Vermont Hiking Trails
Faulkner Trail, Mount Tom (3 miles)
|The Park and its trails were carefully created as a place of quiet respite and healthy exercise by Marianne Faulkner in memory of her husband, Edward Daniels Faulkner. The trail
design is based on the cardiac rehabilitation trails of the famous spas in Baden-Baden, Germany, where people from all over the world came to take the cure.
The Hike: As the crow flies, the distance to the top of the South Peak of Mount Tom is only about .05 miles long (see map.) However, this easygoing trail features so many switchbacks that the trail to South Peak is actually 1.5 miles long. Looping paths crisscross the the face of the hill. Hikers will pass occasional benches by the side of the trail that are ideal for resting in the piney shade. This walk is about 45 minutes for the average hiker and provides a magical view of the village of Woodstock.
Anyone wearing street shoes can reach the scenic overlook, but the last push to the top of the hill calls for more substantial footwear. Crossing directly over the knoll, the trail dips briefly for 30 yards, then begins the moderate 100 yard climb that ends at the summit of South Peak. Stone steps and guywires prevent falls near hazardous drops and make this final segment less difficult that it looks. The Faulkner Trail ends in the broad swath of a grass covered carriage road near a log bench with majestic views of the Ottauquechee River, and pastures creeping out of the valleys onto surrounding hills.
Explorers with ample time can extend their hike by descending the gradual carriage road northwest from the South Peak summit. This elegant path wanders through manicured forests, impressive stone abutments, and pastoral meadows to a small pond called the Pogue. The Pogue can also be reached via the Prosper Road trailhead (see the Pogue Loop).
Getting There: Start at the Woodstock town green, walk over the covered Middle Bridge to River Street. Go straight on to Mountain Ave. that will bear left to reach Faulkner Park. The trail departs from both corners at the rear of Faulkner Park. There is very little parking space at the park. Free parking is available at the lot off Pleasant St., just off Elm St.
Click "View on Google Maps" for a bigger map and driving directions.