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Lately, I have been working far too many hours so when my son asked me to hike the Taconic Mountain Ramble with him, I agreed. I enjoy hiking although most of my hiking is more like walking with some rocks and bridges to cross. Both of the kids have hiked the Ramble before but I had never been there.
Taconic Mountain Ramble
The Taconic Mountain Ramble is part of a Vermont State Park located in Hubbardton, Vermont. It’s undeveloped which means that there aren’t any facilities there. There are a port-a-potty and a caretakers cottage with maps available outside. The official address is 321 St. John’s Road in Hubbardton.
The Japanese Zen Garden at the foot of the Taconic Mountain Ramble was built by the filmmaker Carson “Kit” Davidson who died in 2016. The Zen Garden is part of the 204 acres of property given to the State of Vermont for public use. The park and trails are free to access. There is a carry in, carry out policy. There are no trash cans, no water, and no phones. The rules are no smoking, no overnight stays, and no fires. Learn more here.
My son drove and parked in the small parking area near the caretaker’s cottage. From there, you take a steep walk down to the Zen Garden where there are a series of small bridges, waterfalls, ponds, and Adirondack chairs. You can relax and enjoy the view. We went in early fall so the leaves were just starting to change and the wildflowers were mostly gone.
We hung out in the Zen Garden for a few minutes and admired the view. It was damp from rain the day before and the clouds were dark but thankfully, it didn’t rain while we were there. It really is a gorgeous spot.
To get to the Taconic Mountain Ramble, you go over a series of small bridges past the Zen Garden. From there, my son told me I needed to go up two ladders and over the rock to start. I’ll be honest and tell you that after the first ladder, I almost gave up.
There are no railings and the walkway is narrow. But, with his encouragement, I kept on going. And, I’m glad I did. It felt good to step out of my comfort zone for a minute.
Once I climbed up the two ladders and slid down the other side of the rock, I turned to look back. And, only then did I see a walkway to the side of the rocks that we could have taken. My sons’ response when I pointed that out “Yeah, but aren’t you glad you went the other way?”
He was right. It’s worth it but if you truly don’t feel you can go that way, look for the walkway. The view from the top of the second ladder is truly stunning.
From that point, we followed the pathways for the most part. We did a little bit of free climbing up the rocks and enjoyed the leaves. The trails are blazed with different colors and there are signs throughout. So, you can follow one trail or just wander aimlessly as we did.
You can really make the Taconic Mountain Ramble as easy or difficult as you want which I appreciated. While we were walking, we saw a woman walking two dogs and a man with his daughter who appeared to be around 10. They stuck to the more simple paths and appeared to be having a great time.
We did a bit of walking on the spring trail and the cave trail and then we headed toward Mount Zion Minor rather than Mount Zion Major which my son said was a much more difficult climb. I’d like to give it a try in the summer when things are dry and it’s a little bit warmer.
You can check out the view from the top of Mount Zion Minor. The trail is only open for hiking between Memorial Day and Columbus Day so we barely got in before it closed for the season. I definitely would not have wanted to do this if it had any sort of ice or snow.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and step past your comfort zone a little bit. It feels good when you accomplish something you weren’t sure you would.
Check out my trip to Queeche Gorge.