To the Door and From the Door Hiking in Vermont: Traverse the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area
Many folks ask for a detail of what the to-the-door-from-the-door hike traversing the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area is like. Depending upon room availability at the inns for the dates you have in mind, we may book this itinerary south-to-north or north-to-south. Trail descriptions headed in both directions are included in your orientation material. Below is an elaboration of the hike, headed south-to-north.
Arrive at The Brandon Inn in Brandon for afternoon check-in on day #1, and receive an in-person overview of your maps and trail descriptions for your tour. Dinner, overnight, and breakfast at the inn. If the inn is not serving dinner that night, a deduction of $40 per person is made from the package quote below; one of the top restaurants in Vermont, Chef Robert’s Cafe Provence, is a short sidewalk stroll around the corner from the inn. Dinner in that case would be off package / on your own / out of pocket.
In the morning on day #2, stow your luggage in your car after breakfast, and before departure, collect your trail lunches and fill your water bottles. In your car, follow the Brandon Inn innkeeper or manager as they drive their car to Blueberry Hill. Drop off your car, and the Brandon Inn innkeeper will shuttle you in their car to the trailhead either at Fay Road or the Leicester Hollow, where you begin your one-way hike. You are independent with an excellent map and our trail description during the day; Silver Lake is the recommended stop for lunch. The first four-to-five mile segment is your choice of a gentle abandoned road which travels the Leicester Hollow floor up to Silver Lake or a more challenging footpath to the west called the Chandler Ridge which, though it has limited views, does offer more of a hiking experience and a couple of rewarding glimpses of Silver Lake and Lake Dunmore toward the end. After lunch at the lake, the usual route takes you into Blueberry hill’s cross-country ski trail system. Total for the day about 9 miles. (An optional excursion down to the Falls of Lana from Silver Lake is popular with those looking for some more distance; it adds a couple of miles total.) Arrive at Blueberry Hill on foot; your car and luggage await you. Dinner, overnight, and breakfast at the inn.
On morning #3, after breakfast at the inn, stow your luggage in your car after breakfast, and then one driver follows the Blueberry Hill innkeeper driving his car to the Chatfield or Widow’s Clearing trailhead (your choice). Drop off your car, and your breakfast innkeeper shuttles the driver back to Blueberry Hill, where you will collect your trail lunches, fill water bottles, and head out the door on foot. You are independent with an excellent map and our trail description during the day. The hike to Chatfield is 8 miles of easy to moderate terrain through the woods (following the Catamount Trail much of the way); Widow’s Clearing is less than 5 miles from Blueberry Hill. Both of these hikes are entirely on the east side of Forest Road 32. Your car and luggage await you at your chosen trailhead; drive on through the picturesque Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College and on to Chipman Inn for dinner, overnight, and breakfast.
On day #4, since you are not expected at any inn, you will not have a to-the-door option but rather be taking advantage of day hiking: you can choose any of a number of hikes in the vicinity of Chipman Inn, with innkeeper assistance for logistics (trailhead shuttles, etc.). There are more difficult miles available on the Long Trail above Blueberry Hill or easier miles on the side systems, including around Sugar Hill Reservoir (very pretty picnic spot) and in Robert Frost Country.
This three-night traverse is an excellent core to use as the center of a longer trip, adding inns and hiking days south and north on either end of the Moosalamoo traverse for as many days as you like.