Northern Vermont is home to some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the Northeast. While many visitors will be familar with the fabulous Skiing and Snowboarding available at Jay Peak Resort, they may be surprised to learn that the Montgomery and Jay area boasts many more activities, such as Golfing, Mountain Biking, Canoeing and Kayaking, Fishing, Hiking, and more!
Please note: We make every effort to keep our information up-to-date, but sometimes service providers may have a change in pricing that is not reflected here. Please use any pricing listed below as a guide only, and call the businesses directly to confirm current pricing.
Canoeing and Kayaking
The Montgomery and Jay Peak area offers many opportunities for Canoeing and Kayaking, including the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the Missisquoi River, Lake Memphremagog, and the Clyde and Nulhegan Rivers in the Northeast Kingdom. See our Canoeing and Kayaking page for more information.
Skiing Jay Peak
The Jay Peak Resort is rightly famous for its excellent skiiing, with the greatest snowfall amount in all of Vermont. We have a full page on our local skiing at Jay for you to explore.
Golfing in Vermont
You might be surprised to know that the Northeast Kingdom and surrounding areas are home to several excellent golf courses. Visit our golf vacation page to view information on the new Jay Peak Championship Golf Course as well as other courses in the area.
Every winter our local recreation center builds a large circular rink, fills it with water, and waits for the hard freeze that will give us our own local ice rink! It is just at the end Main Street as you enter into town (in front of Montgomery’s Recreational Pavilion).
If you forget your skates, you can “borrow” some for a small donation to the recreational center ($5 or $10 depending on generous you feel!). The skates are available at the little building at the recreational center.
For awesome Cross-Country Skiing, you either can go to Jay Peak and ski over their beautifully groomed trails which travel over their landscaped golf course when it’s covered in snow, or you can experience some of the best cross-country skiing in New England at one of the many groomed trails maintained by the Hazen’s Notch Association.
To reach Hazen’s Notch, just go to the end of the road (towards the Baptist Church), cross over the bridge and turn left on Rte 58. The Hazen’s Notch Association Welcome Center is located on the left hand side of the road about 3 miles up They have trail maps, and lot’s of suggestions on the best routes depending on your experience. Rental of equipment is available at Hazen’s Notch Association, right in town at “First Trax” (326-7023).
** Hazen’s Notch Cross Country Ski Race **
Normally held in February –Please ask us for the yearly date
Ted Means Memorial X-C Ski Race sponsored by the Hazen's Notch Association. Race begins at 10:00 AM at the Welcome Center on the Hazen's Notch Road in Montgomery. Adults: $8, Children $5. 5 and 10 km distances. Prizes to all finishers include Vermont Maple Syrup.
Derby Lanes, in Derby is one of the rare establishments still offering the opportunity for Candlepin Bowling. This is a treat for any ten-pin bowler. Call 802-766-2672 to reserve a lane for Candlepin bowling.
With access to the Long Trail from Jay Peak, and hiking the trails of Hazen's Notch, hikers will think they have found paradise as they travel the mountains of northern Vermont. See our Hiking page for more information on this popular sport.
Dogsledding is gaining in popularity, and our area now offers several choices to enjoy this exciting sport.
Montgomery Adventures is the area's premier adventure guide service, offering Dogsledding and a variety of other winter and summer activities. Dogsledding rides last approximately one hour. Dogsledding offerings include:
- Standard Sled Rides - tailored to your preferences (scenic, exciting, or VERY exciting) this trip takes you past frozen lakes and ponds on a wooded trail which opens up to a spectacular view of Jay Peak.
- Moonlight/Starlight Rides - Mother Nature's answer to the Roller Coaster, this adrenaline-pumping ride is a spectacular way to experience the Vermont landscape at night!
- Kids' Rides - kids can try dogsledding in a very controlled atmosphere while parents watch them on the ride. Perfect for photo ops for future holiday cards!
Two local stables offer riding opportunites and lessons: Rustler's Horseback Riding Camp - Riding lessons, North Troy; and Foxwood Stables, Derby, call Jeanne Hamblett at 802-766-4756 to make arrangements for riding.
Lajoie welcomes all riders, age 5 and up, regardless of abilities. They have a trail and horse for every rider, and trail horses are all gentle and well trained. Lajoie specializes in first time riders. Trail rides begin on a hand cut trail through serene woodlands and into Lajoie’s Christmas tree grove. Upon exiting the grove of blue spruce and pine the mountain views will take your breath away. Mount Mansfield stands proud and majestic above the tree line. Even the slopes of Smugglers Notch ski resort are visible from the trail.
After taking in the view you can chose either a quiet laid back ride or a slightly faster paced ride through open fields. The trail then returns to the woods past the riding arena and over a small stream. One hour rides return to the stables past their corral and herd of horses.
For the experienced rider Lajoie offers longer and more vigorous rides through some rough terrain, up and down hills and over Black Creek.
