Looking for that postcard-worthy view that has made Vermont famous? If you missed Barr Hill last month or are seeking something a little more spectacular, take the time to make the short drive down to Owls Head Mountain in the northern edges of Groton State Forest. Besides the world-class Owls Head vista, Groton State Forest also has a year-round network of hiking trails and one of the state’s largest bogs, full of interesting and unusual wildlife.
Excluding the likelihood of seeing a beaver dam (seriously; it’s a building built by animals!), it’s the view that keeps us coming back to Groton. The 2,812-foot peak of Owls Head is a 1.5 mile, one hour, moderate hike on Owls Head Trail to the summit that starts off the road from New Discovery Park towards Osmore Pond. If you’re not up for the hike, there’s a parking lot closer to the summit that you can use to make your trip easier or if you are unable to make the 3-mile roundtrip hike. It’ only a fifteen minute hike to the granite ledges that ancient glaciers left behind for us like a primordial gift, as if we could hear the ice-cracking voices of the Laurentide say, “Here, look at this.”
For me, I think the suspense, the slow build-up before the green expanse comes into full view, is what makes it feel like it was really earned. And, vice-versa, I suppose it’s how breathtaking the view is that makes me feel like some sort of physical exertion or demonstration of patience should be exchanged for it, like a toll, ticket, or small price paid. I suppose our Vermont views are just that good.