From the South: Take Rt. 7 north, from Bennington, to Exit 3. Turn left, west, onto Rt. 313. Turn right onto historic Rt. 7A north and drive 9.1 miles to the Equinox Resort. From the North: Take Rt. 7 south to East Dover. Bear right and follow historic Rt. 7A to the Equinox Resort in Manchester Village.
To Access Trails: From Rt. 7A in Manchester, turn onto Seminary Road. Just past the Burr & Barton Academy turn right onto West Union Street. Turn right at the end of the paved portion toward the water tank for parking.
Additional parking is available at the rear of the Equinox Hotel parking lot, where a kiosk marks the West Union Trail connecting path leading up to the intersection of Prospect Street and West Union Street. From here, trail users can proceed straight ahead on West Union Street to reach the Red Gate entrance.
The Equinox Preservation Trust encompasses over 914 acres on the slopes of Mount Equinox in Manchester, Vermont. Mt. Equinox is the highest mountain in the Taconic Range, and rises from the valley floor more than 3,000 feet, providing the town of Manchester with a spectacular, natural backdrop.
The Equinox Resort, spanning 200 years of history, owns the preserve, which is managed by the EPT board of directors, the Equinox Resort staff and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. It is opened to the public year-round for non-motorized recreational use including mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and horseback riding. Cross country skiing and snow-shoeing are popular winter activities at the preserve.
Old stone walls found deep within the forest are reminders of a bygone agricultural era when early settlers cleared much of the forest for agriculture and grazing. The land is now in the process of recovering. Easements under the protection of the Vermont Land Trust and Nature Conservancy will limit any future development to protect this mountain and woodland environment and ensure continued public recreational use.
The Mt. Equinox Preserve is well known for both its natural beauty and diversity. Habitats include woodlands of hardwood and pines, marble ledges, springs, wetlands and a pond. The preserve is home to a variety of fauna, including black bear, bobcat, white tail deer, raccoon, fox, beaver, coyote, porcupines, fishers, wild turkeys, owls, Pileated woodpecker, and the Hermit Thrush (VT state bird). Two rare species of bats, the Indiana bat and eastern small-footed bat find shelter in limestone caves and deciduous trees.
Spring brings an abundance of wildflowers, with several unique and rare species. Deer Knoll, Table Rock and Cook’s Hollow are outcrops that support rare plant life. These sensitive sites should only be visited on a guided hike. Fall brings brilliant hues to this large and diverse tract of diverse Northern hardwood forest undisturbed by roadways or human development.
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science naturalists provide an array of educational programs and interpretive guided hikes (see for more information below).
Mount Equinox Preserve Mountain Biking
Look for informational kiosks at both entrances to the Mount Equinox Preserve where an enlarged trail map is on display. Trail users will also find a handy pocket guide & trail map, updated program information and special notices.
While, mountain bikers are welcome on many of the Equinox trails, there are some limitations. Mountain biking is prohibited on the Snicket, Trout Lily and Maidenhair Trails and on the Blue Trail above (west) of Trillium Trail. Mountain biking is currently permitted on the longestmulti-use trail in the network, the Mountain Bluff Trail. Continued use will depend on a variety of factors including damage to nearby sensitive areas.
The Mount Equinox Preserve multi-use mountain bike trails in Manchester, Vermont range from mostly wide gently rolling woods roads to steep, challenging mountain trails. There are trails for riders of all skill levels. There are many short trail segments that can be joined together for a variety of longer loop rides over varied terrain. Two short connecting trails that allow bikes are the Wild Leeks Cut-off (on SVAC Loop) and the Aspen Trail (connecting Trillium with the Red Gate).
Mountain biking is permitted on the following listed trails. Trail names are followed by the length, skill level and elevation change. Trail status may change, so it's best to check before riding.
Red Gate Trail (red blaze): .80 miles : Moderate : 250 ft.
Trillium Trail (teal blaze): 1.25 miles : Moderate : 250 ft.
Southern Vermont Art Center (SVAC) Loop (black in orange): 1.0 miles : Easy : 150 ft.
Pond Loop (white in teal) : .75 miles : Easy : 50 ft.
Mountain Bluff Trail (white blaze): 1.8 miles : Difficult : 550 ft.
Flatlanders Pass (yellow blaze) : .5 miles : Easy : 50 ft.
Blue Summit Trail (blue blaze): 3.1 miles : Difficult : 2,840 ft.
Mount Equinox Toll Road
For an incredible New England Fall Foliage Scenic drive, the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive provides breathtaking panaoramic views as you wind and navigate tight turns along the crest of the mountain and climb for 5.2 miles to the 3,848-foot summit. This is the longest private Toll Road in the U.S. Guardrails have been placed along most of the road's length. Along the route there are overlooks and picnic areas where you can stop to admire vistas which encompass the Green, White, Adirondack, Berkshire and Taconic Sunset mountain ranges.
Directions: The entrance to the Equinox Skyline Drive is on Route 7A south of Manchester, Vermont.
For more information:
The Equinox Preservation Trust