Deer Run Nature Preserve

Earth Day Hikes

Where: Deer Run Nature Preserve Trailhead, 940 Camp Arden Road, Dummerston, VT
Date: Sunday, April 21, 2024
Time: 10:00 am

Join Green Mountain Conservancy and the community in honoring Earth Day with the option of 2 hikes.

Strenuous Hike

Roger Haydock will lead a hike on Deer Run Nature Preserve’s recently opened North Trail. The hike will go up the ridge and then down to the West River-and back. The total distance is about 7 ½ miles and will include a 1700 foot vertical ascent. This is a strenuous hike and only experienced hikers in good condition should attend. 

The route will feature several view spots along the way, including at one point a dramatic vista up the West River Valley and Grassy Brook Valley with Stratton Mountain in the distance. The hike goes through several different forest types, including a mature hardwood forest, a hophornbeam savannah, and a cover with old growth trees.

The North Trail is newly built, and in this first year of its existence, the passage of hiker’s boots on the trail will act to pack down the treadway and prevent plants from growing in. The more that people hike the trail this year, the better for breaking in the footpath. 

The hike will last about 4 ½ hours.  Hikers should bring a lunch and water.  There will be a short lunch break at the West River. 

Moderate Hike

Several Green Mountain Conservancy board members will lead a moderate hike, focusing on the early spring woodland plants and birds, signs of mammal activity, various natural forest communities, the forest topography, and forest management for addressing climate change. This is an idyllic time to spend in the forest as it wakes up from our strange winter.

Beginning at the trailhead, we will go through a young white pine forest, close to an abandoned porcupine den and have an opportunity to examine a bear clawed utility pole. As we move into an older forest, we can take some time to think about the history of several very, very old maples, ponder the pillow and  cradle topography, wonder at the intermittent piles of stone, and consider the littered forest floor.  Crossing the bridge over the rushing mountain stream, we will discuss signs that this stream has changed course over time and the geological features that have made that possible. The lichens and mosses along the way will be of special interest. Tall red pine trees, planted in the 1930’s by the farmer who worked this land, will stand out among the white pines, hemlocks, birches, oaks and cherry trees. 

This hike will be approximately 2 hours and is appropriate for all levels. Hikers should bring water and snacks.