Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park
By Kas Fleury
Vermont is an amazing place to live. Not only do we have mountains that offer some spectacular views, but we also have many wonderful state parks. Many of the parks offer camping but there is one special place that is all about hiking. Tucked in the scenic town of Hubbardton, VT the Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park is a truly magical place. I think one of my favorite things about this park, aside from how quiet it is, is that there are no facilities. It is an undeveloped park so packing out what you pack in is extra important. But the fact it’s undeveloped only adds to the lure. It is quiet and peaceful and so incredibly beautiful. Even the parking area offers a gorgeous view.
The Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park was created several years ago and is one of Vermont’s newest parks. What I find so interesting is that the land the park sits on was entrusted to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation by the Carson Davidson Revocable Trust Fund. The previous landowners were Carson “Kit” Davidson, an author and documentary filmmaker, and his wife, Mickie, a children’s book author. They must have been such wonderful people to have had the vision for this place. And another super neat bit of info is that although they could have probably built a big house on the land, they wanted to preserve the land as it was. Their house is small and takes up hardly any space. It is now the home of the park caretaker during the open season.
It was a very warm late fall day in Vermont. Temperatures reached 80 which is just crazy for this time of year. My husband took the day off from work and we loaded the dogs into the car and hit the road. Our first destination was the summit of Mount Zion Major. I actually didn’t realize we were headed there first but I followed the dogs. Funny how Maggie, my 13 year old dog, always seems to know where the summit is on a hike. The views from Mount Zion Major are quite impressive, even though the hike up to the summit isn’t overly long or tough. We were moving a bit slower thanks to the heat but it was so worth it when we reached the top. From Mount Zion Major you can see the Hubbardton Battlefield, the site where the only Revolutionary War battle fought entirely in Vermont happened. So much history in this area.
After taking in the view from Mount Zion, we retraced our steps and headed down to one of my favorite parts of the park, the Japanese Gardens. The giant boulders, the little wooden bridges, the frog ponds, and the chairs scattered around so you can take a rest while enjoying the view. So magical! The dogs LOVE the Japanese Gardens because of all the frogs. Radar can’t wait to jump in the bigger pond so he can chase Bullfrog Tadpoles and Maggie loves to wallow in the smaller pool to cool off. We spent almost an hour just watching the dogs play in the water. From the Japanese Gardens we decided to explore a side of the park we hadn’t seen on our first visit.
We followed a trail thru a beautiful field and across the road to another field. Up into the woods we went in search of the elusive waterfall. Vermont has been very dry this summer and fall so we weren’t sure what to expect. Luckily some much needed rain had fed the stream enough to allow the waterfall to reveal itself. I loved how the trail followed the bank of the stream, giving us plenty of places to look down to see the water rushing over the moss covered rocks. On our way back to the Japanese Garden we saw some people flying a kite in the field. Just such a wonderful place. Overall I think we did almost four miles of exploring on this visit to the park. My husband and I both agree we will be frequent visitors here and will go as often as we can. It is a bit of a drive for us, but it is definitely worth it. And we see new things each time we go. We may be “stuck in Vermont” during this pandemic but I think Vermont is a pretty great place to be stuck in.