White Rocks National Recreation Area lies just east of the middle of the town of Wallingford. It is a marvelous mountain that shines a brilliant white during all months due to its composition of Cheshire Quartzite.
There are multiple hiking trails around this 1,280 foot mountain, the most popular being the Keeywadin Trail, a .8-mile hike straight up to the summit, and the Ice Bed trail, another .8-mile hike down to the bottom of the Ice Beds. The Ice Beds are what White Rocks is known for and are the most prominent geological formation on the mountain. They can even be seen from Route 4 more than 10 miles away.
The Keeywadin Trail is marked with both the blue flash of the Long Trail and the white flash of the famous Appalachian Trail. After a short hike to the top of the Keeywadin Trail you will see the many small stone cairns that passing hikers have constructed to mark their time spent in this tranquil spot of Vermont.
At the summit, there is a spot for weary travelers to set up camp and rest before tackling the oncoming trail. Each year thousands of hikers make the 2,180-mile pilgrimage from Georgia to Maine and there is a very good chance you’ll meet some friendly faces with fascinating stories of the trail.
The Ice Bed trail leads down the mountain to the famous Ice Beds. Thousands of colossal stone boulders made up this brilliant sight. Formed by glaciation over 12,000 years ago, the entire northwest side of the mountain is exposed to all in its lustrous glory. The boulders trap cold air and the Ice Beds are always nice and cool, even on the hottest summer days. The Ice Beds can be climbed, but only about three-quarters of the way and the climb is quite treacherous and should only be attempted by seasoned hikers or climbers.
“I really love the contrast between the crispness of the Ice Beds and the softness of the surrounding Green Mountains,” said recent Castleton grad Katie Holden.
Word of warming: Never climb alone and always tell someone where you’ve gone because disaster can and has befallen even the most hardened outdoorsmen.
Directions from Castleton:
Take Route 4 east to Rutland
Merge onto Route 7 and drive south approximately 7 miles to Wallingford
At the stoplight make a left turn (east) onto Route 140 and drive around two miles
Access to White Rocks will be on your right and it is clearly marked.