Summer and Winter Trail Rides:
Groups Gentle Rides – 1 hour w/ picture taking opportunity
More Upbeat Rides – 1 hour w/ picture taking opportunity
Private Rides: Pace As Requested – 2 hours
Call for additional details on the types of rides available and pricing. For your convenience, Lajoie accepts Visa and Mastercard.
992 Pollander Road
Mountain Biking and Cycling
The Montgomery/ Jay Peak Area has many established routes for both Mountain Biking and Road Cycling. Learn more about what our area has to offer on our Mountain Biking and Cycling page.
Vermont is the home of VAST, the Vermont Association of Snowmobile Trails. With hundreds of miles of trails throughout the farms and mountains of the Northeast Kingdom, snowmobiling is one of the most popular winter sports in Vermont. Rentals are available at Jay Peak Resort and at the Jay Village Inn.
Guided Snowmobile Rides with FirstTrax
Reservations recommended at least 24 hours in advance
Tours Leave First Tax East in Jay at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, and 5:00 PM
Climb Burnt Mountain with the folks from Hazen’s Notch
Normally held in February - ask for this year’s dates
Join your friends and neighbors as we climb Burnt Mountain. 2 miles each way; 1,600' vertical climb; strenuous with panoramic view on summit. Option to go only as far as Window Rock (1 mile each way) where there is an excellent view. Bring a snack or lunch and something to drink. Call (802) 326-4799 for more information.
For Guided Snowshoeing in the Montgomery/Jay Peak area, check out the following providers:
Montgomery Adventures provides guided Snowshoe Walks and Snowshoe rentals for those who wish to snowshoe on their own.
Hazen’s Notch Tours
- Regular Tours: 7:00 PM. Adults $3, Children $1. HNA Members Free. Snowshoe rentals $4. Reservations required by Noon the day of the tour. Ask us for the dates
- Full (Cold) Moon Snowshoe Tour along Spruce Brook to the summit of Sugar Hill. Meet at the Welcome Center on the Hazen's Notch Road, 7:00 PM. Adults $3, Children $1. HNA Members Free. Snowshoe rentals $4. Reservations required by 5 p.m. the day before.
There are public tennis courts in North Troy, Derby, Derby Line and Newport. Please contact the Recreation Department for details at 802-334-7951.
If spring seems a little dull where you are, come stay with us and Visit one of our maple sugar houses. See first-hand how Vermont's famous maple syrup is made. Visit Coulture's Maple House between Westfield and Troy. Whilst there, pick up lovely maple gift items which can also be shipped anywhere in the world.
Nothing invokes an image of New England more than sleigh rides through the farm lands of northern Vermont.
Lajoie’s Sleigh Rides: As the snow begins to fall, think about how wonderful it would be to ride in a horse drawn sleigh. The Lajoie sleigh ride begins in serene forest land, and circles through their Christmas tree grove and into the tranquility of the open fields.
They offer many types of sleigh rides, from large family get togethers to a romantic evening sleigh ride for two. They have four New England style sleighs to choose from. Evening rides, star lit rides, or fun day time rides are all available. Lajoie accepts Visa/MasterCard. Reservations are required. (802) 644-5347
• Couple Night Time Candlelight: 45 minutes to 1 hour - $125 per couple
• Group of 4 Night Time Candlelight: 45 minutes to 1 hour - $150
• Day Time: Same rates – includes picture taking opportunity
Lajoie is located just outside Jeffersonville, VT. Take Rte. 108 North. At the intersection with Rte. 15, stay on Rte. 108 North for 2.3 miles. Turn left onto Pollander Road
Phil & Karen’s Sleigh Rides
Located on Kennison Road at junction of routes 100 and 101. Right after the Junction 101 Restaurant, turn left on Kennison Road. Phil and Karen’s house is ¼ mile on the left – the white house with red shutters and 2 barns in back. $50 for up to 4 passengers. $8 for each additional passenger. Reservations required. (802) 744-9928
June means haying in Vermont. Nothing beats the aroma of new-mown hay. Nelson Hill, in Derby, offers hayrides. (802) 766-2646
Conveniently located near the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn are several swimming holes for you to enjoy. Please obey Swimming Hole Etiquette and Safety Rules when enjoying these local natural treasures.
Gray Rock, Montgomery Center: This swimming hole is just a 5 minute walk from the front door of our Inn, and is named after the huge gray rock right in the middle of the river where you can dive off into a deep pool of fresh water. Since the river current is a bit slower here, the water can often look a little greenish since it can have more sediment than at Three Corners, but the water is clean. Nearby is a small rapid, plus a small sandy beach. The area is very relaxing, but do remember it is a river so, although the current is normally fairly slow, it can be swift at times, and the depth variable. This swimming spot is very popular with locals since it is easy to walk here from town. From The Phineas Swann, just walk down Rte 118 (Main Street) in the opposite direction from the Baptist church at the end of the road, and look for the small path leading to the swimming hole directly across from the town’s local recreational field.
