below we've listed some of our favorites:

Wright Park Trails: This is an excellent area for a winter visit The park is bounded by the Otter Creek to the west and railroad tracks to the east. It is a small enclave for wildlife. You'll likely see many types of tracks such as rabbit and grouse, and possibly evidence of beaver activity. For an easy loop, follow the TAM/White Square trail markers north from the Seymour St.(south) entrance, then loop back to the south along Otter Creek. Other loops are also possible; see the detail map at the Park entrance.

Middlebury College Trails: The section of the TAM that follows the southern perimeter of the Middlebury College golf course is ideal for cross country skiing, and is well used in winter. Please stay on the marked trail and do not ski onto the golf course itself.

Johnson Trail: Because it goes past a pond that attracts wildlife, this 1.5 mile trail makes a good short outing through a pleasant realm of open fields and woods. Start at the TAM parking area either on Hamilton Rd. or Horse Farm Rd.

Volunteer Surveyors: Annie Follett, Macky Franklin, and Adam Franco

 

Last updated on 5/18/11


Comments:

Ann Delancey
Weybridge, VT
Rating: 5
9/18/11

We moved here from New Hampshire about two years ago and finally got around to taking the Wrights Park Trail and the Johnson Trail which we found to be a wonderful hike. We liked the idea of the naming of the different species of trees and we liked the bridges and the beaver activity site no beavers but fresh cutting. Wonderful for the Vermont Community and all other visitors to the nice state of Vermont.

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With generous support from

Skirack Merchants Bank Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission Addison County Regional Planning Commission Federal Highway Administration Vermont Forest Parks and Recreation Vermont Trails and Greenways Council Lake Champlain Basin Program Vermont Community Foundation Hanover Outdoors  L.L. Bean Upper Valley HEAL Partnership Mascoma Savings Bank Foundation Walmart Seven Days Rutland Regional Planning Commission

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