Hiking the Valley Part 2 - Crosstown Trail / Route 100 Loop
Music sets the mood for any task I undertake, and no time more so than when I am out hiking on our area trails. Something about cellos playing Bach as I warm up / jog through a hemlock grove just seems so right. Thirty minutes later I'm pounding back through the same grove at a full sprint agreeing with Miley Cyrus that "We Can't Stop".
The go to lately has been Elle King radio station on Pandora. I've been getting served up a whole bunch of sassy songs that fit how I feel Vermont acts in spring. Sometimes sunny and bright, sometimes a little grey and drizzly, but always with this sense of things getting ready to burst forth.
On a bright beautiful Tuesday in mid May I had a few hours after work with zero responsibilities to anyone other than myself. A blog fodder hike/walk seemed like the perfect use of my time. Which trail would I take?
Follow this blog series and I will take you on all of them. My afternoon hikes are usually determined by where I plan to finish the hike and have an early dinner. There are a few places where I have no shame about going in after a long walk and enjoying a glass of wine and a bite to eat with a bit of trail dust still on my shoes.
One of my go to dining spots in Dover is the Valley View Saloon. It has a sports bar vibe, but you are just as likely to see a family with toddlers in tow as you are to see a group of bikers or cyclists stopping for a bite mid tour. Delicious sandwiches, salads, and daily specials paired with service that makes you feel like family after just a few repeat visits. Not just a great place to dine the owners and the staff of the Saloon are generous with their time and efforts in helping to support our community with events like the annual Deerfield Valley Food Pantry Motorcycle Ride & Party held in late August every year.
There are two ways to approach this trail. If you like a bit of a challenge park your car and start up Country Club Road. Country Club Road is a loop, you'll want to start at the entrance that is directly across from Valley View Road on Route 100. Now start climbing. You will pass the historic Inn at Sawmill Farms on your left as your start to head up the hill. As you near the top make sure to look over your shoulder for a pretty view of Cooper Hill. Your almost to the top of the hill. Mount Snow's Golf Course pops up on the left and you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of Haystack Mountain and Mount Snow's summit before descending onto the Crosstown trail system.
Please note this is only one of many ways to access the Crosstown trails. Click here for a map of the entire Crosstown trail system and choose your starting point.
In the spring, the peepers are so excited they do NOT shut up. Day and night, night and day they sing, sing, sing. While it can be a little shrill, it's always a welcome sign as it heralds the beginning of spring. Fun fact: When you hear the peepers start to sing in Vermont maple sugaring season is traditionally all over. Peepers can be found adjacent to the many ponds, lakes and marshes located throughout Southern Vermont. On the Crosstown trail generations of industrious beavers have created numerous dams to create this huge marsh adjacent to the trail. As you go further along the trail you can see where they are still cutting down birches to craft bigger & better dams.
Past the marsh you have a choice to continue straight through to the Handle road access road, as well as the southern portion of the Sherwood Forest trails. Or you can turn to the right and continue north towards Mount Snow. If you are looking for a home away from home/condo vacation the Kingswood & Suntec communities have direct access to the Crosstown Trail system. Through it all you are walking/hiking through a lush forest with a mix of pines, hemlocks, maples & birches. On a hot sunny day, this is a great trail to stay cool on while enjoying the great outdoors.
Finally, you will exit the forest portion of the trail on Stugger Road. Turn to the right and start up this secret back road. As you approach the second bend you will turn right again. Follow the road and you will be heading towards the Dover Police Station with the Dover Fire Department on your left-hand side as you approach Route 100. A 1/4 mile up Route 100 on your right is the Grey Ghost Inn, another beautiful place to stay and start the Crosstown/Route 100 loop. Turn right onto Route 100 from Stugger Road and head south to the Mountain Park Plaza. Home to MHCA Dover Cinema, Dot's of Dover & First Trax. First Trax is a great go to for bike and ski rentals and sales. John Grush and his staff make sure you have everything set up for you to have a great adventure in Southern Vermont.
From the Mountain Park plaza, you will pick up the Valley Trail again. This is the first section of Valley Trail to be completely paved. From start to finish the paved portion of the path is roughly two miles round trip and is a great option for strolling through Dover on a lazy afternoon. The Valley Trail crosses behind Dover Town Park and continues behind the Dover Forge/OMT another great spot to end your walk/hike with a great sandwich, cool beverage and some fun outdoor games in their outdoor dining area.
The Valley Trail continues passing in front of Layla's Riverside Lodge before ending at the Valley View Saloon for a well-deserved rest, bite and beverage.
Hope you enjoy this trail. Make sure to tag us in any photos you take along the way. Our Instagram handle is visit_vermont or find us on Facebook