Why Vermont? A Local Perspective

A biker stops to say hello to a cow on a bike ride

We spend a lot of time talking about Vermont and why we love living here. Most folks who haven’t spent a ton of time here usually associate skiing and snowboarding with Vermont – winter recreation is ingrained in our brave little state’s history. But what we think more people should realize is that there are few things better than a Vermont summer. From rock climbing to jumping off waterfalls, there are endless possibilities for having fun outside during the warm weather months.

Camping and Hiking

Our new favorite activity is camping on a school night. The fact that we have dozens of campsites within an hour’s drive of work is something we don’t take for granted. Spending a night in the woods (alone or with friends) is rejuvenating and a great way to break up the workweek.

A family enjoying themselves in a tent

Might we recommend you check out Waterbury Reservoir for your next midweek camping adventure? You can reserve car-access campsites ahead of time at Little River State Park or take a chance and try and snag one of the boat access sites which are first-come-first-serve. Either way, you’ll fall asleep to the calls of loons, barred owls, and frogs and we’re willing to bet it’ll put a smile on your face!

If camping isn’t your thing, let’s not forget about the Long Trail and all the other hiking trails around! From sunrise and sunset hikes to long multi-day multi-ridge hikes, you won’t be disappointed by all the Green Mountains have to offer. There are mellow kid-friendly hikes, some butt-kicking hikes, and hikes that are quick but still have incredible views if you’re short on time.

The ability to escape into the mountains in under an hour from Burlington is invaluable. Whether you’re into trail running, hiking, or just going for a walk through the woods, accessing all the trails Vermont has to offer is something we are grateful for every day.

Climbing

A climber being belayed by their partner

Bouldering, crack, slab, crimps: you name it, Vermont has it. Is sport climbing your favorite way to hang on rock? Head over to Lone Rock Point in Burlington or Upper West in Bolton for some classic climbs and lots of route and grade variety. The newly restored Bolton Dome is another great option and accessible for newer climbers.

Are you more of a boulderer? Smugglers Notch offers dozens of problems on beautiful schist boulders strewn throughout the notch. Deposited by glaciers forever ago, folks have been climbing these behemoths for decades – plus it doesn’t hurt that bouldering there means you’ll be spending the day beneath incredible glacial cliffs.

Most of the climbing areas in Vermont are maintained by CRAG-VT – check out their website for more places to pull on rocks outside! For climbing route information, grab a copy of Tough Schist by Travis Peckham or go out with your friends who know where to go!

Looking for rock other than schist? Drive a couple of extra hours and head to New Hampshire to stare in awe at the cliffs of Rumney, or cross Lake Champlain to the Adirondaks for some grippy granite boulders at Mackenzie Pond. We’re lucky to have hyperlocal crags here in VT and even luckier to be a relatively short drive to other famous areas across state lines.

Paddling and Swimming

A paddler canoeing in a quiet lake

Vermont summers are great, but they can also be suffocatingly hot when humidity levels reach 100%. This is where Vermont’s endless rivers and lakes come into play!

Sometimes it’s too hot to want to ride your bike or go on a trail run after work, but you can still get outside for a swim or paddle! The Huntington River has lots of fun swimming holes along its winding curves for you to jump in and cool off. Parking at the Volunteer’s Green in Richmond and going for a quick dip in the Winooski River is another great way to spend time near the water.

And we can’t forget Lake Champlain! There are several boat launches in and around Burlington to get you out on the water and enjoy the sunset over the Adirondacks. One of our favorites is the Colchester Point Fishing Access Area. After popping your boat into the Winooski River at Derway Cove, you paddle for 20 minutes or so and then the river opens up into the Lake right where the sun sets. The river section is a lovely opportunity for wildlife and bird watching – keep an eye out for beavers, bald eagles, and other waterfowl! Ending this quick tour de animals with a sunset on the lake is unbeatable.

If you do choose to adventure in the many watering holes Vermont has to offer, always remember to be safe. Keep an eye on water temperatures, river currents, and other potential hazards before you take a dip.

Mountain and Gravel Biking

A biker getting off the beaten path and on to the muddy one

Dirt roads. It’s one of the many things that makes Vermont Vermont. They wind through quaint towns, state parks, rolling farmland, and more – allowing for a bike ride that will provide a wide variety of beautiful scenery. Class four roads are another fun option for bike riding if you’re looking for more of a challenge – these are unmaintained and can get chunky/rutted/sloppy depending on the time of year. AKA an adventure! When the mountain bike trails and hiking trails are too wet to use in the shoulder seasons, exploring the roads of Vermont by cycle is a great way to get outside.

Singletrack. Vermont has hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. From fast, fun, and flowy to steep, chunky, and gnarly, riders of all skill levels and backgrounds will find trails they love here. Thanks to the Vermont Mountain Bike Association, our little state has become a destination for mountain biking and we are thrilled to live near such an impressive density of trail networks. Parking areas for trails are packed on summer evenings for folks gathering for after-work rides. You’ll hear hoots and hollers of joy echoing through the woods on your ride, and it never ceases to put a smile on your face. Talk about a different kind of happy hour!

Saxon Hill (maintained by the Fellowship of the Wheel) is a local favorite. Located in Essex Junction, it’s close to Burlington and offers everything from beginner terrain to large gap jumps for all riders. Perry Hill (maintained by Waterbury Area Trail Alliance) is another great network in Waterbury for those who love rock rollers and a variety of chunk and flow. There are tons of others to explore, so visit TrailForks and check out all the trails Vermont has to offer!

Let’s recap. Living in Vermont offers TONS of outdoor adventures that you don’t have to drive hours and hours to access. Whether it’s hiking, climbing, paddling, or biking, you won’t be disappointed by the variety of places to play outside.

Convinced that Vermont is awesome? Let’s keep this little secret between us.

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Published:March 24, 2021

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