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ow2010
12-03-2012, 05:41 PM
Hi all,

I will be joining some friends for a ski trip to Vermont's Okemo in January, but I will not be skiing. Looking for things to see/do, places of interest, hikes, in the Ludlow VT area.

Thanks for any tips!

TCD
12-03-2012, 09:46 PM
Ascutney is nearby. The waterfall partway up the trail might be very scenic when frozen.

Shrewsbury Peak is also nice, at the south end of the Killington range.

Jay H
12-04-2012, 07:12 AM
I'd second Ascutney around Okemo (which you could actually hike as well, but that would be silly if you're there to ski), unless you want a free run)...

Jay

Maddy
12-04-2012, 07:39 AM
Do you x-country ski/snowshoe? The Catamount trail is nearby.
http://www.catamounttrail.org

Hope to try Grafton Ponds this year midweek. They even allow dogs.http://graftonponds.com/activities.html
And... the Graton Inn (restaurant) in next door.
I love that area, but then again, I don't think that there an area in VT that I don't LOVE!

MichaelJ
12-04-2012, 08:10 AM
Ludlow's a neat little ski town with some nice shops, you could waste a couple hours exploring. I used to drive through there every Friday night and Monday morning. There are some excellent breakfast (http://www.thehatcheryvt.com) options (though I'm sad to read online that North Fork Bagel has closed? They made excellent bagels and were on my commute for a year), several other nice restaurants, a tasty little burrito joint (http://www.tacostacosvt.com) as well as a wicked good brick oven pizza (http://www.goodmansamericanpie.com/home.html) shop at the east end of town. Head north on 103 to Mt Holly and visit Crowley Cheese (http://www.crowleycheese-vermont.com) where they make it by hand (featured on "Dirty Jobs").
If you want to hike Okemo, it's via the Healdville Trail (http://www.vtstateparks.com/pdfs/okemo_sf_trails.pdf) in the Okemo State Forest.
You can easily shoot up Rte 100 for a half hour and pop out by Killington for any of the myriad hiking options there: Killington, Pico, Mendon, Blue Ridge, the AT & LT... On the way up you'll pass Coolidge State Forest (http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/coolidge.htm). Shrewsbury Peak is a really nice hike but note the CCC road is not open in winter (and was damaged back in Irene, too). That whole area is great walking, check out the Coolidge state forest winter trails map (http://www.vtstateparks.com/pdfs/coolidge_winter_trails.pdf).

SteveHiker
12-04-2012, 07:38 PM
If you're already in Ludlow and want to hike why drive somewhere else? Keep in mind that nothing in that area is as close as it looks on a map. None of the routes are direct and all the roads are slow. Trust me I grew up there. The Healdville Trail is a great little trail that nobody knows about. It's on the "back" side so it's in the woods and not on ski trails.

If you're looking for touristy shop type stuff, there's a little in Ludlow but there's more either south on 100 in Weston or south on 103 in Chester on the green.

I can't recommend much for places to eat since I usually mooch off family, but Goodman's American Pie is very good. The Scottish Pub in Chester is also very good.

ps MJ, Mt Holly is north on 103. Must be that GPS of yours. : )

MichaelJ
12-04-2012, 09:59 PM
Hah! And I actually think of it as "west" because going to Wallingford is westward. No idea how "east" ended up there.

ow2010
12-05-2012, 05:51 PM
Thanks all for the recommendations. What is the winter approach to Ascutney (mileage, accessibility)?

TCD
12-06-2012, 04:45 PM
The trail I took (about 30 years ago...) is the Weathersfield trail (that's the one with the waterfall). It comes from the south, off route 131. Looks like about 15 road miles from Ludlow. The trail looks to be about 2.5 - 3 miles, gains about 2200', from looking at the map. I see there are also trails from the north (Brownsville trail) and the east (Windsor trail), and a service road to the radio tower (which I would guess is closed to hiking, but I don't know). Someone else I'm sure has more recent information...

Jay H
12-10-2012, 09:40 AM
The Weathersfield trail is the only way I've hiked Ascutney and I've only hiked it once though not terribly long after Irene and the road to the trailhead was posted at the I-91 exit but the actual closure due to Irene was further west so my friend and I was able to get to the Trailhead. Wonderful trail and a great approach to the summit.

Jay

GBKDalton
12-16-2012, 02:25 PM
Just want to note that Okemo also has a hiking trail with a fire tower at the top-I did it on snowshoes a few years ago. There are also hikes in the Killington/Mendon area that are easily accessed from there.

Maddy
12-17-2012, 12:47 PM
Just want to note that Okemo also has a hiking trail with a fire tower at the top-I did it on snowshoes a few years ago. There are also hikes in the Killington/Mendon area that are easily accessed from there.

Is that by any chance the road that must be closed to traffic in winter? I think it's to the far left of the lodge. If not where is the trail?

Jay H
12-17-2012, 01:24 PM
Maddy, I believe there is a distinct non-skiing trail that goes up the backside of Okemo. I don't have the book in front of me but the Green Mountain Club's 360deg Views has a trail description of how to hike up Okemo...

Jay

Guthook
01-01-2013, 08:58 AM
Speaking of the Healdsville trail on Okemo and any of the major trails on Ascutney, does anyone know what the writer accessibility of those is? The Okemo state park map says the Healdsville trailhead isn't maintained in winter, but I don't know of there are any places nearby to park. I haven't checked yet with ascutney, but I'm guessing a few of those parking lots won't be maintained either.

GBKDalton
01-02-2013, 11:35 AM
Sorry, haven't checked this thread...The Okemo trail is not a ski trail, it climbs the back of the mountain. You drive up towards Mt. Holly to find the road with the trail. Looking at Google Maps, I believe it's either the Station Road or the Healdsville Road. You cross railroad tracks and park in a lot on the left just after the tracks. The year I did it it was very snowy and the lot was plowed, though not awesomly-more for snowmobile traffic. The car did not get stuck. I think you would be able to find a place to park not far from the trail even if it wasn't plowed.

To find this trail from the top of the moutain, you would look behind the South Face Express Quad and it's ski patrol shack, which is higher then the upper mountain lodge. We could easily see this chairlift from the fire tower.

Guthook
01-02-2013, 07:44 PM
Hey GBKDalton, you are right-- I went there today and had an interesting time at the Healdsville Trail parking area-- the road is plowed just past the railroad crossing, but is just a snowmobile trail to the actual parking lot. I got my car stuck on the snowmobile trail, stupidly following a set of tire tracks that had probably done the same earlier. After extracting myself with half an hour of digging (yay for having an avalanche shovel in the trunk), I looked back and saw another car stuck just across the snowmobile bridge. I guess I was the lucky one.

Anyway, to answer my own question from today's experience: If you drive in from Station Road, you can park just past the train tracks next to a "road closed" sign, but not in the actual Healdsville Trail parking lot. If you drive in from the Healdsville Road side, you can park just off the paved road where the snowmobile trail (VAST 7, I think) crosses.