The Green Mountain State has plenty to offer in the Great Outdoors. Read our picks for the best outdoor attractions in Vermontt for 2014.
BEST PARK FOR BIKES & HIKES:
PINE HILL PARK, Rutland
Three hundred wooded acres on Rutland’s outskirts are laced with 16 miles of well-maintained single-track trails, ideal for mountain biking, hiking, running, or just taking a stroll. The recently reopened five-mile “Carriage Trail to Proctor” is great fun. A bike-rental shop is adjacent to the trailhead. Giorgetti Athletic Complex, jct. Preville Ave. & Oak St. 802-775-7976; pinehillpark.org
BEST BIRD EXHIBITS:
VERMONT INSTITUTE OF NATURAL SCIENCE, Quechee
Eagles, falcons, owls: VINS gives a new lease on life to all injured birds, including birds of prey, and offers a unique window on the raptor world. Watch rehab specialists at work, see live raptor shows, and visit the songbird aviary. Bring a picnic, shop at the Nature Store, and walk riverside nature trails. 6565 Woodstock Road. 802-359-5000; vinsweb.org
BEST PLACE FOR SEEDS & A STROLL:
VERMONT WILDFLOWER FARM, Charlotte
Peruse more than 500 varieties of wildflower, vegetable, and herb seeds for every region and zone at this farm’s country gift shop. Visitors may stroll through six acres of fields and trails. 3488 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7). 802-425-3641; vermontwildflowerfarm.com
BEST SHORT HIKE:
MOSS GLEN FALLS, Stowe
Forming one of Vermont’s most dramatic waterfalls, Moss Glen Brook makes a foaming, 125-foot drop through a deep, narrow gorge, where you may see peregrine falcons soaring above. Turn right off Route 100 onto Randolph Road, roughly 3 miles north of Stowe village, and look for Moss Glen Falls Road on the right. The falls are a 10-minute hike from the parking area.
BEST PLACE TO STRIKE IT RICH:
CAMP PLYMOUTH STATE PARK, Ludlow
During Vermont’s 19th-century mini gold rush, prospectors sought their fortunes on Plymouth’s Buffalo Brook. Today you can pan the stream for gold at this state park on the shores of Echo Lake. Beach, boat rentals, and four furnished cottages for rent. 2008 Scout Camp Road. 802-228-2025; vtstateparks.com/htm/Plymouth.htm