Thursday, November 30, 2006

Moss Glen Falls | Young Adventurers Club | UPDATE

I've been meaning to post about Moss Glen Falls for a while now. A friend, who also has two little kids, has a great book called Best Hikes With Children Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine. So, we decided to test our four-year-olds and check to see if they were able to do some fun local hikes. The book raved about a hike in Stowe up the side of Moss Glen Falls. So, last October, we packed a lunch, put the kids in their boots and headed off to Stowe.

The trailhead for the hike is easy to find. You go about three miles north of Stowe on Rt. 100 until you see Randolph Rd. bear off to the right. Follow Randolph Rd. to Moss Glen Falls Rd. and make a right. The trailhead and parking are about a quarter of a mile down the road on the left.

The book promised that kids would never bitch, whine, moan or complain at any point during the hike because there is so much for them to see. And, thank goodness, the book was right. The first part of the trail has the kids walking on wooden planks through a swampy area. Then the path goes along a stream where there are plenty of places for the kids to stand by the waterside and chuck rocks and sticks into the water.
Then you reach the base of the falls. The climb up is a bit steep but the exposed tree roots work well as steps for the kids. Then about halfway up, you finally get a good view of the falls. Oh, what a view. The place is gorgeous.
As you can see, the waterfall is actually a series of falls that combine to make this piece of natural beauty. The only tricky part of the hike is that the drop off the cliff will kill you. It's about a 100 foot drop at some points. So, my friend and I made sure we kept ourselves between the edge of the ledge and the kids. But, even ten feet back from the edge, the views excited the kids (and us).

The path from the parking lot to the top of the falls is probably a half-mile. So, it's fairly short but still long enough to keep the kids happy. At the top of the falls, we walked along the ravine until the banks lowered to the river's edge. We found a nice spot to have lunch before heading back down.
On the way up, I hadn't turned around and missed the beautiful views across Stowe of Mt. Mansfield. However, we caught them on the way down. There was still enough color in the trees to make for a classic Vermont view.
Having said all of that, I don't want to give the impression that the hike up the falls is only for kids. My wife and I went back a few weeks later without the kids and loved it again. So, if you are in the area and have 45 minutes of free time, check out the falls.

So, now that we know our kids can handle some kid-friendly hikes, we are going to try out a new program from the Montpelier Section of the Green Mountain Club called the Young Adventurers Club. It's geared towards kids 6 and under but is open to anyone.

The idea is to put together outdoor activities during the winter months that will get the kids outside and enjoying our local natural beauty. One of the things I like about the program is that the activities are all in the Montpelier area. So, they kids won't get cranky in the car and, most importantly, won't fall asleep on the way home. I'd rather have them sleep at night than during the day in the car after a day of winter hiking. This stuff is a guaranteed good night sleep.

So, here's the schedule:

Adventure Schedule
December 9 - KICKOFF! - Paine Mountain Hike & Cocoa Slurp, Kids Medium, Lexi Shear 229-9810
January 6 - Snowshoe North Branch Park, Kids Easy, Dave Blumenthal 229-9810
January 13 - Snowshoe Hubbard Park, Kids Easy, Alyssa Krebs 485-4312
February 3 - Snowshoe Spruce Mountain, Kids Difficult, Matt Krebs 485-4312
February 18 - Learn Cross Country Skiing at Morse Farm, Kids Easy, Dave Blumenthal 229-9810
March 18 - Winter Wander in Weisner Woods, Kids Easy, Mike Wetherell 223-8493
April 1 - Spring Ski/Walk to Smugglers’ Notch, Kids Medium, Cara Robechek 223-3333

Now we just need some snow.

UPDATE: jds has some great info in the comments that I wanted to bring up to the post:

Those falls are #4 in the Best Falls of the Northeast, as arranged by the fantastic website Waterfalls of the Northeastern United States. In that same area is another not to be missed set of falls, Bingham Falls at #8. The trip there is less of a hike and more of a walk, except for a short huffer on the way back. My son walked the majority of it when he was just over a year old. But he's a bit of a bruser.

Speaking of Moss Glen, there's another set of falls on Rt. 100 that share the same. The one in Granville, #19 on that list, is located a bit south of Warren and right on the road. It doesn't have the natural surroundings as the others, but still beautiful.

And why we are talking about falls on Rt 100, let's not forget about the best swimming hole in central VT, Warren Falls. Warren Falls are as impressive a set of falls as anything in the waterfall heaven of Western, NC, even if the weather isn't good for taking a dip.

BTW, I got so caught up on falls along the Rt 100 corridor that I forgot to mention the best of the best, located in our proverbial back yard! Benjamin Falls is situated between Barre and Montpelier behind the VW dealership. If you follow the stream up river from the parking lot (west side is best) you'll come across a raging cascade that goes on and on. No official trail exists and it is on private property, so proceed at your own risk. But as any old timer will tell you, it's definately a gem.

5 comments:

David said...

First off, that hike looks gorgeous. Really makes me feel how I missed VT this fall. Colors were none existent in this area and I was in VT past peak. I have so much to look forward to this spring. I will have to pick up that book since it will apply to me as well.
That program sounds great, something I can ask the kids about when I am back in town....hopefully they can handle it but I have no doubts about their ability to dominate at the cocoa slurp. Nice to have you back posting again.

jds said...

Those falls are #4 in the Best Falls of the Northeast, as arranged by the fantastic website Waterfalls of the Northeastern United States. In that same area is another not to be missed set of falls, Bingham Falls at #8. The trip there is less of a hike and more of a walk, except for a short huffer on the way back. My son walked the majority of it when he was just over a year old. But he's a bit of a bruser.

Speaking of Moss Glen, there's another set of falls on Rt. 100 that share the same. The one in Granville, #19 on that list, is located a bit south of Warren and right on the road. It doesn't have the natural surroundings as the others, but still beautiful.

And why we are talking about falls on Rt 100, let's not forget about the best swimming hole in central VT, Warren Falls. Warren Falls are as impressive a set of falls as anything in the waterfall heaven of Western, NC, even if the weather isn't good for taking a dip.

jds said...

BTW,
I got so caught up on falls along the Rt 100 corridor that I forgot to mention the best of the best, located in our proverbial back yard! Benjamin Falls is situated between Barre and Montpelier behind the VW dealership. If you follow the stream up river from the parking lot (west side is best) you'll come across a raging cascade that goes on and on. No official trail exists and it is on private property, so proceed at your own risk. But as any old timer will tell you, it's definately a gem.

David said...

jds thanks for the link, that is a sweet website, it will surely come in handy.

Dave Blumenthal said...

Cheers! We hope that since you wrote this bit you've actually joined us on a Young Adventurers Club adventure. Spread the word about YAC.