hiking
4 months ago

Terrific, moderate difficulty hike with some historical landmarks along the way. From the paved lot across from the Shaker Village, this trail passes a lake and then winds along a gorgeous mountain brook featuring the ruins of several 1800s Shaker domiciles and industrial features. The first ascent is fairly easy, but there are a couple downed trees to scramble over. Coming down the rear side of the first peak is steep with some damp & slick patches. I spotted some great wildlife along here, including deer, blue jays, and even an owl. It's not hard to follow the trail as long as you follow the triangular green blazes, which point the directions to follow at trail crossings. There are a few stretches where the blazes are not prominent, and it's easy to wonder if you've gone off trail -- I wouldn't want to do this walk in the wintertime where the trail itself might be obscured. Although there is never a standout view of the surrounding scenery, the Shaker ruins and the accompanying trail-signs are very interesting. My main reason for giving a 3/5 rating is that the trail is only sporadically well-maintained, and that ATV use has created muddy ruts along much of the back half of the walk. If some trees could be cleared and more blazes put up, this would be a definite 4 star hike. Still, it's a great long walk in the woods with wonderful Shaker ruins and plenty of solitude.