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Events on Hogback

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Hogback Habitat Hike
Saturday Feb 11, 2023
10:00 am

new date:
Sat March 11
10:00 am

Ten years ago we started a multi-year Early Successional Habitat (ESH) program in the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area in Marlboro to try to generate a variety of wildlife niches on the mountain.  We picked several of the overgrown ski slopes and cut back the trees and shrubs, hoping to stimulate growth of ESH, also known as “young forest,” which can be very attractive to certain birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects.  We cut a different slope every two years.  Let’s go take a look at how things are regrowing.  Was the effort by nearly a hundred volunteers worth it?  Can we find signs of use by wildlife?  Let’s try to count how many bird nests there are in the ESH patches, and get photos of any animal tracks we find.

Meet at 10:00 on Saturday, Feb 11 in the parking lot on Route 9 in between the distillery and the gift shop.  Bring snowshoes or cleats as appropriate for the snow conditions.  Skis will not be appropriate for this hike.  We may end up bushwhacking through some dense growth.  (Go-around routes that stay on the trails will be available if you don’t want to bushwhack, but you might miss seeing some interesting things.)  We’ll try to visit the Meadow (cut 2013-14), the Great White Way (cut 2015-2016), and the Practice Slope (cut 2017-2018).  We’ll aim to return to the parking lot by noon.  Led by Diana Todd.

Questions?  Contact us by clicking here.

​Below you'll see a few of the events HMCA hosted in past years, which will give you an idea of the types of things we do: work parties, just-for-fun events, educational hikes.  Our calendar of public events went on hold when the covid-19 virus crisis emerged.  We're gradually starting to revive our programs. Public programs are always fun, offering a chance to meet new people and learn new things.  But the mountain is always there for you, program or not, to enjoy on your own.  Download a print-at-home trail map here.

2022 Fall Migration Bird Walk at Hogback Mountain Conservation Area

co-sponsored by the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Sunday, Oct 2, 9:00 am

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Banding a Swainson's thrush

As autumn color begins to brighten the slopes and vistas at Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, join naturalist Cherrie Corey for a slow walk along mountain trails to listen and look for hawks and later migrating songbirds. Some typical migrants in early October include ruby and golden-crowned kinglets, Swainson’s and hermit thrushes, returning dark-eyed juncos, white- throated and white-crowned sparrows, Eastern towhee, Philadelphia vireo, and late migrating warblers (including Tennessee, Nashville, common yellowthroat, Northern parula, Magnolia, Blackpoll, Black-throated blue, Palm, Pine, and Myrtle), and indigo buntings. Fall warblers always test our memories and powers of concentration as we try to learn and recall who we encounter by eye rings, wingbars, chest markings, and pale colors along with their faintly whispered calls and song fragments.

Along the way, we’ll visit with Eric Slayton and volunteers at their bird banding station to see what late season migrants have visited their nets. Eric’s team will demonstrate the many careful steps involved in documenting and banding each bird.

Meet at the Tower Trail trailhead kiosk, behind the Vermont Distillery (7755 Route 9 East Marlboro, VT). Parking is available in the large parking lot across the road from the Distillery.

This event is co-sponsored by the Hogback Mountain Conservation Association and the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society. The walk is limited to 18. To register, please send an email to

Ski Slope Clean-up

Friday, Nov 29, 1:00 - 4:00 pm

By now it's a tradition among the "earn your turns" crowd - spending the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving on the ski slopes on Hogback, trimming back face-slappers, mowing down brambles, and cleaning up blowdowns so that the skiing will be great.  If you're not familiar with skiing at Hogback, here's the story: no ski lifts.  And no snowmobiles (except on the VAST trail).  But if you climb the mountain yourself you can find some of the nicest unpacked, untracked slopes on public land in southern Vermont.  There's no ski industry maintaining the ski slopes, only volunteer workers whose efforts are guided by the Hogback Preservation Commission and the HMCA Trails Committee, with permission from the town.  Want to enjoy the slopes this winter?  Come help get them in good shape this fall.  Please, do not do any clearing or cleaning up on your own.  Work with us on this authorized work day.  Workers of all kinds are needed, from folks with chain saws or brush cutters to people with hand saws or loppers, and especially folks willing to just haul debris.  If you want to use a chain saw on Hogback, you must have a full set of safety equipment, including chaps, helmet, face shield, and hearing protection.  Chaps, face shield and hearing protection are also strongly encouraged for people using brush cutters.  Meet in the parking lot on the south side of Route 9 in between the gift shop and the distillery.

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Farewell to 2019 - New Year's Eve Sunset Snowshoe Hike

Tuesday, Dec 31, 3:30-5:00

Watch the last sunset of the year from the fire tower atop Mount Olga, and get home again in time to head out for more traditional New Year’s Eve parties.  We’ll hike up in time to catch the last rays of sun in 2019, on snowshoes or on foot, depending on conditions.   Those brave enough to climb the fire tower stairs will enjoy the marvelous 360-degree view and the sunset from the semi-sheltered lookout’s perch at the top.   It’s a short hike, less than a mile and a half round trip, but it’s all uphill on the way out and all downhill on the way home.  There’s nothing dramatically steep, but bring ski/hiking poles in case conditions are icy.  If there's been only modest amounts of snow, some people prefer to use cleats like Yak Trax or Stabilicers instead of snowshoes.  Pack a headlamp or flashlight.  We usually get back to the parking lot while the twilight is still lingering, but it's good to be prepared. 


We'll gather at 3:30 in the parking lot next to the white distillery building on the south side of Route 9 just west of the gift shop  If you are borrowing snowshoes or cleats, figure out how the binding works in the warmth of your kitchen before you come.  Our meeting spot is the coldest, windiest spot of the entire hike, so we won't want to be fussing with recalcitrant bindings there.  Once we get into the woods, conditions will be lovely.


And don't be late - the sunset won't wait!

First Day Hike

Wednesday, Jan 1, 10:00 - noon

Our neighbors at the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum are once again hosting a First Day Hike in the conservation area, a great way to start the new year.   Museum Managing Director Michael Clough will lead us on a leisurely hike to see what we can see.   Each year is different but we always have great conversation and see something new.   Remember visiting the porcupine den?  How about the year we slid down the mountain or bushwhacked to the fire tower?  Only one way to find out what we will see this year!  We'll meet in the parking lot next to Vermont Distillers, the white building on the south side of Route 9 just west of the museum.  Plan on bringing snowshoes or spikes, depending on conditions.


Questions?  Contact the museum at 802-464-0048 or

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Moonlight Snowshoe Hike

Saturday, cancelled Feb 8, 7:00-8:30 pm

Saturday, rescheduled Mar 7, 7:00-8:30 pm

When the moon is full in winter, the snow reflects the light and things are so bright you can even see colors.  The moon will be just one day shy of full on Saturday, Feb 8.  Let’s go for a snowshoe hike to the fire tower that evening and see what we can see. 


If the snow is old and compact, spikes (like YakTrax or StabilIcers) might work better than snowshoes.  Ski poles or hiking poles would also be useful. Meet in the parking lot on the south side of Route 9 near the Distillery at 7:00.  Bring a flashlight or headlamp to use in an emergency, but let’s see if we can do the hike without artificial lighting.  Those who are really brave can climb to the top of the fire tower and look around at the lights from the surrounding towns. 


If the weather doesn’t cooperate on Feb 8, let’s try it on Saturday, Mar 7, same time, same place.  How can you tell if the event has been cancelled?  Look out your window.  If you can see shadows on the snow from the moonlight, we’ll be hiking.  No snow, but just bare ground?  Or overcast, with no moon visible?  Nope, stay home.

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