White Rocks Ice Beds

White Rocks National Recreation Area, Vermont. On top of the boulder pile at the Ice Beds phenomenon (sort of a natural air conditioner where long-term ice under the rock pile makes a cold micro-climate, it is wild!)


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BarryGuy - Sep 22, 2012 3:21 pm - Hasn't voted

White Rocks national Recreation Area, Wallingford, VT

The White Rocks National Recreation Area has a picnic area and two hiking trails, one to the top of White Rocks Cliff and the other, the Ice Beds Trail, to the bottom of the cliff. The two trails both start at the same parking lot, but are not connected. I attempted to bush-wack from the top to the bottom, but found it far too steep and treacherous for my day-hike equipment.

The Ice Beds Trail heads west from the parking lot. It is easy and gradual with spectacular views to the east of the western slope of the White Rocks Cliff -- a massive rock-slide of light-colored (almost white) rocks. "Massive", meaning almost half the mountain-side collapsed into a steeply-sloping pile of loose rocks of all sizes.
The Ice Beds Trail climbs a wooded hill to the west of the Cliff with several lookouts across a small valley to the White Rocks Cliff to the east. The trail then continues south until it reaches the ice beds at the SW corner of the rock-slide. Winter ice remains until summer under the tons of fallen rock, creating a cool breeze, even on the hottest summer days. From this low point on the trail, you can begin a scramble up the massive rock-slide of boulders ranging from 18" to 10 feet. I have never ascended more than a few hundred feet up this slide due to time contraints.

The trail to the summit is longer, heading east from the parking lot, then circling south to the summit, above the cliff and rock-slide. There are tremendous views to the west, SW and NW.

I hiked the two trails on two different days. However, experienced hikers could easily do both in less than half a day. Both provide wonderful views with not a lot of effort. But, in my opinion, the Ice Beds Trail gives the better view of the spectaular rock-slide which is the essence of White Rocks Cliff.

For a fantastic satellite view of the Cliff, go to Googlemaps.com and enter White Rocks National Recreation Area, Russell Road, Wallingford, VT. You can see the individual boulders within the rock-slide.

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