HONEYPOT FARMHOUSE GUIDE TO FAMILY-FRIENDLY HIKES IN SOUTHERN VERMONT
Honeypot Farmhouse is conveniently located near some truly breathtaking hikes with varying degrees of difficulty across Southern Vermont. The hiking here is so legendary that many non-skiers opt to move here for the hiking alone.
There are so many great options for all skill levels with varying degrees of time commitment and distance you want to drive. Here are a selection of our favorites, but we suggest checking out more options on the All Trails app.
A word of caution first, though, in that the cell phone service on most hikes is poor, so downloading the paid version of AllTrails so that you can save offline maps is encouraged. Also there are wild animals and ticks, so stay vigilant.
(Ludlow: 3.1 mile hike – EASY) Super-close to our house, and easy, with some great payoffs along the way like a cemetery and old camp. We recommend traversing counterclockwise so that you can “finish” near the camp and take a dip in the lake at the beach there.
A nicely paved parking lot and picnic tables greet you at the start of the hike right at the edge of the water. Take a seat and power up with a quick bite to eat before heading on your way.
Walking counterclockwise, you’ll start off crossing a short footbridge over a small dam that leaves you off at the base of a short hill up to an old cemetery that dates back to the Revolutionary War. “Brave kids” love checking out the old headstones with eerie sayings from a bygone era.
Head back down the hill and continue along the trail dotted with a few abandoned cabins that may have been outposts for nighttime camper expeditions.
As you make your way closer to the end of your journey, you’ll finally arrive at the abandoned “Lowell Lake Camp” itself. While the buildings give off some serious Jason Voorhees vibes, there are a bunch of picnic tables down by the water’s edge that make a great pitstop for a drink, bite and swim before the home-stretch back to the parking lot.
(Dorset: 2.2 mile hike – EASY) A bit of a drive, but worth it. A short and easy hike ascends along a dirt road to vast, creepy old marble quarry which is an epic payoff for such a short distance. This is where we take friends who in for a weekend and are hiking skeptics.
Dorset as a town was home to America’s first marble quarry in the US, and while there are many to explore, this is our favorite.
Park in a small, dirt lot at the base of the trail, and in warmer months, as you ascend the mountain right near the end, you’ll feel a rush of cool air from the man-made cave signaling that you are close. The quarry was carved horizontally into the side of the peak and offers plenty of room to explore.
Filled with decades of graffiti, a man-made “pool” and the occasional bat or two, the quarry is a worthwhile reward. Please take care when exploring the cave and absolutely do not swim in the water. Should you be hankering for a dip in the cool pool, the nearby Dorset Marble Quarry recreational area is a great place to stop by before you head back home.
(Peru: 1.2 mile hike – EASY) More of a stroll than a hike, but scenic and quick to traverse. Great if you’re short on time or want more to swim or picnic than hike. Super-easy for people of all ages and fitness levels, Hapgood Pond is a winner. Also, the actual winding drive here from our house through hills and farmland is stunning.
The pond is cute, parking is ample and paved, and there are bathrooms, picnic tables and decent infrastructure to make this a great option for beginners. As you hike your way around, be on the lookout for “tree fairy homes” built into a bunch of the tree-trunks. The mostly-wide trail and level elevation also make this a solid pick for trail runners.
With the swimming area situated right by the parking lot, this is also a fun option to bring a mixed group of people consisting of those who actually want to hike and others who’d prefer to just relax outside while the rest of the group make the 30-minute journey around the perimeter.
(Jamaica: 4.2 mile hike – MODERATE) Park near the top of the dam with a footbridge over to a lookout tower with a gorgeous view of the valley below and dammed river. A gentle trail takes you to the peak of the dam before a steep descent via switchback trail down the other side and into the woods.
The trail winds through lush forests and crosses streams, with a variety of plant and wildlife to see along the way. As you approach Hamilton Falls, the sound of rushing water grows louder, building anticipation for the view that awaits of the 125-foot waterfall cascading into a crystal-clear pool.
The hike to Hamilton Falls is relatively moderate in difficulty, with well-marked trails that are suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Additionally, the trail is dog-friendly, making it a great option for those who like to bring their furry friends along.
(Peru: 4.4 mile hike – MODERATE) This hike shares a parking lot with the Bromley Mountain Trail and is a section of the massive Appalachian Trail. Both Spruce Peak and Bromley Mountain see a relatively high volume of hikers as many travel far and wide to hike long stretches of the Appalachian Trail.
