Let’s HikeVT! These easy, moderate, and difficult trails are all near Little Rock Pond in Mt. Tabor, Vermont. The accessible trail is a recreation path along a historic railroad bed in nearby Rupert, Vermont.
- Big Branch Picnic Area – EASY
- Little Rock Pond – MODERATE
- Green Mountain Trail Loop – DIFFICULT (Bonus hike: Homer Stone Brook Trail)
- Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
From Long Trail Parking Lot on Forest Service Road 10:
Big Branch Picnic Area via Green Mountain Trail – EASY
» 1.2 mi round trip, approx. 50 ft elevation gain
This section of the Green Mountain Trail is a short and sweet walk to a picnic area and lookout.
Park at the main Long Trail parking lot. The Green Mountain Trail starts across the road from the lot and a little west of the Long Trail crossing, so you’ll need to walk a bit on the road to reach it. Follow the blue-blazed trail along an old woods road for .6 mi until you reach a turn on your left for the Big Branch Picnic Area. Take this spur trail as it crosses the main road to reach the picnic area, which has a nice lookout.
Little Rock Pond via the Long Trail – MODERATE
» 4.4 mi round trip, approx. 324 ft elevation gain
From the main Long Trail parking lot, cross the road and head north on the white-blazed Long Trail/Appalachian Trail. The trail follows the length of Little Black Branch Brook, crossing the stream several times at it gradually climbs. After 2.2 mi you will reach the shore of scenic Little Rock Pond. Return the way you came.
Little Rock Pond is stocked yearly with brook trout, and fishing is allowed with a VT state fishing license.
Green Mountain Trail > Long Trail Loop – DIFFICULT
» 6.7 mi round trip, approx. 1,009 ft elevation gain
These directions follow the loop clockwise, but either direction is great! There are several trail intersections around the pond, so we recommend bringing a paper map with you on this route.
Park at the main Long Trail parking lot. The Green Mountain Trail starts across the road from the lot and a little west of the Long Trail crossing, so you’ll need to walk a bit on the road to reach it. Follow the blue-blazed trail along an old woods road past the turn for Big Branch Picnic Area. The trail continues to climb gradually past several viewpoints until finally reaches the summit of Green Mountain. Descend until the junction with the Little Rock Pond Loop Trail. Turn left, cross the low bridge at the north end of Little Rock Pond, and immediately come to a T intersection with the white-blazed Long Trail/Appalachian Trail.
Turn right/south on the LT and follow it along the shore of the pond. Pass the turn for Little Rock Pond Shelter and continue on the LT south for 2.2 mi back to the parking area.
For an extra challenge, or if USFS 10 is closed for the season, access this loop from the Homer Stone Brook Trail in South Wallingford. This 2.3-mile trail climbs very gradually to Little Rock Pond, intersecting the loop near the bridge at the north shore of the pond. This route is 11.3 miles with approx 1,800 ft elevation gain.
Driving Directions to Long Trail Parking Lot on USFS 10:
From Wallingford/Rutland: Head south on US-7 S. As you enter the small village of Mt. Tabor, turn right on Brooklyn Rd just after passing the Mt. Tabor Country store. Continue on Brooklyn Rd it as it winds uphill, passing a sign announcing you are entering the Green Mountain National Forest. At this point, the road becomes seasonal USFS 10. Pass the Big Branch Lookout parking lot on your right, then park in the large Long Trail Parking Lot. It is marked with signs and a kiosk.
From Manchester/East Dorset: Head north on US-7 N. As you enter the small village of Mt. Tabor, turn right on Brooklyn Rd. See above.
NOTE: USFS 10 is closed to vehicular traffic in winter. It is unplowed and closed with a gate. If the gate is closed, please seek other hike options, such as the Homer Stone Brook Trail or Griffith Lake Trails. You can check ahead of time online here.
Homer Stone Brook Trailhead on Homer Stone Road in South Wallingford: Map It
Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail:
D & H Rail Trail from Rupert Trailhead – ACCESSIBLE/EASY
This rail trail is managed by the VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. In their words:
“The Delaware & Hudson Rail Trail is a 19.8-mile section of former railroad bed … The trail is in two sections – one between Castleton and Poultney, the other between West Pawlet and Rupert. The two Vermont sections are separated by a portion of trail in New York.”
The Rupert trailhead is at the southern end of the southern section of the trail. From the designated parking area, head north/right on the trail for a scenic route through farms and forests, with plenty of spots to stop and relax along the way. There are several other designated parking areas along the rail trail, but this one is closest to the Little Rock Pond area.
Driving Directions to Rupert Trailhead of D & H Rail Trail:
From Rutland/Wallingford: Take US-7 S into Wallingford. In the center of Wallingford, turn onto VT-140 W. In 3.7 mi, stay straight on E Rd. In the village of Danby, turn right on Danby-Pawlet Rd. When the road ends in the center of Pawlet, take a left on VT-30 S, then an immediate right on School St. Merge left onto Rupert Rd. In 6.3 mi, merge right on VT-315W.
Pass through village of Rupert. .5 mi after passing town highway department building, you will see Hebron Rd on your right. Parking is in dirt lot at intersection. The rail trail crosses Hebron Rd just past the parking area.
From Manchester/Dorset: Head north on VT-30 N. Two miles north of the center of Dorset, turn left on VT-315 W. Pass through village of Rupert. .5 mi after passing town highway department building, you will see Hebron Rd on your right. Parking is in dirt lot at intersection. The rail trail crosses Hebron Rd just past the parking area.
Where to eat and drink nearby:
- Sal’s in Wallingford for pizza and after-hike drinks
- Mt. Tabor Country Store in Mt. Tabor for snacks and to-go breakfast and lunch sandwiches
- East Dorset General Store in East Dorset for snacks and to-go breakfast and lunch sandwiches
- Vermont Tap House for wood-fired pizza, pub fare, and after-hike craft beers
- Olympic Pizza for pizza and casual Mediterranean food
- Sugar and Spice in Mendon for pre-hike breakfast and maple syrup