Cow Mountain Pond Forest Outing – June 21, 2022

The weather last weekend started out cold and rainy- very cold for this time of year, with the temperatures in the mid-40s. The rain was the driven type, as the winds that have been with us most of June continued.

The rain cleared out by Sunday morning, but things were still cool. The sky had more blue than gray, and there was no more rain in the forecast so I decided to take a drive over to Cow Mountain Pond Forest and see what’s there to see.

Located in Granby, VT, Cow Mountain Pond Forest is a “Forest Legacy Project” that came into being in the 1990s. It’s not a National Forest or Park. There are no facilities or staff there, and apparently it’s maintained by the town of Granby. There’s not much parking available at the trailhead, but I suspect what’s there is enough as the usage seemed fairly light.

It took about 40 minutes or so to drive over to Granby from where I live, a significant part of the trip over well-maintained dirt roads. Granby is definitely “out back of beyond”. I parked the Jeep at the top of the Jeep trail leading into the trailhead. All of the usual hiking guides online stated very clearly to not block the trail.

Upon returning from the hike, a vehicle from Maine was parked in the middle of this road

A short walk along the two-track brings you to the official start of the trail, where there’s a gate and some informational signage. The metal plaque set into a boulder provides the history of the Forest. 

Continuing on the trail brings you to a junction, where branching off to the right is the spur trail to Cow Mountain Pond. I decided to check out the pond. The path was muddy in places due to the rain Saturday, and there were very fresh and very large moose tracks in the mud, heading in the same direction as I was going. The tracks ended as I reached the edge of Cow Mountain Pond, so I’m guessing the moose may have crossed the pond and continued on his way.

Cow Mountain Pond is small, nestled in tight to the trees. It’s the first pond I’ve come across in Vermont that really reminds me of the trout ponds I used to fish in the tract less wilds of Western and Northern Maine. There was even a similar sign:

Here’s a short panorama video of the pond:

Being a spur trail, I had to back-track to the junction, and along the way encountered a family group obviously heading in to fish. Proceeding on the trail towards Cow Mountain, elevation gain was mild initially, with a couple of decent inclines along the woodland trail. All dirt, mud and low vegetation- very few rocks. After about a mile- maybe less- I reached another trail junction. The spur trail to the summit went off to the right, and to the left the other half of the loop trail back to the trailhead. Despite the warning of steepness ahead on the sign, I headed for the summit.

Reaching the summit a short time later, I found the Vista Bench, where I sat and enjoyed a sandwich before starting the return trip to the Jeep.

Not much of note to report on the trip down and back to the trailhead. I did come upon a hatch of Quebecers heading up the trail. Aside from the fisherfolk, they were the only people I saw that day. Considering the trail conditions, I suspect the trail to the pond gets a lot more use than the loop to the top of the hill. That might be different in winter, for one thing that did strike me about the Cow Mountain Pond trail system is how snowshoe-friendly it seemed. I have made a note to give this a try next winter.

Cow Mountain Pond Forest was a most enjoyable outing. Although the weather was somewhat gray and cool, I did not see, hear or more importantly, feel, any insects during the entire walk thanks to the cool temps and strong breezes. The total distance covered was about 3 ½ miles. 

Here’s a link to more information about the Forest should you be interested in learning more, or visiting. Thanks for stopping by.

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