Celebrate 25 years of the Trail Around Middlebury. The “TAM” as it is known locally, is a major project of the Middlebury Area Land Trust. The TAM, a footpath over 18 miles long, encircles the village of Middlebury and links several hundred acres of town land, conserved properties, schools, and other local landmarks. The TAM loop is complete with the construction of 2 bridges that span Otter Creek, made possible by generous support from the Arnold family and Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Our TAM is famous!
Outside Magazine has listed the TAM several times in 2015. Click here for their list of best trail running destinations.
A story by Susan Greenberg about hiking the whole TAM is here on The Warbler VT blog.
The Middlebury Trailrunner blog talks about the TAM here: Going All the Way on the TAM.
An older story on the Addison Independent website: A Virtual Trek on the TAM.
Gorgeous photos of the TAM by Josh Hummel at Green Mountain Film Project.
– 2015 TAM MAPS HERE (Printed maps now at MALT office, Frog Hollow Bikes, Middlebury Mountaineer, Addison County Chamber of Commerce)
– Prunier Road Trail Map
– Interactive Map (Created by Mariah Neilsen)
– TAM Bedrock Geology Map
– TAM Geocaching Information
– “Trekking the TAM” 2013 Video
Numerous volunteers and workers maintain and improve the trail donating in excess of $10,000 worth of time last year. If interested in joining a maintenance party for a day, please contact the MALT office. We welcome school, community and scout groups as well.
Designed and constructed for recreational use, it is open year round for area residents and visitors alike. The TAM’s continued success is possible because of the generous permission of private landowners whose property it crosses. Please treat the land with care and leave only footprints, take only photos. Call the office with questions, comments, or if any obstructions are found at (802) 388-1007.
Use of the TAM for biking is limited to trails marked in yellow on the TAM map. For current conditions and closing reports for biking on the TAM, call the office, and it may be possible to ask at The Bike Center in Middlebury.
TAM Trail Sections:
Below are details on each section of the TAM; the descriptions generally run in a clockwise direction. Each section is linked to a pdf map or web page. Parking is available at most trailheads, and signs will indicate whether the section you are entering is available for mountain bike usage. Much of the TAM crosses private property, so please stay on the trail and respect the rights of these landowners. We appreciate your observing the rules of the trail as shown below, and thanks for using the TAM!
Length: 4.6 miles. Begin on South Street, west of the Middlebury College baseball fields and just north of Porter Hospital. Follow the TAM signs west as you skirt the southern perimeter of the Middlebury College Golf Course. Upon crossing Rt. 30, you will enter the “Colin O’Neil Class of ’97 Trail”, designed and built by senior Environmental Studies students in conjunction with MALT. The final section from Rt.125 north to Rt. 23 goes through a mix of open and wooded land, with wonderful Adirondack views from one rocky knoll. This section ends at the Jackson Trailhead on Rt. 23 in Weybridge.
Length: 1.9 miles. Begin at the TAM parking area on the south side of Rt. 23, 1.5 miles north at junction with Rt. 125 in Middlebury Village. Cross Rt. 23 and start this enjoyable hike by climbing the stile over the fence near the north side of Rt. 23. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself among cows! Follow the TAM signs to the lower end of a small gorge through which a seasonal stream runs. The trail runs north along the stream bank within the gorge for the first mile, then emerges into a meadow before intersecting Hamilton Rd. Turn right onto Hamilton Rd. and walk 200 yards east to the Johnson Trailhead & parking area on your left.
3) Johnson Trail (Bike accessible)
Length: 0.8 miles. Begin at the TAM parking area at the junction of Hamilton Rd. & Sheep Farm Road in Weybridge. Featuring a pond and restored wetland favored by various waterfowl, muskrats, and a variety of birds, this is a pleasant section of the TAM and an easy walk. Proceed north along a fence line to the pond, skirt the pond to the right, and enter the woods. The trail then turns east, winding through deer habitat to the Otter Creek Gorge trailhead on Horse Farm Road.
