Welcome to New Discovery State Park. As early as 1704, Native Americans and the French were using routes through Groton to reach Canada and Massachusetts. Colonists settled this area of Vermont slightly earlier than the rest of the State through the accessible network of waterways. The rocky, tree covered hillsides were originally cloaked with white pine, spruce, hemlock, beech, maple and birch. These were logged by local farmers for lumber, fuel and potash. The logging industry was large-scale for almost 100 years while the railroad was operating. Today, logging is still a vital industry in the area, but has lost some of its dominance in favor of modern societys leisure time movement - private cottages/seasonal homes and a variety of outdoor recreation activities.
Parked at the north parking area and hiked the multi-use trails through the forest to link up with the Owl's Head trail south of New Discovery campground. This made an otherwise very short hike into an enjoyable walk through the woods ending in a very gentle climb to Owl's Head. The summit is nicely developed with a picturesque stone stair. Encountered several remarkably large toads in the forest as well as a snowshoe hair near the top of the mountain. Some yellow and white birches noticeably older than the surrounding trees punctuate the otherwise uninterrupted walk through the forest.
Jammi R. on Owlshead Mountain Trail
We took the new discovery trail which is 1.5 miles. We went in March, still ice on the rocks, had to go off trail to make it to the top.
As a hiking trail you can find better exercise on many other trails around Groton unless you're looking for a short ascent. The treasure of this hike is the overlook at the top. And the star of the show is the view of Kettle Pond. If you're a photographer this is one of those iconic Vermont images you should have in your album. Plan on being there around sunset.
I did this trail in the winter to specifically capture a white Kettle Pond at sunset. My winter hike made the entire walk about a mile. The first time I tried to do it the access road was covered in ice and my truck started sliding in park. Needless to say, I didn't hike it that day. A few days later, after some snow accumulation, I tried it again with great success. The plow truck pushed a pile against the access gate, so I had to walk from 232 up. Crampons helped significantly because there was still a lot of ice beneath the new snow.
Obviously a winter ascent can require more skill than the summer version. There are 3 short sections where things could be slippery due to the steepness that would make me hesitant to bring a toddler or elderly person. But I would think anyone who doesn't need assistance walking could tackle this trail.