This list includes public trails in Norwich, VT, each accompanied by a summary description. Where available, a link to an online map for the trail is included. For a visual overview of the town which shows the location of many of these trails, see Norwich Trails Map (fragment above).
The notion of a trail here is generic, and includes: officially designated Norwich Town Trails; pathways maintained on town, institution or private property for use by the public; and some Class 4 roads which provide useful connections or routes. Trails and pathways are not intended for motorized use, and range from those designated for foot traffic only, to multi-use paths which may also allow bicycle or horse use.
Trails listed below are grouped geographically, so for the most part, intersecting trails are in the same group, which may help in building loop excursions.
Trails Close to the Village Center and/or Route 5
Milton Frye Nature Area Trails [Map] [TrailFinder]
Milt Fry was principal for 23 years at Norwich’s Marion Cross School, which is adjacent to this 35 acre conserved property, sometimes called the Norwich Nature Area. Several interlaced loop trails are on the property. Frequently used by students from the school. all trails are for foot traffic only. The main trailhead is at the S. end of the Marion Cross School teacher’s parking lot, usable when school is not in session. Otherwise parking is available along Main Street and elsewhere in the village area. Please note: The referenced map, while topographically detailed, needs updating with respect to several trail locations.
Huntley Meadow Bicycle Trails [Map]
Easy mountain biking for all ages on a loop trail around Huntley Meadow fields, locally called Gnarvana. The map identifies key named features which include rollers, bridges & boardwalks and a pump track.
Rosemary Reiser Trail [Map needed]
This short trail traverses Sample’s Woods located off Hopson Road. The 0.25 mi. long route drops downhill from the road, then skirts Bloody Brook to pass below the historic Sample’s Jump ski hill. The trail begins from the east side of Hopson Road north of Elm Street. Note there is no trailhead parking, so please approach by walking on the side of Hopson Road.
Hazen Trail [Map] [TrailFinder]
Runs from Montshire Road just before the Norwich Child Care Center, to Rt. 5 in Wilder near the VELCO substation. Intersects the Montshire Museum Ridge Trail (admission fee required for this and other Montshire trails). The trail provides some good views of the Connecticut River. The Montshire Road trailhead has parking for a car or two. Limited parking is available at Route 5 trailhead in Wilder; please do not block the gate.
AT Corridor and Vicinity
Appalachian Trail [Map]
The AT southbound in Norwich follows roads from its low elevation at the Connecticut River through Norwich village, and then up to a trailhead near the top of Elm Street. Continuing southbound the AT is a beautiful wooded walking trail running along and then over a moderately high ridge of Griggs Mountain before dropping down into the White River valley. Well-maintained by a group of intrepid AT volunteers. Trailhead parking is available at the junction of Pudunk and Tigertown Roads, or in West Hartford. Parking at the Elm St.reet trailhead is very limited, but more is available in Norwich Village. The William Tucker Trail (below) provides access to the middle of Norwich’s AT section, from a trailhead at the upper end of Happy Hill Road Happy Hill Road.
Heyl Trail [Map]
Follows an old woods road from the top of Elm St. to the VELCO power line easement, roughly paralleling the AT. Where the Heyl trail enters the power line corridor, turn right (north) onto the power line road, leading to Bragg Hill Road near the Goddard Road intersection. Alternatively, a left turn (south) on the power line road reaches an intersection with the AT, which provides a nice loop back to near the top of Elm Street. There are views south to Wilder from this road, just beyond the AT junction. The Elm Street trailhead has room for only a couple of cars. There is essentially no parking on Bragg Hill Road – please do not block the powerline access road.
William Tucker Trail [Map]
For many years, one of the more popular AT access points. The trailhead is on a privately maintained driveway just past the end of town-maintained Happy Hill Road. The blue-blazed trail soon branches left off the driveway, and then passes around a Forest Service gate. An easy ascent leads past three ponds that source Bragg Brook then over a saddle, shortly after which the trail merges with the AT southbound (turn left for northbound). Limited parking and a turnaround are at the upper end of Happy Hill Road.
Cossingham Road [Map]
This class 4 road provides a connection between Bragg Hill Road and the Appalachian Trail. There is no parking along Bragg Hill Road, but an interesting loop walk begins at the Happy Hill trailhead, where there is room for a few cars. The 3.1 mi. long route is enjoyable in either direction, using the William Tucker Trail, then AT northbound to its intersection with the Cossingham Road (Class4) high point, which is followed down to Bragg Hill Road. Close the loop by hiking a short distance up Bragg Hill Road, and then Happy Hill Road back to the starting point.
Burton Woods Road [Map]
The old Burton Woods Road runs from Bragg Hill Road over a saddle then down into the Podunk Brook drainage, a tributary of the White River. The class 4 road provides access to Parkhurst Cemetery, interesting cellar holes and other evidence of prior settlement, plus a variety of other trails including the AT. Leaving Bragg Hill Road, the route uphill is wet and rough in places. Shortly after the high point, it descends and passes a hunting cabin, before intersecting with Sue Spaulding Road (from the NW) at 1.2 mi. from the trailhead. About 0.5 mi. beyond, Town Highway 51 cuts off steeply uphill to the east. (Just above the junction on the left side of TH-51 is Parkhurst Cemetery, active 1826 to 1873; the AT is about 0.2 mi. further on that connector path. ) Back on Burton Woods Road, just after the junction it bends to the right (south), heading downhill to an intersection with the AT at 0.7 mi. from TH-51 (keep a sharp eye for this). Continuing, Burton Woods Road crosses 2 wooden bridges, crosses the AT again, and then ends at class 4 Illsley Road. A short distance to the right of this junction, Illsley Road intersects Podunk Road (driveable), which eventually leads down to West Hartford village. Total length is 2.7 mi. including the 0.1 mi on Illsley Road connecting to Podunk Road). Note that there is presently no parking at the Bragg Hill trailhead.
