Hike around Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park

Castleton, Vermont


Added by Tara Schatz

This enchanting state park features a Japanese garden, meadows teeming with birds, mountain vistas, and waterfalls!

Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park is a unique collection of hiking trails and walking paths that meander more than 204 acres of fields, forests, gorges, cliffs, and gardens. The best way to explore these enchanting trails is to pack a picnic and lace up your hiking boots for a full-day ramble. Warblers, robins, thrushes, phoebes, and bobolinks will provide the soundtrack. 

Located in Hubbardton, Vermont, Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park was donated to the state of Vermont in 2016, after long-time resident, Carson “Kit”  Davidson passed away. Kit and his wife, Mickie bought 450 Hubbardton acres in 1966 for $69 an acre and proceeded to create a rambling oasis of trails, as well as a peaceful Japanese garden.

This is an undeveloped state park with no amenities other than a single outhouse near the parking lot. The park is open for day-use only, and you are asked not to smoke or have fires on the property. Dogs are permitted too!

Here’s a trail map for the Eastern Trails and Western Trails that you can download and/or print. They also provide them at the entrance kiosk.

Japanese Garden

You can access the elaborate Japanese Gardens by walking down a steep hilly trail just past the private residence of the park manager. This is a favorite spot for kids, with numerous footbridges, small frog-filled pools, and giant boulders. 

Adirondack chairs are placed strategically throughout the garden, but the coolest one is bolted on top of a boulder that can only be accessed by climbing a wooden ladder. The Japanese Garden is a great spot to relax with a picnic, and the views are pretty stellar from any point in the garden. You can also access both the eastern and western trails from here.

Hiking Trails

  • North Woods Trail and Meadow Path Loop: A gentle walk through meadows, past a large white pine and a colossal elm tree, and then into the woods for an easy woodland hike back to the access road. 
  • Meadow Path, Falls Trail, and Woods Road Loop: Start in the Japanese Garden and head south through the meadow. Cross Monument Hill Road and enter the woods. Now you will climb up and down a bit before you come to a steep gorge with numerous pools and small waterfalls. The falls are seasonal and may be dried up in the summer, but it’s still a lovely area to explore. Pop back into the meadow and continue back to the parking area. Approximate time: 2 hours.
  • Mount Zion Major: This is a short steep trail with great views of the fields and distant mountains. Start on the Spring Trail near the home of the park manager. Cross a bridge and begin your ascent. Mount Zion Major is 1,220 feet with awesome views along the ridge. Follow the red blazes as the trail descends steeply back into the forest. Total hiking time is about an hour.
  • Mount Zion Minor and Moot Point: Another steep climb with fabulous views. Start in the Japanese Garden and take the red-blazed Garden Trail and take a sharp left toward Moot Point. A short, steep ascent will bring you to the ridge of Mount Zion Minor with awesome views to the east. Next, follow the ridge and follow the Moot Point Trail that follows a mossy ledge and ascends to another ridge called Moot Point, which provides views of the mountains and valleys on both sides. Return to the red-blazed trail and descend back into the woods where you can return to the parking area on the red-blazed Spring Trail.
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Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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