4) Otter Creek Gorge Preserve (Easy access point, Jog Stroller accessible)
Length: 1.7 miles. Begin at the parking area on Horse Farm Road, 0.2 mile north of the junction with Hamilton Rd. After walking along a meadow fence line, you enter a wooded area passing several other trails and follow the TAM down toward Otter Creek. Cross the Dan & Peggy Arnold Bridge and continue south into the New Haven section of the Otter Creek Gorge Preserve and Wright Park. A short spur open for hikers and jog strollers only starts a few hundred feet north of the main entrance and continues down to a lovely pool and protected shore of Otter Creek. Jog strollers need to return along the same route. Hikers can continue on to Belden Falls; as you walk upstream there are excellent views of the deep and narrow Otter Creek Gorge. Hike this in the springs and hear the water thundering in the gorge!
Previously, this land was the main holding of a separate land trust; whose three trustees, Willard T. Jackson, Linda O. Johnson and Steven Rockefeller; gifted the preserve to MALT. The Preserve is an important natural heritage site that showcases Champlain Valley ecosystems. The three predominant natural communities are: Valley Clayplain Forest, Transition Hardwoods Limestone Forest and Limestone Bluff Cedar Pine Forest. In addition, the open fields and meadows are currently used for agricultural purposes. Protecting the preserve’s ecological integrity is our primary stewardship objective. Guided natural history walks are scheduled annually. Enjoy the diversity of plants and animals living in the preserve. The main TAM access begins at the parking area on Horse Farm Rd, 0.2 miles north of Hamilton Rd.
Many variations and a total network of approximately 3.8 miles. Begin either at the Belden Dam area north of the park or at the southem entrance off of Seymour St. in Middlebury. The land that now comprises Wright Park was given to the town of Middlebury in 1982 by Willard T Jackson in honor of his Middlebury College classmate Charles R. Wright. Consisting of about 150 acres, there are three main trails running north/south through the park. The White Circle trail runs next to Otter Creek and past a small bay near a thirty foot cliff, and past a marsh. The White Triangle trail runs along the eastern boundary near railroad tracks, and the TAM/White Square trail goes tnrough the central part of the park. There are several other cross trails that connect to these main trails and form loops. Detailed maps are posted at the north and south entrances for your reference.
6) Chipman Hill (Bike and Jog Stroller accessible)
Many variations, total network approximately 2.5 miles. Access is from Springside St, High St. or from the TAM trailhead off of Seminary St. Extension, just east of the Co-operative Insurance building. Chipman Hill, the most prominent geographic feature in the town of Middlebury, has an elevation that is approximately 360 feet above that
of the town center, and affords the hiker wonderful views. In the 1940’s and 50’S Chipman Hill was the site of Middlebury College’s downhill ski area, and even featured a ski jump, the remains of which can still be found. Since then, the forest has regenerated and the area is a favorite of walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers.
Length: 1.1 miles in Battell Woods, o.7 mile in Means Woods. Begin at the parking area for Battell & Means Woods on Seminary St. Extension, east of the village of Middlebury. From the Battell/Means parking area, the TAM extends to the south on a well-used trail (the first 1500 feet of which is gravel through Battell Woods. At the southern end of Battell Woods, you’ll drop in elevation onto open farmland once owned by the Sabourin family. Follow the TAM markers past the old Sabourin home and barn and along Rt. 7, to Boardman St. by G. Stone Motors. From here, you can cross Rt. 7 (CAREFULLY!) and enter the Murdock Nature Preserve to continue on the TAM.
For access to Means Woods, use the Battell/Means Woods Parking area, but begin hiking 100 yards east of the parking area on the north side of Seminary St. Extension. The TAM first follows an old town road grade, then a wooded trail north to Peterson Heights, a paved road. Follow this road north approximately 200 yards to its junction with Washington St. Extension. From this junction, follow the TAM markers through an open field toward the base of Chipman Hill, where you can join that trail network.
