This run is a little on the short side, measuring in at a little over 3 miles with 400 feet of climbing, but can tied in with other stretches of road or trail (some of which I will probably write up before the summer is done) to make for longer loops. I happened across this trail while mountain biking years ago, and some subsequent logging activity has made it a little too technical for my modest mountain biking skills. Other than a few short sections of tiptoeing around deep quagmires, it does make for a scenic little run.
Start this one at the Oak Ridge trail head, about a mile uphill from the East Middlebury bridge on Rt 125. Run downhill a few hundred yards before making the left turn on Upper Plains Road, a heavily shaded dirt road. If you look carefully to both sides you will see many trails in various states of wear. Most of these have been cut by ATV’ers, and some can be fun to explore by bike or on foot, but not today. After about a mile on this quiet lane, you will see a steel gate on your left. Run around this gate and take a series of switchbacks on the 4wd road, which is not particularly steep. About a half mile later, you will emerge into the gem of this trail, a large hillside field which I call the “Secret Meadow”. As you can see from the picture below, it has great Adirondack Views, wildflower, and a small pond. Take a second and enjoy!
Although this meadow and the surrounding land do not appear to be posted, I believe this is private property, as I once met the owner while passing through a few years ago. He did not mind my passing through at the time. I did notice a small backhoe at the edge of the meadow on this run, however, which leads me to wonder if the owner might be developing the land for building. Until then, I will continue to enjoy this quiet and scenic spot.
Continue, following the now faint 4wd track around the far right side of the meadow until it heads into the woods at the back of the meadow and becomes very easy to follow. The trail now heads into a heavily wooded, lushly vegetated canyon for a short while. Moose tracks are usually easy to see in the muck at the edge of the small seasonal pond to your left, and bear scat is often apparent on the trail, although I have never seen either here “in the flesh”. This is also a small waterfall descending from the steep hillside on your right.
The trail gets a little rougher now, and you have to be careful to stay on the major path due to crisscrossing logging paths which are now mostly overgrown. After passing through one major logging clearing, the trail descends to the well-maintained Oak Ridge trail. This run concludes with an easy left turn descent, bringing you back to your car in the parking lot. Apologies for the incomplete GPS track on this section of the run. I paused it for a second while I tied my shoe, and neglected to start it up again, leaving out close to a half mile of trail. In any case, if you get lost here, you probably don’t belong in the woods anyways, but I will try to get it right next time I run this course.