Bicycling and foot trails in the Slate Valley region of southwestern Vermont
Howe Hill Trail Entrance
Start: Parking lot of the East Poultney Baptist Church in East Poultney
Trails: 1.9 mile loop (white blazes) with a 0.5 mile connector trail (blue blazes), rising 450 feet.
Howe Hill dominates the East Poultney green to the south, rising 450’ above the green and the Poultney River. The hill is named for the Howe family, early settlers in East Poultney before the Revolutionary War. Photographs from the 1910s and 1920s show the hillsides cleared of trees, which is no longer the case. The hillsides are now completely reforested. The trails were laid out in the mid 2000’s on private property with the permission of the landowners. While the trails have been available to people who knew about them, Slate Valley Trails and the land owners recently reached a formal agreement to make them open to the public.
To reach the start:The trails begin in East Poultney. Drive east on Route 140, East Main Street from Poultney to East Poultney. In East Poultney, turn right (south) on Bird Street and then left into the parking lot on the south side of the 1805 East Poultney Baptist Church.
To hike the trails: Leaving the parking lot, walk south on the sidewalk along Bird Street toward Howe Hill and the Poultney River, continuing on Thrall Road. Cross the bridge over the river and continue walking south on Thrall Road at River Street. After the garage of the first house on the left turn left and go uphill on a woods road that is marked with VAST snowmobile signs. In a tenth of a mile you will come to trees marked with white blazes. Follow the white blazes uphill and to the right. When you arrive at the trees marked with blue blazes, you have a choice. Turning left onto the blue blazed trail reduces the mileage to 1.4 miles and the elevation gained by about 100 feet. If you continue straight on the white blazed trail you hike to the top of the hill and then descend to where the blue blazed trail comes in on your left. Continue downhill on the white blazed trail to the unmarked woods road/snowmobile trail, turn left and follow it back to paved Thrall Road. Turn right and return to the church parking lot. Most people prefer to hike the trail in the direction described here (counter-clockwise) as it allows them to ascend the steepest sections. However, you can hike the trails in either direction and in any combination. The trails will be better signed in the near future.
Please be respectful of other landowners and stay on the marked trails.
Note: The trails are too steep, rocky and rough to be suitable for bicycles.