5 Best Pond Walks for Leaf Peeping in Rutland County
The leaves may be starting to change, but lately we have been graced with a bit of warmer weather – let’s hope it lasts!
While the weather is still accommodating, why not go on a leaf-peeping pond walk and break out your kayaks or motorboats for a last hurrah before the season ends?
Below are some of our favorite places to go on a foliage-inspired hike or boating trip—whichever suits your fancy!
1. Lefferts Pond and Chittenden Reservoir
Lefferts Pond is our absolute FAVORITE pond for leaf peeping. It’s a tranquil pond that rarely has any surface disturbances, offering the best opportunities to enjoy breathtaking reflections.
Lefferts Pond Loop is an intermediate-level hike that connects Round Robin Trail, Lefferts Pond Trail, and Wildcat Road. This is a great beginner’s trail, and will offer beautiful views of those fall leaves—it’s also a great place to go mountain biking!
This trail is dog friendly, but they ask that you keep your pup on a leash.
Chittenden Reservoir can be accessed from the Lefferts Pond parking lot, just 50 feet to the water’s edge. It’s a beautiful reservoir surrounded by Green Mountain peaks – the perfect place for swimming, picnicking with friends, skipping rocks, kayaking… well, pretty much anything!
Keep in mind that if you’re planning on going out on the water, jet skis are not permitted. Additionally, if you choose to go out onto Lefferts Pond, only non-motorized boats are allowed.
One particularly interesting recreational activity this trail offers is horseback riding along Lefferts Pond and Round Robin trails. You can get a guided trail ride from Mountain Top Inn, or get a day pass for $20 if you bring your own horse!
2. Kent Pond
Kent Pond is the perfect destination for fishing and boating, boasting an abundant population of large-mouth bass among several other fish species.
You’re welcome to take a kayak, canoe, rowboat, or motorboat out, but if you want to fish from the shore, Kent Pond also has a shorefishing platform. You can access this pond on its western side from VT Route 100, or go along the eastern side via the impoundment on Thundering Brook Road.
The nearest hike to this location is located near the parking lot on Route 100. The hike is not particularly strenuous, and will cross over Mountain Meadow’s lawn (where the dock is located). If you continue long enough, you will cross over two roads that will take you by Thundering Brook Falls, and from there you can loop around the remainder of Kent Pond. For an alternative hike, you can also access the Appalachian Trail from Thundering Brook Road.
Insider Tip: Mountain’s Meadow in the past has had a potbelly pig that roams the property freely, so remember to keep your dog on a leash around this area!
3. Glen Lake
For a family-friendly hike, try stopping by Glen Lake in West Castleton. Glen Lake Trail is a 4.5 mile, dog-friendly, out-and-back style hike.
There are some steeper areas, and spots that have heavy tree root coverage, but is otherwise an easy and pleasant walk along the eastern side of the lake.
You can often find dogs (and even people!) taking dips at different spots along the trail.
There is also a boat launch, located near to the trailhead and parking area, which can be accessed by going down Moscow Road (off of West Castleton Road). Parking is approximately 100 feet from the launch. Motorboats are welcome at slow speeds, and is a popular place for people to bring out their kayaks.
4. Silver Lake
In order to reach Silver Lake (just east of Lake Dunmore), it requires a bit of hiking on your part—but we promise that it is well worth it! The short hike (1.5 miles) serves as crowd control – you’ll often find you’re the only one there. Make sure to bring a friend so you have someone to exclaim to about the beauty!
The trail is a well maintained carriage road that is rather steep but fairly short. The Falls of Lana make for a great spot to catch your breath (for many people, they serve as their final destination!).
For hiking around the lake, take the Silver Lake, Leicester Hollow, and Chandler Ridge trails to get great views of Silver Lake, Lake Dunmore, and waterfalls.
The main trailhead is located on the east side of Lake Dunmore on Route 53, south of Branbury State Park.
The trail is dog-friendly, but your pups must be kept on-leash while hiking. If you plan on going the entire loop, make sure to bring good hiking shoes as the average hiking time can be up to 5 hours!
5. Little Rock Pond
The Little Rock Pond Trail is a part of the Appalachian/Long Trail. It’s a beautiful 4 mile out-and-back hike that takes you right along Little Black Brook and around Little Rock Pond.
The parking and trailhead is located south of the pond on Brooklyn Road (or USFS 10). Once you reach the pond, there are shelters and tents available for camping for a $5 fee, located only 40 feet from the water’s edge.
This location is popular for swimming and fishing, but is not particularly accessible for boating.
Insider Tip: the trail can get a bit muddy around the length around the pond, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear and watch your step!