Start with by walking along the Carol Thomas Memorial trail then head on to the half day hike to North Creek Reservoir.
Easy Hike Along the Carol Thomas Memorial Hiking Trail to Schaefer Trail and the Ski Bowl
You can reach this trail by walking the length of the dirt parking lot between the Town Hall and North Creek. Follow the trail upstream along the North Creek until you reach a pedestrian bridge and underpass.
Continue walking for about 10-15 minutes and you will come across several benches along the trail to take a rest on and soak in the environment near the stream.
Continue onwards for about 10 minutes until you arrive at a road and parking lot next to the town pond and pavilion. From here, there are three destinations located within a few minutes of this location:
1. Enjoy the waterside park by walking 5 minutes over to the pavilion by the pond
2. Visit the Community Garden and Ski Bowl Park by following the road on the right hand side for about 5 minutes
3. Continue along the Schaefer Trail for about 15-20 minutes until you reach the top of the Ski Bowl.
The Half Day Hike on Schaefer Trail to North Creek Reservoir
This hike has 1,100 feet in elevation gain and is approximately 5 miles long.
Continue from the Carol Thomas Memorial Trail on the marked path by climbing up the slope that runs through the coniferous forest.
After walking up the trail for about 10-15 minutes you will pass a large double base oak and enter a hardwood stand with an over-story of large Red Oak. From this point on, the trail will become steeper and require you to make two sharp turns.
After another 15-20 minutes, you will begin to hear the sounds of the creek as the trail approaches the edge of the Roaring Brook gorge. This trail will follow the top of the bank uphill where you will be able to experience clear views of Oven and Crane Mountains.
The trail will then shift away from the top of the embankment and make a left turn across a small stream. From there, the trail will descend into the gorge.
If you are uncomfortable hiking on rocky trails and side hills, now is the place to turn around.
Walk around the boulders by the rock ledge with caution as you get closer to the stream. Note that this is a great place to stop and enjoy the surrounding views. If you keep walking along the stream, you will encounter small water falls. There is also a great stopping point at a large waterfall with a natural pool at its base.
At this point, you are 1 mile from where you started and 500 feet higher up in the air. This section of the hike usually takes around 1-2 hours roundtrip.
To reach a great, high view point of the stream and falls, climb up the roots of the large yellow birch tree located just to the right of the waterfalls. This trail will cross the slope and then switch to the left at the top of the bank. Walk a couple hundred feet further and soak in the view.
The trail will then reenter the gorge and continue following the stream. You will come to a large wall of boulders along the new Eagle's Nest alpine ski trail after about 5-10 minutes. Keep following the blue markers to the right of the trail around the wall. Cross the ski trail beside the new bridge and follow the creek upstream.
While walking along the stream you will find many beautiful small pools, waterfalls and flumes. In another 10-15 minutes, you will come across a different alpine ski trail. Walk across the roadway while staying on the same side of the creek (North.)
After walking for approximately 10-15 minutes you will come out on a ledge that overlooks the North Creek Reservoir. From this point, the North side of the summit of Gore Mountain is also visible if you look directly across the reservoir.
From here, you can either walk back down the Schaefer Trail to the alpine trail downhill to the Ski Bowl. Or, you can continue up the Schaefer Trail which leads to the Rabbit Pond Trail.
It will take approximately 5 minutes to walk up the trail that intersects with the Rabbit Pond Ski Trail. The Rabbit Pond Trail has a slight, 50 foot, uphill climb and will then pass over a ridge which goes down through a storm damaged forest to Rabbit Pond. This will take approximately 20-30 minutes.
From Rabbit Pond, walk down the ski trail that crosses the outlet stream from the pond through an old forest. The trail will then enter a forest, pass by a beaver pond and then continue downhill to a four way intersection with the Ski Bowl Connector and Raymond Brook Ski Trails after about 20-30 minutes of walking.
Follow the yellow markers on the Ski Bowl Connector Trail for about 30-40 minutes to get to the Ski Bowl.
After walking for about 5 minutes, you will pass a large beaver pond on the right hand side of the trail. Walk downhill until you reach a stream crossing about .4 miles from the last intersection. From this point, you will see a waterfall about 250 feet upstream. Walk across the stream and follow the old forest road 1 mile down to the Ski Bowl.