Island Pond, Vermont
With thousands of acres of land open to the public here in
the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, including the Island Pond area
which is the gateway to the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and
Wildlife Refuge Nulhegan Basin we offer some of the best
snowshoeing in the United States.
With miles of old and new logging and hiking trails, one can
take a days hike and enjoy the views we have to offer along with
wildlife and great snow conditions as our average snowfall is
measured in feet not inches.
Being a back country area here in the Northeast Kingdom it
is imperative to be prepared for the unexpected.
Snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter sports;
snowshoe technology has made giant strides (if you'll pardon the
pun) in recent years. It has at least two great advantages: 1)
You don't need to sacrifice your life savings to buy equipment;
and 2) It's easy. If you're a snowshoeing nebe, there's no need
to bite your nails. Snowshoeing is probably one of the few
sports in the world that does not have a steep learning curve.
Basically, if you can put one foot in front of the other, you're
well on your way to having some fun with snowshoes.
Start by practicing on a level surface before you race
into the backcountry. And be prepared: although snowshoes are
designed to keep you on top of the snow, they're not magical.
You will sink somewhat--generally about 8 inches if you're in
Snowshoeing is an aerobic workout, so dress in layers. That way
you'll be able to bundle up during your warm-up and cool-down
times, and shed extra layers once your heart starts thumping.
Start with synthetic underwear that will wick moisture (okay,
sweat) away from your skin. On top of that, try fleece or wool.
For your outer layer, pick a light water-resistant shell. Avoid
cotton clothing, as it tends to absorb and hold moisture. Bring
an insulated bottle of water, extra clothes, food, sunglasses,
matches, a flashlight, a knife, a compass and a first aid kit.
You might want to also bring along a roll of duct tape (the
wonder substance for any kind of repair). Other tips, while
perhaps obvious, are important:
* Tell someone where you're going and when you think you'll be
* Check your bindings regularly before you start a trip to prevent
disaster in the backcountry.
* If you're snowshoeing with other people (always a better idea than going
alone), take turns leading. Breaking a trail can be hard work.
* Prevent erosion by staying on trails when you're in the backcountry.
* Make sure you know the area you're traveling in before you start. Maps
are your friends.
* Mark your trail. If a snowstorm covers your tracks, this will help you
find your way out.
Getting on Vermont's Northeast Kingdom Trails
One of the great things about snowshoeing in Vermont's Northeast
Kingdom is you'll never run out of places to go. Just about
anywhere you can hike or mountain bike in summer, you can
snowshoe in winter. Nordic trails are another good bet, but be
polite. Don't destroy groomed cross-country trails with your
snowshoes; stay a few paces away from the groomed tracks and
Nordic skiers will surely smile as they skate by. Some
cross-country resorts here in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom
are even getting into the snowshoeing act. Lone Mountain Ranch
(near Bozeman), for instance, has established three trails
especially for snowshoeing. Visit the cross-country section of
this web site to find out more.
Located just a few miles from Island Pond which is the Gateway
to the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
Nulhegan Basin offers some of the bes wild and wonderful
snowshoeing destinations. In Glacier, you can explore millions
of acres of mountains, forests and ponds--and the only ones
you'll have to share it with are the wildlife you're likely to
Vermont's Northeast Kingdom Wildlife Management Areas like the
West Mountain WMA, Bill Sladyk WMA, Wenlock WMA sates forests
and wilderness areas are other ideal destinations. You may find
cross-country tracks to follow in the forests,or in some
wilderness areas. But on your snowshoes, you'll have better
access; if you get into brushy or steep areas, snowshoes are
much more handy than cross-country skis, If you have a favorite
summer hiking trail in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom you're free
to snowshoe on it in winter.