Don’t Forget the National Forests

Our Adventure on Bromley Mountain, Vermont

We have written before about how any trip can be an opportunity to get in some trail time. You can read about that here. Recently we took a trip that was intentionally for family time and specifically for TRAIL FAMILY time. That trip took us part way up a mountain in Vermont!

As we were mapping out our route to Tim’s cousin’s house in northern Vermont, we wanted to see if we would be going by any trails on the way. It turned out that we were driving right past Bromley Mountain near Manchester, VT. What a great opportunity! It pays off to plan ahead in order to make the most out of any trip. Remember that old saying that “getting there is half the fun.” It will definitely be true if you take a little time to research your route and find some treasures along the way.

Sign at the Ranger Station

Bromley Mountain is located in the Green Mountain National Forest. The Appalachian Trail and The Long Trail both run through it. The Green Mountain National Forest area covers about 800,000 acres in Vermont and was founded to prevent over logging. Here is a link to the trail map. Our National Forests are an incredibly important part of conservation. An added bonus is that you can usually hike these trails for free! You can read more about that here on the National Forests website.  We often think about state parks for hikes, but how many times do we forget about our national forests?

The Appalachian Trail (AT) is a famous multi-state trail that begins in Georgia at Springer Mountain and ends in Maine at Mount Katahdin. Hikers known as through-hikers will follow this trail over an eight month span. Believe it or not, this is on our TRAIL FAMILY bucket list. It will have to wait quite a few years though. We ran into several through-hikers at Bromley mountain that day. They were full of interesting stories.

Three little hikers with their Smokey Bear frisbees they got at the Ranger Station

We pulled into the parking lot at the trailhead expecting to just walk a little way to stretch our legs after being in the car for several hours. Because of that, we didn’t bother changing out of our crocs and flip-flops into sneakers. You may notice this in the photos. We recommend that you always wear appropriate footwear while hiking. We are thankful that none of us slipped and fell or hurt a foot while we were on the mountain. 

We went much further on this hike than we planned because it was amazing. This hike was sensational! Despite the difficulty of the terrain, the reason we went so far is that the kids did not want to stop. If we had more time and were wearing our sneakers, I’m sure that we would have gone all the way to the summit! 

Lexi on top of the world

The girls really enjoyed the challenge of the climb and some side excursions to climb rocks by the trail. There were small foot bridges over streams, a larger bridge over a small waterfall, and stone staircases. All of these features made this hike memorable. 

We encountered dozens of friendly hikers on our way up. We met groups of locals who gave us some tips and tricks for the next time we visit the area. There were even some international hikers on the trail that day who were from France. This is one feature of the TRAIL FAMILY lifestyle that we appreciate the most, being able to meet new people. The outdoors community is full of the most amazing and friendly people!

The “big bridge” and stone staircase

Not all of your hikes will be big adventures. But when you make a family trip into a purposeful TRAIL FAMILY trip, we hope that you can plot out some great excursions for your crew, make some amazing memories, and meet some wonderful people too!

What trips are you planning to take as a TRAIL FAMILY? Have you researched your route to find some diamonds in the rough? What is the closest national forest to you, and what hiking opportunities do they have?

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