If you’re curious to know what a little drug money can do for you, make a trek to the Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert. The center, comprising more than 3000 acres of field and forestland in the southwestern corner of the state, is a nature lover’s paradise with its hiking trails and campsites. In keeping with its mission to promote sustainable farmland and forest management, the center runs workshops on trail tending, identifying wild plants and managing small herds of livestock.
At 4,800 feet, Mount Moosilauke is the tallest of the western White Mountains. The 3.8-mile Gorge Brook trail leads to its windswept granite summit. On a clear day, the view is one of the finest in New England, a sort of old-fashioned Google Earth, where you can look down on Killington, Mt. Ellen and Mansfield, and up to Mt. Washington. The Dartmouth Outing Club keeps a big log cabin open to the public at the most popular trailhead, located at the end of Ravine Road.
Vermont boasts plenty of pretty panoramas. But the state’s most dramatic landscape is the view of Lake Willoughby from atop Mt. Pisgah. When a glacier came through the area 12,000 year ago, it cut through the granite like a knife, leaving sheer cliffs on each side of the deepest lake in Vermont — Willoughby is 312 feet deep in some places. From above, it looks like shimmering blue stone — more like a Norwegian fjord than a Vermont watering hole. To catch the South Trail up Pisgah, follow Route 5A to the south end of the lake — near the nudie beach.
This famed 270-mile footpath travels the entire length of Vermont, from Massachusetts to the Canadian border. The Green Mountain Club, which maintains the trail, lists 175 miles of side trails, and nearly 70 primitive shelters. Hike the whole thing, or just a few choice stretches.
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