Middlebury is the county seat of Addison County, as well as being the business and commercial center of the region. Many businesses and restaurants are clustered in its downtown, and it is surrounded by parks and preserves that will be sure to whet the appetites of humans and dogs looking for adventure! The town also is home to 3 veterinary hospitals, should your fur-baby become ill or injured. They’ll get her up and wagging again in no time!
The dog-friendly Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) trail system encircles the town of Middlebury with over 18 miles of trail and bridges. Sections of the main loop trail have received various names, and there are many points of access along its route. The trail arises in the Otter Creek Gorge Preserve and connects other parks and preserves, along with non-hiking attractions. Various side trails appear along the way as well, making this a uniquely customizable system to accommodate casual walkers and avid, long-distance hikers.
The Snake Mountain Trail in the complex is challenging at the beginning, with a very steep incline, but it levels out and becomes less difficult. This 5-mile looped trail affords magnificent views from the top. A shorter and more family and dog-friendly trail is the 4-mile Abbey Pond, an out-and-back that features a lake. All the trails around Middlebury are dog-friendly, but please remember to leash your pup before starting out.
Whatever your reason for being in the Middlebury area, get out there with your favorite fur-buddy and take advantage of the natural resources in the pawrrific Lake Champlain Valley Region. You’ll be glad you did!
Wright Park is located in the Middlebury Town Center, and is 150 acres of woodlands and shrubs. It features a network of approximately 4 miles of trails, with the 3 main trails running roughly north-south. The White Circle Trail abuts Otter Creek and passes by a 30-foot cliff, and a marsh. The White Triangle Trail courses near railroad tracks on the east side of the park, and the TAM/White Square Trail runs through the center. Interconnecting cross trails form loops with each other, and these main trails, making for endless possibilities of routes to choose from depending on how much time you and Fido have. Picnic tables sit beside Otter Creek, where you can take a breather or enjoy a snack. If you and your furry bestie would rather sit down to a meal, try one of the pup-friendly restaurants in town that provide outdoor tables for your furry date, such as Noonie’s Deli or the Pub at the Waybury Inn. Bone appetit!
East Middlebury is the home of pup-friendly Chipman Hill Park, which contains Chipman Hill Top Trail, a multi-use trail of almost 2 miles. Once you’re at the summit, there are lots of trail choices that will find you on loops and connectors for the walk back down. The forest surrounding the trail is dense and hilly, full of birds and other wildlife, including owls and small mammals to tempt Fido, who must be securely leashed. The view from the top is a panorama that includes the village, Middlebury College and the surrounding mountains. This is a great, relatively short walk for you and the pup! Furbulous!
Weybridge is a small town just north of Middlebury, and it’s where you’ll find Otter View Park, another dog-friendly spot near Middlebury. This open 15-acre park provides access to Otter Creek for paddling and dog-splashing, as well as preserving wetland and the wildlife habitats within it. Amphibians and waterfowl abound, as do other birds and mammals, including otters. Boardwalks cross the wetlands, and there are universally accessible pathways throughout. In addition, a large meadow provides open green play-space for families and doggos, adjacent to the parking and picnic areas. There’s even a Council Ring of stones where small, impromptu gatherings can occur! Pawtastic!
A short distance from Middlebury is the village of Bristol, home to the dog-friendly Green Mountain Family Campground. The 42-acre campground features hiking trails perfect for your walks with Fido, plus hot showers, wifi, and lots of other camp amenities. One cabin is set aside for families with dogs, but the outdoor campsites are all dog-friendly. Be aware that your pup must be leashed at all times, and isn’t welcome in or near the pools or kids’ play areas. But all of the looped multi-use trails are open to him, and there are lots of possibilities for various times and routes here. The property is crossed by a creek for drinking and splashing, and courses through meadows and trees. Woofderful!
A short way to the south of Middlebury is where you’ll find the dog-friendly Brandon Swamp Wildlife Management Area, almost 300 acres of floodplain swamp that is the habitat for water-loving animals like otters and beavers, as well as land-based mammals like deer, coyotes and fox. There is abundant waterfowl for Fido to track, along with songbirds, raptors and amphibians like turtles. The swamp provides access to Otter Creek for paddling or rowing with your furry bestie – what could be more fun? With free parking and wildlife viewing areas, it’s easy to explore this unique area. Furtastic! Please remember to keep your fur-buddy leashed at all times.