Town Highway 51 [Map]
TH-51 is an old (Class 4) town road providing a short (about 0.2 mi.) but important link between Burton Woods Road and the AT, which it meets in a small clearing recenty called Meadow Junction (also called Five Corners). This is a beautiful walk, passing several old cellar holes and stone walls. Parkhurst Cemetery is near the junction with Burton Woods Road. TH-51 is useful for loop walks including a segment of the AT and Burton Woods Road.
South of Beaver Meadow Road
Lower Bill Ballard Trail [Map] [TrailFinder]
Runs along the south side of Charles Brown Brook, in and out of the numerous tributary drainages, sometimes near the brook and often on a shelf above. The primary trailhead (limited capacity) is at Ballard Park off Beaver Meadow Road (former Norwich Pool location). It is 1.5 mi. to the intersection with Brown Schoolhouse Road (class 4), where the pathway continues as the Upper Bill Ballard Trail (below). Both sections of the Bill Ballard Trail are for foot traffic only. Note: the bridge over Charles Brown Brook at the bottom of Brown Schoolhouse Road has been destroyed. This bridge had provided access to the the middle of the combined Bill Ballard trail segments from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking.
Upper Bill Ballard Trail [Map][TrailFinder]
The Upper Bill Ballard Trail runs between Brown Schoolhouse Road and a limited capacity trailhead on Beaver Meadow Road near the Tucker Hill Road junction. Similar to the Lower section, but this section also includes the exciting route along the “Norwich Grand Canyon”. From the Beaver Meadow Road trailhead down to Brown Schoolhouse Road is 1.6 mi. Both sections of the Bill Ballard Trail are for foot traffic only. Note: the bridge over Charles Brown Brook at the bottom of Brown Schoolhouse Road has been destroyed. This bridge had provided access to the the middle of the combined BIll Ballard trail segments from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking.
Converse Trail [Map]
Near the west end of the Upper BIll Ballard Trail, the Converse Trail provides an optional loop which traces the edge of a meadow, before leading back to the main trail.
Brown Schoolhouse Trail [Map]
A Class 4 road running from Beaver Meadow Rd. (across from Parcel 5 trailhead parking) to Bragg Hill Road, passing the Brown Schoolhouse site. Length: 0.7 mi. Note: As the old Brown Schoolhouse Rd. bridge over Charles Brown Bk. has been destroyed, crossing the brook to access this trail from the Parcel 5 trailhead parking is currently dangerous to impossible during winter and at times of high flow.
North of Beaver Meadow Road
Parcel Five Trails [Map] [Trail Finder]
The main trail was designed as a 5 km. loop by Morton Trails. A hilly, multi-purpose trail, constructed so as to allow X-C ski grooming equipment to operate. Short link trails connect between some loop segments. Connects to Brookmead Trails (and ultimately to Blue Ribbon Connector). Trailhead on Beaver Brook Road has ample paring and a kiosk with maps. Overall loop length: 3.1 mi.; shorter options possible using the links.
Brookmead Conservation Area Trails [Map]
The Upper Valley Land Trust‘s Brookmead Conservation Area, located on Turnpike Road, encompasses several miles of multi-use trails, with connections to Parcel 5 and Blue Ribbon Connector trails. Trailhead parking is at the southern end of the Norwich Farms complex off Turnpike Rd.
Blue Ribbon Trail [Map]
A multi-use trail between Gile Mt. summit and Beaver Meadow Road. Length: 4.5 mi. While mostly running along the ridgetop, there is one descent in the middle which requires a significant climb back up to the ridge. Parking at the trailhead on the south side of Beaver Meadow Road, near Tucker Hill Road, is shared with the Upper BIll Ballard Trail.
Blue Ribbon Connector [Map]
Connects between the lower Blue Ribbon Trail (at 0.6 mi. from the trail’s terminus on Beaver Meadow Road) and the top of the Brookmead trail system. Length: 1.3 mi.
Gile Mountain Trails [Map]
Two trails ascend Gile Mtn from the East: one for walkers, another for bicyclists. From a trailhead near the upper (N) end of Turnpike Rd, a multi-use trail leads toward a powerline, just before which there is a split – the bicycle trail bending to the left, the hiker path continuing straight. The two trails intertwine on their ascent of the mountain. Following the hiker trail, after crossing the powerline right of way, it begins a lngthy climb a sequence of granite steps. The bicycle path switchbacks up the mountain at a somewhat lesser grade. Beautiful views in all directions from the old summit fire tower. Limited parking available at the trailhead, and parking along narrow Turnpike Rd. is strictly forbidden and enforced. Car-pooling is encouraged (Huntley Meadow Park-and-Ride suggested).