Grand Opening of the New Radford-Smith Trail, Sunday September 9, 2-2:30 PM

The Radfords and trailblazer Roger Haydock will relate details about the land gift and creation of the trail.  Read more here.

Requests for Pinnacle Trail Hikers

As nature beckons and Pinnacle lands – the Holden Trail in particular – become a more popular destination for schools and other large groups, we ask hikers to follow the guidelines below.  By trying to control the number of people on the trail at the same time, we hope to enable all users to experience the beauty and serenity of our natural world.

  • Groups of 15 or more are asked to contact Tony Coven at 802-387‐6650.
  • Large groups are encouraged to break into groups of 4‐8 while hiking to allow hikers to experience the many wonders that Pinnacle has to offer.
  • Please observe a strict low‐impact, carry‐in/carry out, leave‐no‐trace policy.
  • An outdoor fire is permitted upon request only at the Pinnacle summit, with prior authorization from Westminster Town Fire Warden Cole Streeter, 802‐722‐3178.  Please carry in your own firewood.

Visit Trails & Maps to direct you to other choices of trails to investigate within Pinnacle’s 20-mile trails system.

The days of daily mysteries and awakenings are here! Every hour of daylight seems to bring new wonders and appreciation for this beautiful time of year. We need to make the most of each opportunity to be outside and seek new ways to interact with nature.

As your eyes spot emerging details on even the most familiar trail, please remember that conditions may be slippery. Always avoid staying out too long or relying on cell phones, which may not always work.

Our helpful maps and free programs make great introductions to someone new, an old friend, or a young relative or neighbor. Your personal touch can make all the difference in opening up a new world of wonder and delight to nature lovers from near and far.

As always, this website is the best place to check for news, upcoming events, or other information. And we encourage you to send your seasonal trail photos and hiking tidbits or trail challenges to whpa@sover.net so we can know what’s happening on Pinnacle lands, who is enjoying them, or where we need to make improvements.

May you enjoy every lovely moment on our trails!

Annual West Hill Grinder, Sunday September 23
Accessibility Day, September 15

Annual West Hill Grinder, Sunday September 23
Annual West Hill Grinder, Sunday September 23

New bridge on the Radford-Smith TrailThe Bridge on the Radford-Smith Trail

Spring Wildflower Walk, Sunday May 6
Spring Wildflower Walk, Sunday May 6

Accessibility Day, September 15
Hike to Champion White Ash, Saturday May 19

 

Upcoming Events

Weekend Strolls, Workdays, and More

Click here for a map showing WHPA Access Points.

September 9, Saturday, 2-2:30 PM. Celebration of Radford Land Gift and Grand Opening of Radford-Smith Trail.
The new trail leads from WHPA’s ridgeline Cascade Trail down the hill and across a new bridge to Grassy Brook Road in Brookline and parts west. Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony will include the Radfords, who donated the 55 acres that made the new trail possible and funded the unique iron-and-wood bridge across Grassy Brook, and also renowned trailblazer Roger Haydock, who will describe the features of the hilly terrain and how he chose the route and created the trail. To learn more about the new trail and its access to the ridgeline trail, park along Grassy Brook Road and walk to the trailhead, which is directly opposite 1195 Grassy Brook Road. Parking is limited, so please carpool. Read more here.

September 15, Saturday, 10:45 AM-2:30 PM. Accessibility Day.
This is a once-a-year opportunity for a vehicle ride to a remote and beautiful site for lunch. The private property, owned by a friend of WHPA, sits on the Windmill Ridgeline between the Pinnacle and Paul’s Ledges, and its spectacular view offers a wide deep vista to the ski mountains of Mt. Snow, Stratton, Bromley, Okemo, and beyond. If you’re an adult who has difficulty walking, this is your chance to visit a rural spot with a grandchild or friend. The free program’s popularity and need for four-wheel-drive or other appropriate vehicles make advance registrations a MUST for riders. Hikers do not need to pre-register. Bring water, bag lunch, and sweater for chilly weather. Meet at Westminster West Church at 10:45 AM to carpool. Register with Tony Coven at 802-387-6650. Read more here.

