Colchester Pond, located in Colchester, is a natural pond that covers 182 acres and has been designated an Important Birding Trail by the Lake Champlain Birding Trail organization. Geese, mallards, blue herons, ospreys, and other birds have all been spotted on the lake as have many beavers, otters and bobcats. The 3.5 mile loop meanders along the pond's shores and travels through the surrounding forest, wetlands and pasture. The trail is a well-marked rocky and rooty singletrack and is used for a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, running, snowshoeing and picnicking.
What Makes It Great
Runners will get a lot for a little with this trail. It’s short, clocking in at under four miles, but the two to three short but moderately steep climbs, unexpected for a small town pond loop, mix it up a bit and get the heart rate going.
The views of the lake are beautiful from the trail especially during the fall, adding another reason to head out on this trail during late summer or early autumn. There is a short trail that shoots off the main trail about halfway through that runners can take right down to the water’s edge for a quick splash of water on the face to cool off. Around on the opposite side of this off-shoot trail nearing the end of the run, the route brings runners within a foot of the water for a length of time to finish up the loop.
It’s a quick loop not too far from Burlington that makes an easy run before or after work. While it is located in the bustling urban area of Colchester the entire property feels quite secluded and remote. It’s very easy to run the loop clockwise to start and then turn around and run it again in the opposite direction to easily double your miles and make it a longer run.
Best to run the trail in late summer or early fall as this is usually the driest season and the pasture-area trails tend to get and stay wet. There are also a handful of other spots along the forest trails that get muddy quickly as well, but there are a lot of boardwalks to help runners avoid the muddier portions. The early fall also helps to thin out the assault by the mosquitoes as being right on the water tends to bring them out in droves. Bring bug spray!
Who is Going to Love It
Runners looking for quick run that isn’t too difficult, but provides enough ascents to make it feel like a workout. There are nice views of the lake throughout the run and those looking to see some beavers in action have a high chance of catching them at work at the pond’s beaver dam located on the southwestern tip of the pond.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There is a lot at the pond where is is free to park, but it’s small and can fill up quickly with fisherman and families so get there on the earlier side on the weekends or head over during the week.