We like this stint in particular because it’s close to Honeypot, easier than other stretches, and provides an amazing view of the valley from the summit. Despite it being “easier”, it does pose a significant overall vertical climb and challenging sections, especially as you near the top, with the last little stretch offering you the opportunity to “work for it”.
This is a great option for those who feel they’ve “graduated” from easier hikes and want to challenge themselves a bit. That said, while maybe not the best for small children, teens and adults in moderately good shape should not have a problem. Pack a lunch to eat at the top as you enjoy the splendid view.
(Manchester: various distances – EASY to HARD) The trails at Mount Equinox provide the “Swiss Army Knife” of local hikes. The interconnected network of trails offer a variety of distances and something for people of all fitness and experience levels. Each trail is clearly color-coded and well-marked along the way.
The Equinox Resort at the base was originally built in 1769 as a small tavern before undergoing major renovations completed in 1853 to reopen as the resort that is still active today.
We like the Red Gate Trail for an easy 3.2-mile loop that has an offshoot near the peak that provides glorious views of the valley. Return to the main trail and continue along past the Waterfall Spring that was likely used by the Mohawk Native American Tribes who originally inhabited the area.
Experienced hikers can brave the 6.3-mile Blue Summit Trail which takes you all the way to Lookout Rock and takes you past many of the features of the shorter hikes in the network.
No matter which trail you try, stop by the Equinox Hotel after to relax on the deck, sip a “Bees Knees” cocktail with your crew, and tell the bartender Honeypot sent ya.
(Ludlow: 6.0 mile hike – MODERATE) If you’re looking for a scenic hike with stunning views, Ludlow Mountain via Healdville Trail is definitely worth checking out. This trail takes you up the backside of Okemo finishing you at the peak looking down at the lifts, lodge and trails. Challenging because of vertical climb and distance, but by no means too hard for anyone in moderately good shape.
It offers a diverse range of treelife, including hardwood and conifers, providing a picturesque backdrop for your family. The trail is well-maintained, making it easy to navigate.
At the summit of Ludlow Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Green Mountains and Okemo Valley. Overall, it’s a memorable and enjoyable experience that’s perfect for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike.
(Dorset: 4.3 mile hike – HARD) Generally considered a challenging hike, this one is not suggested for younger kids or older people who may have a tougher time with the steeper terrain towards the end. This is a solid option for those who want to push themselves.
Gilbert’s Lookout provides a stunning wide-angle view of the surrounding area, with the White Mountains and the Connecticut River Valley visible in the distance. The lookout point is situated high on a cliff, providing a breathtaking perspective that is hard to match.
The additional stretch at the end all the way up to Owl’s Head is an adventure in itself. The prominent rock formation juts out from the surrounding forest, creating a unique and memorable experience. The rock formation itself is a great spot to take in the scenery, with a perfect vantage point for viewing the entire valley.
- Research the trail before you go: Before you hit the trail, make sure you know what to expect.
- Start early: The last thing you want is for darkness to fall while you’re in the middle of the woods
- Check the weather: Downpours or extreme heat can play a big role in your hiking experience.
- Dress appropriately: Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and footwear that is suitable for the weather and the terrain. Dress in layers so that you can adjust your clothing as needed.
- Bring plenty of water: Staying hydrated at all times is key.
- Bring snacks: Trail mix, energy bars, and other high-protein snacks that are easy to pack.
- Stay on the trail: Straying from the trail can be dangerous, so make sure to stay on the marked path.
- First-aid kit: A basic pack should include bandages, antiseptic, and supplies to treat minor injuries.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin!
- Insect repellent: Ticks are everywhere!
- Whistle or bear horn: Use it to scare a bear or signal for help if you get lost or injured.
- Cell phone: Download the paid version of the AllTrails app and download the specific trail map before you leave the house. Remember that cell phone service can be spotty in remote areas.
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Welcome to Honeypot Farmhouse— Your family's year-round VT retreat. We're under 10 miles from Okemo & Magic, 14 miles from Bromley, & less than 35 miles from Stratton, Mt Snow & Killington. We just renovated our 1850s home to be a balance of modern and cozy; where we—and you—will never want to leave. Come for a fun-filled weekend on the mountains skiing or a relaxing getaway in nature. End your day curled up by the fire in our cozy Great Room or over a glass of wine in our open-concept kitchen