White Rocks Recreation Area

White Rocks will blow your mind. No really. You have to go see this place.

The Draw: 

  • Exceptional views the Green Mountains
  • Accessible trail to visit “Chaos Canyon” and the Ice Beds (explained below)
  • Very short and mellow trail
  • 35 minute drive from GMC
  • Great place to view the sunset

Description: White Rocks National Recreation Area (WRNRA) is located in southern Vermont, within the Green Mountain National Forest. There are several trails to be accessed from the Sugar Hill Rd entrance. WRNRA has roughly 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail within the property lines. The main attraction is the White Rock Cliffs, and Chaos Canyon and the Ice Beds. As shown in the picture above, there was a giant rockslide on the west side of the mountain, which created the cliffs, and the canyon and ice beds within the valley.

To get there: While there are several routes to get there, the faster and easier way is to drive to Rutland on Route 4. Take a right at the end of Route 4, and then head south on Route 7 for 7.5 miles to reach Wallingford. At the intersection, take a left onto School Street, VT 140 E. Follow this road for roughly 2 miles, and then take Russell Road/Sugar Hill Rd on the right. Very quickly there will be a Green Mountain National Forest sign, and take a right on this road. Follow this up until you reach the parking lot, or in the winter there will be a gate at the top of a hill. If the gate is up, follow the road a short .2 miles until you reach the parking lot.

Ice Bed Trail: From the parking lot, you’ll want to make sure to take the right trail. The first time I visited this area, I took the wrong trail for about 3 miles until I realized with a friend that we were going in the wrong direction the whole time. The trail to view the rock cliffs and ice beds is directly on the right as you enter the parking lot. From here the view point is less than a mile to reach. There is a decent climb up to the view point, but nothing too strenuous, as the trail is less than a mile. There are several lookout points that have been created overtime, but the main one offers almost 180 degree views of the landscape. I’ve been here 3 times now, and so far I’ve never come across someone on the trail. From the view point, it’s just a short hike down to Chaos Canyon and the Ice Beds. I’ve never been down there yet, but I hear it’s a really stunning scene with giant boulders that once fell off the side of the mountain.

Activities: Although camping is allowed at campsites along the Appalachian Trail, unfortunately camping isn’t allowed on the Ice Beds Trail. This trail is mainly used for hiking, snowshoeing, exploring the ice beds, and photography.

Leave No Trace: Lastly, please follow all Leave No Trace principles. This trail is said to be heavily used during the summer months, so even if you don’t drop any trash or leave a trace, pick up after others that didn’t do as well as you.

Pack-list Suggestions: (These are merely suggestions to add to your pack, please make sure you bring enough layers to accommodate the current temperatures)151108_YODER_0034

  • Hammock – in warmer temps, this place is a great place to hang out and chill in a hammock
  • Ukulele – what’s better than hanging out in a hammock AND playing the ukulele?
  • Camera – This place is one my favorite to photograph.

Have a suggestion for a hike, or an additional point to include in the post you just read? Email me at tate.yoder@greenmtn.edu – I’d love to hear if this was the first time you’d ever heard of this trail, or any tips/advice that you’d like to see included in my posts! Happy trails!



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