CATS Grand Hike Features Three New Trails

CATS Grand Hike

People taking part in Champlain Area Trails’ (CATS)Grand Hike to the Essex Inn” on Saturday, May 14 will walk on three new trails. The inn-to-inn hike begins in Wadhams where hikers will set out on the new “Wadhams Lookout Trail” and see a panoramic view of the High Peaks. 

“This is a little jewel of a trail,” said Chris Maron, executive director of CATS.  “You’d never expect to see such a beautiful vista with such minimal effort.  It provides a great start to the 11-mile hike.”

After a short connection via the existing Field and Forest Trail, hikers will get to the other new trails.  The 1.5-mile “Long Valley Trail” goes from upland forest to grassy fields on the south side of Crooked Brook.  It leads to Sayre Road and the new “Art Farm Trail.”  Hikers here will see landowner Ted Cornell’s unique outdoor sculptures as they walk uphill through large grassy meadows toward a piney forest and the CATS trails leading to Essex. 

“For our third Grand Hike, we wanted to introduce some new routes,” said Bill Amadon, CATS’ trails coordinator.  “Over 200 people came to each of our last two hikes and we thought those returning would appreciate seeing some new scenes.  All three trails are fairly easy and very enjoyable.”

Hikers arriving in Essex will celebrate at a Block Party at the Essex Inn featuring live music, food, drinks, kids crafts, restorative yoga and chair massage provided by Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, and a photo booth to commemorate the event.   

Participants are encouraged to park in Essex where free shuttles, starting at 12:15, will take them from the Essex Inn to Wadhams. People can hike the whole route or join at designated “oases," staffed with volunteers to provide refreshments. The block party begins at 4:00, so hikers should estimate their walking times and plan to arrive in Essex accordingly. People parking in Wadhams are to arrange their own transportation back from Essex.  Check-in is from 12:15 – 1:30 p.m. across from Dogwood Bakery in Wadhams.

Everyone is welcome for the hike and block party, which non-hikers can also attend.  There is a registration fee of $20/person for the hike; children under 17 are free.  The block party is free. To preregister go to the CATS website www.ChamplainAreaTrails.com or call 518-962-2287.

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PHOTO: People on CATS' Grand Hike will walk through grassy fields at the 'Art Farm Trail' after passing by Ted Cornell's unique outdoor sculptures.