8) Jeffrey Murdock Nature Preserve (Bike accessible)
Length: o.6 miles. Begin on Route 7 across from G. Stone Motors or the Middlebury Union Middle School. From Route 7 (past a wooden rail fence just north of Dundon’s) follow TAM signs through the 16-acre Jeffrey Murdock Nature Preserve to visit a small cave at the north end and a dedication plaque near a rock outcrop. Notice the huge, old oaks and hickories throughout these pleasant woodlands. The TAM emerges from the woods onto the fields of the Middle School. Follow the signs out the school’s driveway, to the right (north) on Middle Road.
9) Boathouse Bridge (Bike accessible)
Length: 1.1 miles. Begin at the Middlebury Union Middle School on Middle Road or on South Street just north of Porter Hospital. From the Middle School travel north on Middle Road and turn left across a field, then left again (south) onto Creek Road, and then right along the edge of Otter Creek behind the Middle School playing fields. Cross Otter Creek on the “boathouse” footbridge, passing the site of the former Middlebury College boathouse. Follow the TAM signs out the dirt road, taking care when crossing the railroad tracks, which are still in regular use. The TAM turns left behind the playing fields and emerges on South Street. Across South Street the TAM continues into the Middlebury College Trails. (see beginning)
Laid out by Middlebury College intern Emma Loizeaux and MALT’s trail planner John Derick, this trail is marked in blue and leads from the Jackson trail segment west to Prunier Road, where you may continue to Snake Mountain. It heads west through meadows and woods and crosses Weybridge Road south of Monument Farms before continuing down to James Road and Bittersweet Falls Road. It continues through a wooded area, before opening to outstanding views of the Lemon Fair watershed, farmland, and Snake Mountain. The trail then makes its way northwest to Prunier Road.This is part of the effort to extend the North Country National Scenic Trail (NOCO), and has been this successful so far thanks to Peter James of Monument Farms Dairy. He has been very helpful in creating and designing this trail.
Along with the NPS, MALT is working with the Green Mountain National Forest, Towns of Middlebury and Weybridge, and community members to extend the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) from its current endpoint in Crown Point, NY, through to Vermont’s Long Trail. The NCNST begins in Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota and currently traverses 1700 miles over seven states, making it the longest national trail in the United States. The prospect of having a national trail connect to Vermont’s Long Trail and travel through Middlebury, including sections of the TAM, is very exciting and promises to draw additional folks to the area to experience the beauty of VT’s landscape.
Much of the TAM is perfect for a winter excursion via cross-country skis or snowshoes. Below we’ve listed some of our favorites:
Wright Park Trails: This is an excellent area for a winter visit The park is bounded by the Otter Creek to the west and railroad tracks to the east. It is a small enclave for wildlife. You’ll likely see many types of tracks such as rabbit and grouse, and possibly evidence of beaver activity. For an easy loop, follow the TAM/White Square trail markers north from the Seymour St.(south) entrance, then loop back to the south along Otter Creek. Other loops are also possible; see the detail map at the Park entrance.
Middlebury College Trails: The section of the TAM that follows the southern perimeter of the Middlebury College golf course is ideal for cross country skiing, and is well used in winter. Please stay on the marked trail and do not ski onto the golf course itself.
Johnson Trail: Because it goes past a pond that attracts wildlife, this 1.5 mile trail makes a good short outing through a pleasant realm of open fields and woods. Start at the TAM parking area either on Hamilton Rd. or Horse Farm Rd.
Rules of the Trail:
1. Bring food and water for extended hikes
2. Wear clothing and footwear appropriate for the season and your activity
3. Pack out whatever you pack in
4. Keep dogs under restraint at all times and avoid taking them on cross-country ski trails
5. Wear bright colors if walking along a road
6. Lock your car at the trailhead and keep valuables out of sight
7. Choose a route that is within your ability
8. Let someone know your plans, and then stick to them
9. Use mountain bikes only where specifically permitted
10. Avoid use of the trail when excessively wet