Route 125, known as Vermont's Middlebury Gap Road, offers plenty of must-stops along its high and low points including the beautiful Texas Falls and a wooded walk that inspired famous poet Robert Frost.
Vermont is a long, thin state, and most of its highways run north and south or take the low, lazy way along rivers. The exceptions are the high roads that cut east and west across the state, climbing up one side of mountain ranges, then plunging down the other. These high mountain passes are generally known in Vermont as gaps, and cresting gaps is a bit like surfing. The Middlebury Gap is a fine example. It climbs, levels, and then drops down into the next valley. Look at the right moment, and what you see are mountains that rise on mountains, like waves on waves beyond.
The ups and downs of the Middlebury Gap offer an abundance reasons to stop. Plot out the best hiking trails, fishing holes, picnic areas and campgrounds for a Vermont road trip with memorable outdoor activities.
Begin your scenic drive along Middlebury Gap in beautiful Texas Falls and end it in the village of Ripton.
Texas Falls: Pick up Route 125 at its junction in Hancock with Route 100, the scenic old road that runs up the middle of the state. The turnoff for Texas Falls comes so quickly that you tend to miss it, but don't. A quarter-mile north of the road a series of shoots and pools is rimmed by interesting rock formations, viewed from footbridges.
Long Trail: Route 125 climbs up into Middlebury Gap itself, marked at 2,149 feet in altitude by a sign for the Long Trail, the 255-mile-long trail running high up in the Green Mountains, the spine of the state. You enter the Green Mountain National Forest and seem to be striking deeper into woodland when a big yellow, 1860s hotel suddenly appears. Now owned by Middlebury College, this is the Bread Loaf Conference Center, well known for its summer literary programs. It was here that poet Robert Frost taught, summering in a nearby cabin from 1939 until 1962.
Robert Frost Wayside Area: Less than a mile west of Bread Loaf the Robert Frost Wayside Area offers picnic tables, grills, and a map of the neighboring Moosalamoo Wilderness Area with its campsites and mountain-biking trails.
Robert Frost Interpretive Trail: A bit farther west, past a classic old Vermont cemetery, is the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. A path leads across the brook and into the pines. The trail is salted with Frost poems.
Ripton: Next comes the small mountain village of Ripton with its white clapboard meetinghouse and post office/general store. Here Route 125 begins its descent, dipping ever-downward along the Middlebury River. Look quickly and for a second or two the Champlain Valley, Lake Champlain, and the Adirondack Mountains are spread below.
Middlebury Gap is one of only a few roadways that traverse the spine of the Green Mountains, the mountain range that bisects Vermont by running north to south. Enjoy this winding affair with the natural beauty of the state, as the Middlebury Gap is one of the most scenic drives in Vermont.
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