Snowshoeing is a fun and easy winter activity. The reasons why are many:
- Modern style snowshoes are easier to use
- Provide access to anywhere in the back country
- You decide your level of exertion
- Less dependent on snow conditions
The Harold Libbey, Lynx, Ghost, and Outback trails provide the best snowshoe experiences on the hill. These trails are built for hiking, snowshoeing, and give you access to a wide variety of ecosystems and terrain. You may also use a short section of the Moose Odyssey Trail that is shared with the Lynx Trail. While on this section stay single file on the far side of the trail and don’t step on any ‘classic tracks’ that may be in the trail.
There are also several miles of snowmobile trails in the Libby Hill area. You may snowshoe these as well but be sure to step off the trail when snowmobiles approach.
Several unmarked mountain bike trails insect in dozens of places on the top of Libby Hill. They are difficult to follow after a snowfall but if you have a digital map from TrailForks you may be able to make some interesting treks.
You can also ‘bushwhack’ and explore the woods anywhere you wish to explore in winter. However, remember that going off trail requires that you have a compass, map and be familiar with winter hiking. Should you become disoriented on a hike, remember, heading east will always eventually get you to a road or the school. Also be cautious of wet areas/thin ice areas on the lowlands around Thayer brook. Be sure you carry water, matches, compass, layers of clothing, map, and a cell phone if you head off trail.
Trails to Avoid – Please stay off groomed cross-country ski trails Moose Odyssey, Deer Run, Turkey Trot and Holmquist Hollow are off-limits to walkers and snowshoers once grooming begins. Using these trails may require hours of repair work from our volunteer groomers. Please see our winter trail rules.
Snowshoe Rentals Now Available from Gray Rec Department!
If you just got snowshoes or want to get the ‘hang’ of using snowshoes. Try these trails:
Lynx Trail – this begins at the parking lot by the school and takes you quickly up the hill. It shares a short 500-foot section with the Moose Odyssey then takes you into a beautiful oak forest. You can go off trail along this trail to try your skills with snowshoes.
Ghost Trail – this trail connects the Harold Libbey Trail with Deer Run and the eastern summit of Moose Odyssey. Please remember to only cross groomed ski trails and not snowshoe on them.
Harold Libbey Trail – do the complete trail or use the connector to make a shorter or longer loop. This trail has the most wildlife near Thayer brook. Be cautious crossing any open water or ice though.
Outback Trail – the major challenge here is crossing Thayer Brook. Three stones get you across the brook which at time can nearly cover these rocks. You may want to remove your snowshoes if you don’t have crampons. Off trail options include following Thayer brook north to the large beaver dams and assorted waterfalls. You can also follow Thayer brook south from Porcupine rock. After one-half mile you will come to a snowmobile trail which allows you to loop back to the middle school. Notice the old stonework dam at the intersection of snowmobile trail and Thayer brook.
Harold Libbey Trail – going off the main trail gives you many options. Check out the sharp descent off the horseback down to Thayer brook. Porcupines inhabit the small stone caves there. You can also continue on the horseback and bushwhack to the Old Libby Hill Road in about three-fourths of a mile. Finally, you can bushwhack the ridges to the east of the trail that are a shortcut back to the Middle School. You can also bushwhack the many dips and rises between the two loops of the trail.