The Montshire Museum of Science offers trails for people of all ages and fitness levels. The trail system is also the setting for many outdoor exhibits and offers an opportunity to learn about the plants and wildlife in the area. The Meadow Walk and River Loop Trail are accessible by wheelchair and stroller, with assistance.
Please note: you must check in at the Admissions Desk prior to using the museum’s trails. Non-members must pay an admission fee before using the Montshire’s trails. Please check the museum’s website for hours, ticketing, visitor policies, and travel guidance. Except for service dogs, pets are not allowed on the Montshire’s trails. Trail maps are available at the front desk.
The Montshire trail system includes:
Meadow Walk (0.3 mile): This short walk in the Quinn Nature Preserve borders a two-acre meadow that offers a demonstration plot for native grasses and an enriched riverside environment for birds and other animals. The trail is surfaced with hard-packed material that allows the passage of strollers and wheelchairs.
River Loop Trail (0.8 mile): This pleasant trail begins in Science Park, travels through the tunnel and winds along the Connecticut River. Enjoy river views from several overlooks and visit the solar-powered Meadow Sounds Kiosk. A connecting trail leads to another view of the river. A portion of the trail is 4+ feet wide and surfaced with hard-packed material that allows the passage of strollers and wheelchairs.
Blood Brook Trail (0.4 miles): A short walk close to Science Park, this trail offers variety as you pass through a sunny field, stroll among a grove of dark hemlock, and then walk along the edge of a cove of the Connecticut River. Follow the spur trail to visit a deck overlooking the Blood Brook’s small waterfall into the cove, and discover more about the natural history of the area. At the Animal Signs Kiosk, see and touch the tracks of many local animal species. At this trailside exhibit, view other signs of animals, including an owl pellet, a woodpecker nest, examples of unusual beaver “forestry,” and the leftovers from a squirrel’s dinner.
Ridge Trail (1.0 mile): Take a walk on the wild side! You might as well be out on the Long Trail or one of Vermont’s other famous woodland footpaths. Along the way, you’ll encounter exhibits that explore the geology and ecology of the area. These exhibits reveal aspects of trees, plant-animal interactions, insect life, and historic land-use patterns. Stop by the Bird’s Eye View for an elevated look at the woods.
Planet Walk (3.0 miles roundtrip): Walk all the way from the Sun to the Kuiper Belt (and back) on the Montshire’s largest exhibit! Start your scale-model journey from the sculpture of the Sun in Science Park. As you journey through the Planet Walk, you will encounter the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), then the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune). To reach tiny dwarf planet Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, be prepared for a 1.5-mile walk along the Ridge Trail and the town of Norwich’s Hazen Trail. The distances are scaled to the sizes of the planet models. You’ll be surprised by how far apart the planets really are, compared to pictures of the solar system often seen in books.
Woodland Garden (0.1 miles): Established in 2008 with assistance from the New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS), the Woodland Garden was created to help visitors identify and protect native New England plants. The short interpretive path begins with stone steps located just across the driveway from the Museum building. The path winds through a spectacular array of native plants, passes a seasonal stream, and has benches created by Vermont artisans for visitors who wish to rest and enjoy the scenery. The Woodland Garden is closed during winter months.
Visit Montshire Museum online for more information or contact:
The Montshire is located off I-91, at exit 13 (watch for the Museum of Science interstate sign) in Norwich, VT; five miles north of White River Junction, VT, and directly across the Connecticut River from Hanover, NH, and Dartmouth College.
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