Sunday September 23, starting at 10 or 11 AM (depending upon route). Annual West Hill Grinder.
Organized by the West Hill Shop in Putney, the event is a thank-you benefit to WHPA for its 25-mile trail system. Three different routes offer a variety of rural biking challenges for intermediate and advanced bicyclists. Distances range from 19-39 miles and wind through Westminster, Athens, Brookline, and Putney on town dirt roads, Class-4 woods roads, and Pinnacle hiking trails, with a bit of pavement here and there. Visit www.bikereg.com. Search for West Hill Grinder for information on routes, bike recommendations, equipment requirements, prices, food, and registration. For questions, email jim@westhillshop.com or call 802-387-5718. Read more here.

October 6, Saturday, 1-4 PM. Fall Foliage Walk.
Featuring the Bear Hill summit view, a swamp, and woodlands at a most beautiful time of the year on Athens Dome trails. Participants should meet at parking lot across from The Nature Museum at 186 Townshend Road in Grafton, VT, to carpool to the Bear Hill Trail kiosk on Kidder Hill Road. Hikers will then go up Bear Hill Trail to its summit view, onto Athens Dome trail through the swamp, to Shortcut Road, and back to Kidder Hill Road and the parking area. This is a longer hike than usual, with several steep sections. For information and requested registration, contact Camilla Roberts at camil@vermontel.net or 802-869-1388.

Saturday October 13, starting at 10 AM and ending at 2 PM (times depend upon the route taken). Walk to the Windmill.
Leaders from the Putney Mountain Association and Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association will guide hikers on different routes to converge upon the site of the ancient windmill that inspired the names for Windmill Mountain, Windmill Hill, and Windmill Ridge. Hikers will learn about the Five Corners, the early ridgeline settlement there, and the history of the ridge and its conservation. Come celebrate that combined and continuing conservation effort! Participants should bring water, snack, and a bag lunch. Because of necessary carpooling to and from different trailheads, registration is required for this free hike. For information and registration contact Elizabeth Bissell at ehfbissell@gmail.com or 802-387-4587. Further details about routes, terrain, and meeting locations will be posted closer the date. Rain date is Sunday October 14.

November 3, Saturday, 1-3 PM. Hike at Bald Hill.
Vanessa Stern, member of the Bald Hill Committee and WHPA Board, will lead this riverside walk along the gorgeous Saxtons River, where hikers can venture down to get a close look at the rock basins and Twin Falls. Meet at the Bald Hill kiosk on Covered Bridge Road in Westminster. Wear waterproof shoes. Contact Vanessa Stern at 802-463 4948 for requested registration, to get more information, or to check on the weather.

Past Events

As time goes by, recent events are added here.

July 14, Saturday, 3-5 PM. Healing Walk. Rain or shine. WHPA Trustee John Foster of Vermont Healing will lead a meditative walk on Nature Trail at the Stephen Martin Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary. The reflective walk will include poems or other readings and offer opportunities for both contemplation and sharing. A guiding premise of this walk is that it’s essential to be still, to quiet the everyday mind, to interrupt daily routines, and thus to be open to other dimensions for healing to begin. Meet at the Bemis Road Trailhead at 1522 Bemis Hill Road in Westminster, 1.5 miles up Bemis Hill Road, on the right.  
No dogs allowed on this walk. Register at John@vermonthealing.com or 802-451-6277. Read more here.

June 23, Saturday, 9:30 AM-noon. Over the Hill Hike! Enjoy a 4-mile hike on the Jamie Latham Trail, past an old beaver pond and stone walls, through beautiful hardwood stands, with a stop to enjoy the view from the renovated Pinnacle Cabin. Bring water, lunch, snack, insect repellent, sunscreen. Meet at Westminster West Church to split cars and carpools between the start at Latham and finish at Holden. Register with Tony Coven at 802-387-6650.
Read more here.

June 19, Tuesday, 5 PM. Pizza Night Fundraiser for WHPA. Orchard Hill Breadworks at 121 Old Settlers Road in East Alstead, NH, has chosen WHPA to be the beneficiary of one of its famous summertime Pizza Nights. For $9 Breadworks supplies the basics (crust, sauce, cheese, access to the picking garden, plus paper plates and cups for water). Participants supply toppings, drinks, silverware, and blanket or chair. For more information, contact wilsonupaul@gmail.com. Read more here and see downloadable poster.


