This is a scenic, 10-mile loop that takes runners over rolling hills through a quintessential Vermont landscape. A hearty workout overall, this loop also offers the potential for a very challenging hill workout if desired.
The Wes White Loop is nestled in the village of Richmond, a small town just south of Burlington. This 10-mile loop travels around Cochran, Dugway, Huntington, Mayo, Gillette Pond and Wes White roads on a mixture of pavement and dirt. The route is a good mix of up and down, with the uphill sections providing a good challenge for runners of all levels. While the hills will provide a workout, the surrounding landscape will provide runners with quintessential Vermont views throughout.
What Makes It Great
Right from the beginning this loop showcases its scenic flourishes bringing runners up-close to the infamous Huntington Gorge. While this rushing waterfall and rock formation is an impressive site known for its great swimming holes, it is also famous for its high death count. A sign hangs at the Gorge’s uppermost entrance point and lists the names of the Gorge’s many victims over the past 60 years. The Gorge is easily viewable from the safety of its sides and is not to be missed.
On the opposite side of the loop from the Gorge and about halfway through the run sits Gillette Pond. A recreational area and wildlife habitat, the pond is a haven for many animals, including mink, fisher cats, river otter and coyote, and has a diverse bird habitat making it a great spot for birdwatchers.
In between the Gorge and Gillette Pond, runners will find themselves on the rolling hills of beautiful, wooded, backcountry roads that meander alongside the Huntington River, traverse across farmland and offer mountain views throughout. During the fall this is a great loop for catching foliage views. Expect dirt roads for the majority of the run, excepting two short stints on Huntington and Cochran, which are paved and more traffic-heavy, but serve only as connectors between the dirt roads at opposite ends of the loop.
And finally, it is on Wes White runners will find the hill known by locals for its steepness. It is a demanding run going up or down, but adds a nice challenge in the middle of the loop. Choose to run clockwise (right out of the Gorge parking lot down Dugway to Cochran/Wes White/Gillette Pond/Mayo/Huntington/Dugway) and runners face an uphill battle challenging for most hardcore runners followed by a relatively downhill rolling run for the rest of the way. A counter-clockwise start (left out of the Gorge parking lot up Dugway to Huntington/Mayo/Gillette Pond/Wes White Cochran/Dugway) offers a gentler, but sustained incline mixed with some rolling hills and accompanied by a steep descent from Wes White down to Cochran.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners looking for a rolling 10-mile run with a lot of spots to take scenic photos. Not only is this a really fun run that provides a good workout, it also captures stereotypical Vermont in all its glory. Rushing rivers, mountains, dirt roads through the country and cows provide plenty of opportunities to stop for pictures (and to catch your breath). Hardcore runners will love the challenge that the hill work on Wes White provides.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There is a small lot at the Huntington Gorge where runners can park anytime for free. Dogs are fine on this run, but may need to be leashed as it is a run run and, while short, there are a couple of spots where the roads are busy.