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If you’re looking for a gorgeous ride this summer, you have got to visit Quechee Gorge Vermont. You won’t believe the amazing views you’ll see as you look over the railing. Plan to spend the afternoon just taking in the views but do wear a good sturdy pair of shoes if you plan on doing any hiking or walking down the gorge.
Quechee Gorge is known as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon and is located in Windsor County, Vermont. The entire length of the Gorge is 1.4 miles. Quechee Gorge can be viewed from the Quechee Gorge Bridge which is located on Vermont Route 4A in the Town of Hartford. Quechee Gorge is part of the 612 acre Quechee Gorge State Park. The drop from the Quechee Gorge Bridge to the bottom of the Gorge is roughly 165 feet.
Before the existence of Quechee Gorge, the Ottauquechee River made a slow gradual southern turn about a mile east of the Gorge. When our climate cooled about 100,000 years ago, the Laurentide Ice Sheet formed in northern Canada and flowed south over New England. This buried the Ottauquechee River underneath ice and snow. About 13,000 years ago, it started to warm up again and the ice sheet began to melt. Instead of flowing straight into the Connecticut River like it did before the ice sheet, it flowed into the arm of a huge lake called Glacial Lake Hitchcock. It backed up behind a dam of gravel left by the ice melt. When the dam broke, the Ottauquechee River turned south and wore away the bedrock until it finally cut all the way through to form the Gorge as it is today.
Also within walking distance are parking, picnic tables, hiking trails, souvenir shops and rest rooms. The bridge is handicapped accessible. There is a campground within driving distance and a number of other local attractions including the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) Raptor Center. Trail conditions vary and the state recommends you check with the visitor center for details and safety information. You can view the gorge from protective walkways located on both sides of the highway. A crosswalk exists to go from side to side but traffic can be fairly busy at times so use care.
Quechee Gorge is a beautiful scenic stop if you’re traveling State Route 4 in Vermont. If you’d like to spend time in the area, there are a number of other Vermont attractions to see or you can hike the trails depending on the weather. I wouldn’t recommend this stop as a great place to bring small children. The walkways are protected but there is a fair amount of traffic. The safety railings would make it difficult for a younger child to see down into the gorge unless they were lifted up by an adult. For older kids or adults, it’s a truly breathtaking view down into the gorge. The view during the height of leaf peeping season is phenomenal so aim for late September/early October for the best view. Heading this way? Consider stopping at another Vermont & New Hampshire attraction
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