June 10, Sunday, 3-5 PM. Before It’s Too Late – Conserving New England’s Forests and Farmlands. A presentation on the recently released 2017  “Wildlands and Woodlands” publication by Dr. Spencer Meyer, a Senior Conservationist at the Highstead Foundation and one of the authors of the report released by the Harvard Forest, which is Harvard University’s 4,000-acre ecological classroom and laboratory in Petersham, MA.  The report details the need to triple the pace for collaboration among conservationists and willing landowners to permanently protect both forest and farmlands throughout New England. Co-sponsored by the Putney Mountain Association, Vermont Land Trust, Windham Regional Commission, and Pinnacle Association. At Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill in Putney. Parking is available at the Basketville store on Route 5, just northeast of Putney General Store. Read more here.


May 19, Saturday, 9:30 AM-noon. Hike to Champion White Ash. Tim Morton, Vermont State Forester, will lead this walk to the largest White Ash in Vermont and discuss factors that contribute to its success while identifying other trees on the way. Meet at Westminster West Church to carpool. For questions, contact Elaine Gordon at esudgor@yahoo.com or 802-869-6103. Rain date: Sunday May 20. Read more here.


May 12, Saturday, 9-10 AM.  Birding along the Connecticut River
Experienced birders Peter Bergstrom and Paul Wilson will lead a brief bird walk before the longer Saxtons River Valley Trails Initiative Hike that starts at 10 AM. Bring binoculars and meet at 9 AM sharp at the bottom of the hill on Mill Street, whose entrance is next to the Flat Iron Exchange, 51 Square, Bellows Falls. Park in the lot off Mill Street, in the Hetty Green lot behind TD Bank, or in the Bridge Street lot across from the WOOL Building at 33 Bridge Street. See map (below) for parking suggestions. For questions, contact Peter Bergstrom at 802-289-3271 or pwbergstrom@gmail.com. The walk will be canceled if it is raining. Read more here.

Google map shows where to park.

May 12, Saturday, 10 AM-1 PM. Saxtons River Valley Trails Initiative Hike.  
Rain or shine.
 Learn more about the efforts of volunteers on the Saxtons River Valley Trails Initiative to create a trail system that can span the distance between Bellow Falls and Saxtons River. This informative walk will follow existing and potential trails to connect the Riverfront Park in Bellows Falls to the Bald Hill Reserve in Westminster. Meet at the Flat Iron Exchange, a café at 51 Square in Bellows Falls. Park in the lot off Mill Street, in the Hetty Green lot behind TD Bank, or in the Bridge Street lot across from the WOOL Building at 33 Bridge Street.  See map (above) for parking suggestions. Walkers will have the option to walk back to Bellows Falls along Forest Road in North Westminster to VT Route 121 (Saxtons River Road). For more information and requested registration, contact Vanessa Stern at 802-376-4763 or davidandvanessa@gmail.com. Read more here.

May 6, Sunday, 10 AM-1 PM. Herricks Cove Activity. Rain or shine. Vanessa Stern and Rick Cowan will host a table at the Herricks Cove Wildlife Festival with maps, program information, and a nature-based craft project for children. Off Missing Link Road (Route 5) in Rockingham, VT. Read more here.

May 6, Sunday, 9:30 AM-noon. Spring Wildflower Walk.Libby Mills and Sarah Waldo will lead this favorite stroll to discover delicate ephemeral flowers of the hardwood forest. Meet at Westminster West Church to carpool to the mystery site. Wear waterproof shoes. Bring camera and water. For questions and requested registration, contact sarah_waldo@hotmail.com or 802-387-6036. Read more here.

April 29, Sunday, 4-6 PM. Pinnacle Annual Meeting and Program: Cool the Planet:  Food, Water, Soil, Climate, Hope. In an engaging PowerPoint presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, Henry Swayze and Cat Buxton will discuss the natural systems that allow for planetary cooling and factors that contribute to understanding healthy soil and watershed function, as well as how the average person can effect positive change in the backyard and marketplace. At Main Street Arts, 35 Main Street in Saxtons River. WHPA members and members of the public are encouraged to come early, enjoy refreshments, peruse maps on display, and attend the brief business meeting before the program to learn about plans Pinnacle has for the coming year. Read more here.

February 10, Saturday, 1-3 PM. Snowshoe Hike at Bald Hill. Led by Vanessa Stern, member of Bald Hill Conservation Committee and Pinnacle Association Board. Wear layered clothing, bring water, meet at Cemetery Road kiosk near Bellows Falls Union High School off Route 5. Registration required by contacting Vanessa at 802-463-4948 or davidandvanessa@gmail.com.
Read more here.