River Walk, Montgomery Village: This is probably the most convenient swimming hole, if you want to drive, since you can drive right up to the river bank. It’s just 3 miles from the front door of our inn. It also has a wonderful rope swing that takes you right over a 7 to 8 foot deep portion of the river. The swimming area next to our town’s baseball field, so there is a “Porta Potty” there for changing clothes and, of course, using the toilet.
This place is a true Vermont swimming area, and the kids swinging from the rope are right out of a Norman Rockwell painting! The swimming hole is can be found just after you go over the bridge on 118 in Montgomery Village. You can pull over to the right hand side and park, and the swimming hole is right there!
Four Corners, North Troy: Another terrific swimming hole can be found at Four Corners, less than a mile from the Elm Street Apartments in North Troy – so far north it is almost in Canada! The swimming area is a beautiful, large oblong pool approximately 30 yards in diameter. The entire pool is surrounded by a high rock ledge providing ample places to jump into the deep pool. Once again, we don’t suggest you do any diving – the locals know exactly where to dive – but it can still be dangerous. There is rope swing on a tree perched on the top of the far ledge, so terrifying our palms get sweaty just thinking about it. The water is emerald green, the falls are nice and big and the folks mostly keep their suits on.
Gibou Road, Hectorville: The Gibou Road hole is a very private, placid swimming hole, so it's very likely you will have the entire place to yourself. A long, shallow pool leads to an underwater cliff, a narrow channel and finally a small waterfall. The water spills into a large rock bowl that connects to the main channel via a submerged hole in the bowl – quite unique.
There are many places to explore in and around the boulders and rock formations that surround the river. Upstream, the river widens and passes under a covered bridge. There is another pool well upstream from the bridge. A great place to visit at the end of a long day hiking! Since this is one the most private spots in the area, bathing suits are more likely to sometimes be optional.
To get to the Gibou Road Swimming Hole from The Phineas Swann, follow Route 118 southward (toward Eden) for approximately 2 miles. (Although you are heading in a southerly direction, you are actually traveling on Route 118 West.) Take the first right that is not a driveway (west) onto Gibou Road. Travel approximately 1/4 mile and park near the four wheeler path heading off to the right. Follow the four wheeler path to the river and swimming hole.
SWIMMING BEACHES are also found at Lake Willoughby, a deep glacial lake. The family beach is at the north end, nude beach at the south end. Located in Westmore.
Crystal Lake in Barton has generally warmer waters than Lake Willoughby and it too has a public beach.
Waterfalls, North Troy - A spectacular waterfall at Big Falls, River Road. You shouldn't miss a picnic or hike to this site.
Fishing Licenses are available at the Montgomery Town Clerk's office, as well as the ShurFine Foods in Montgomery Center—both just a few doors down. If you like trout fishing, which is great in our area, we can arrange for an experienced guide as well as any gear you may need.
Montgomery Adventures is the area's premier adventure guide service, providing fishing outtings in Spring, Summer, and Fall, and Ice Fishing in the winter.
Marathon Running - The Jay Challenge
Throughout the summer both the resort and several organizers manage to put together at least one, if not more, races. In 2008, the resort set up second running race, and in prior years it has been the “Jay Challenge” organizers, and they hope to put together their triathlon again in 2009. We can’t be certain what races will be on next year, so ask and as soon as we know anything and we’ll email you to either come and watch or for those who really want a challenge – compete. We have never seen one of these races which was for the faint of heart!
There are many opportunities while visiting the Phineas Swann to get a little closer to nature, whether you would like to do some wildlife viewing or simply admire the 'Natural Wonders' of the area.
Hazen’s Notch Winter Festival
Normally held in March – Please ask us for this year’s date
Natural resource managers, ecologists & environmental educators lead presentations on a variety of topics to include: wildlife tracking, winter tree identification, beaver pond ecology, winter adaptations, & maple sugaring. Non-members: Adults/$10, Children/$5. Members: Adults/$7, Children/$3.
Local Natural Wonders
- Balance Rock - From Rte. 242 turn right on Route 101 to connect up with 100 South (a wonderfully scenic road which passes small family farms, old villages, and charming white churches with verdant mountains as a backdrop) to the small unpaved road, Balance Rock Road which leads to the natural wonder, Balance Rock. Balance Rock Road about 4 miles south of the intersection of 101 and 100.
- Big Falls - To reach Big Falls, turn left on Rte 100 North, and travel just under ½ mile north of the intersection of Rte 101 and Rte 100 to the small unpaved road, River Road, in Troy. River Road not only leads to Big Falls – Vermont’s Largest waterfalls, but passes River Road Bridge – a particularly beautiful red covered bridge along the way.
- Four Corners - After visiting the falls, you can get back to 101 by passing through the River Road Bridge onto the Vielleux Road. If you have the time, while in area travel visit the Four Corners Swimming Hole. Just as you connect up with Route 101, you will see the Jay Four Corners convenience store on your right. The swimming hole, which takes its name from the convenience store, is directly across the street from the store. There is a large dirt parking lot, you can't miss it! (We should note, however, that while we think the 4 corners swimming hole is “nice”, it is just not as nice as our own “Three Holes Swimming Hole” in Montgomery!)