I'm excited to have a guest post from The Adventure Dog Blog where my friend Danielle Lindblom shares great hiking tips for you and your dogs.
Class of ’97 Trail
This was my go-to hiking trail when living in Vermont. My Border Collie Mica, a puppy at the time, prompted me to seek places where he could get some good exercise and I could enjoy the great outdoors. This spot is perfect for both! There is something magical about the landscape as you explore the different trail surfaces; wonder is just around the corner.
Parking at the trailhead is easy to miss, so be sure to follow these directions to make sure you find it. There is only space enough for 3 – 4 vehicles, but there has never been more than one parked there when I have visited. It’s on grass, so be sure to watch for treacherous mud during the springtime. You might not be able to get your car back out! What’s great about this trailhead, though, is your ability to get right to it.
Want a map? Click here.
The first stretch of this trail passes between two cattle pastures. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see the unique breeds grazing here. Be sure to keep your dog on leash so that they aren’t tempted to bother the livestock! Also be aware that the fence is electric and may or may not be live. Best to stick to the wide path and enjoy the stunning views of the pastures and tall grass.
It’s less than half a mile until you reach the edge of the woods. Here, the trail winds through pine trees, and the pine needles are soft underfoot. The trail surface does include many tree roots and other natural obstacles, so watch your step! Again, it’s a good idea to keep your dog on leash through this section because there are places where barbed wire is hidden in the underbrush near the trail. It’s always quiet and peaceful beneath these trees, though. An excellent place for reflection in nature.
After a short hike, you’ll break through the trees to a large, open field. You can call it quits here, one mile from the trailhead, or you can complete a large loop through the woods nearby and come back across the field. I vote the longer trail!
Not many people take the path to the right up into the woods, but it’s worth the trek! You can feel like a true adventurer when you reach the brief, steep incline in the trail. It’s a diverse landscape and a real pleasure to hike. You won’t see many hikers or trail runners on this section; we usually had it all to ourselves.
As you continue on the loop, you’ll have great views of the Middlebury College campus. You can even take a peek at their extensive community garden or rest for a spell on the hillside. Mica and I would sometimes play a round of ChuckIt in the big field, and I don’t think he has ever been happier.
I hope you check out this trail or other sections of the Middlebury Area Land Trust’s Trail Around Middlebury. Close to town, yet far enough away that it feels like you’re in the wilderness, this is one of my favorite spots to hike and enjoy nature with my dog. Learn more about the Trail Around Middlebury here.
BIO: Danielle Lindblom is a Minnesota resident and former Vermonter who loves exploring the great outdoors with her two Border Collies, Mica and River. The Adventure Dog Blog is a source for inspiring adventure destination ideas, detailed local trail guides, and dog training tips. Her goal is to inspire others to get outside with their dogs! Check out The Adventure Dog Blog on Facebook and Instagram for inspiring photos and travel tips.
Emily Lewis is a professional dog trainer and veterinary technician. She lives in Vermont with her three rescue dogs, tuxedo cat, corn snake, crested geckos and Russian tortoise.