GO & DO: Hike "The Lookout"
A little out of the way but a great short hike and a fantastic view!
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary to do this Memorial Day weekend, or any nice day, take a short and sweet hike to the Lookout.
You may have NEVER heard of it, or maybe you hve but haven't been there, and you are not alone. Many people in Woodstock and the area haven't been there, but if you are a thru hiker on the Appalachian Trail you have been there. The spot is the location of a nice cabin where hikers can stay over. But it also is a great high scenic location and a nice out of the way hike!
Whether you call it The Lookout, Lucy's Lookout or Luce's Lookout, you can tell by the name of this hiking trail that you're going to get a scenic view. I'd heard about this trail for a while but somehow never got around to hiking it until this summer. In fact, I went back and hiked with a friend who also had never hiked it after living in Woodstock for nearly 30 years, so I didn't feel so bad! The trail location seems to have been a bit mysterious to many of my friends, so perhaps that has been a reason not too many people have hiked it that I know. It's a very easy trail to tackle when you have just a few hours to spend outdoors and a good, quiet route that makes it great to take along your canine best friend.
First, let's get to the history. On the atlas the location is marked “The Lookout”, but I checked with long time Woodstock area resident Patrick Bartlett and the name originally was Luce's Lookout.. The property belonged to the Luce family back in the 1930-40's, so that is the origination of the proper name of the lookout. After WWII a fire tower was erected at the summit, thus the "lookout" aspect of the name. The tower was taken down in the 70's and later a shelter for Appalachian Trail hikers was built in its spot. There is an observation deck at the top of the current cabin with a fantastic 360 degree view of the area.
While there is about a 500 foot elevation change along the route of the trail, this hike is more of a easy to moderate one because of the conditions. For most of the trail it is fairly wide and level, with only the first and last portions on an incline, and at about 1.2 miles each way it is not too long a distance. My pup and I went up and back in about an hour, not including a break at the top and, of course, a lookout at the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains.
The trail starts out along a brook between two old stone walls, leading me to assume it was once a road. For about the first .25 miles it is rocky and, since we have had such a rainy summer, a bit wet like a seasonal stream. Take care not to slip on wet, mossy rocks in this area. The incline here is steady, but it flattens out at about the .3 mile point, which is also where the trail links in with the Appalachian Trail (AT). You'll see signage and from here on and also the white blazes that mark the AT. Stay on the trail to the right when you get to this junction.
The trail is generally wide and even for much of the next .75 miles. At about 1 mile the incline increases and the trail gets narrower and rockier. It is not long before you reach the summit and a surprisingly nice and new little cabin. This is a shelter for AT hikers provided by Lookout Farm. At this time of year later in the day don't be surprised to see several hikers relaxing at the cabin. Along the outside of the cabin is a ladder that takes you up to a viewing platform on the roof. Take a break here at the summit and go up to the platform for a wonderful panoramic view of the Green Mountains.
If you are getting bored with your usual local hiking and want to try a nearby trail that is new to you, or just want to get away from the holiday weekend crowds, the Lookout Trail is a great place to start to get out of your rut. Don't forget to bring your camera and enjoy this short and sweet hike!
The trailhead is about 7 miles north of the Woodstock Green in Bridgewater but you access it through Barnard. Hey, it's Vermont "you can't get there from heyah". Take Route 12 north, turn right onto Lakota Road and then make a letter onto Schoolhouse Hill Road. Continue on to turn right onto Green Gate Road (there is no signage here, but look for a white house on the corner and a barn across from it). Keep along this road for 1.4 miles. Where it makes a right turn bend is the location of the trailhead. There is no specific parking area, so make sure you do not block the roadway. The trail is straight ahead, very nondescript, no trailhead signage and looks like an old logging road.