Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has announced a grand opening hike, snowshoe, or ski, set for Saturday, December 29, beginning at 10 am, to celebrate the addition of two new “loop trails” to the Viall’s Crossing Trail.
Since opening last spring, the Viall’s Crossing Trail, has been an increasingly popular addition to the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) network. People use it to hike between Westport and Essex, or to make a five-mile loop that starts and ends in Westport, or as an out-and-back.
The new trails are:
Harold’s Oak Grove Trail, named for previous owner Harold White who resisted logger requests to cut a grove of white oaks in the southwest corner of his forest because he liked the old trees. Today, the trail showcases the beautiful oaks that Harold protected and that hikers enjoy.
The second loop trail is John Brown’s Trail and commemorates the Viall’s Crossing farm’s historical connection to abolitionist John Brown (Brown was friends with Harold’s great grandfather, Asa Viall, and would stay in the farmhouse when in Westport. After Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and his subsequent execution, Asa used his wagon to transport Brown’s body to his resting place by Lake Placid). This trail goes by some towering trees that bore witness to Brown’s passage.
The easy hike is free and open to the people of all ages. The 2.5 mile hike will take about an hour and a half and if there’s snow, participants are welcome to snowshoe or cross-country ski the trail. For skiers, there may be some more difficult narrow sections in the woods. The hike will begin from at the trailhead on Route 22, about halfway between Westport and Wadhams; look for the parking signs.
The rain date is Sunday, December 30 at noon (check CATS website Saturday morning if rain is a threat).
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in the Champlain Valley, with the goal of linking communities, connecting people with nature and promoting economic vitality. For more information, visit their website or (518) 962-2287.
Photo of Volunteers on Viall’s Crossing trails provided by CATS.