Local Dirt: Tour de Daniel’s Pond and Lake Parker

Welcome to our new blog segment, ‘Local Dirt’. The Northeast Kingdom abounds with secluded dirt roads, class IVs, and trails ripe for exploration, and we’re looking forward to sharing our favorite routes as we discover them! In these segments we will provide adventure summaries, route suggestions, and mid-run photos to help inspire your next outing.

Our first installment takes us to our neighbor to the east, Glover. This 15 mile loop circles Daniel’s Pond and Lake Parker while traversing long sections of seldom traveled class IV road along the way. Below we offer a summary of the route as run on May 18, 2019, followed by suggestions for future endeavors.

Distance: 15 miles
Max elevation: 2,022′
Elevation gain: 1,622′
Terrain: Varied. Long stretches of flat, long stretches of climbing.
Conditions: Overcast in the high 40s, lovely running conditions.
Map and Strava

Route: Park at the Daniel’s Pond Public Access parking area on Daniel’s Pond Road just off of Shadow Lake Road. Set out from Daniel’s Pond with a left turn onto Shadow Lake Road. After a stretch of gradual downhill, take a left onto Perron Hill Road, directly across from Hinman Road. Perron Hill road is a class IV road and has no road sign, but the turn is obvious when you see the sign for Hinman Road opposite. Perron Hill is runnable and made up of mostly loose gravel. The road descends before following a flat stretch to a small beaver pond with a makeshift bridge to the left. After bypassing the pond, begin the steady climb up and over Perron Hill. At the crest of the climb the road emerges out of the trees and turns to dirt road.

A beaver pond at low point of Perron Hill. The bridge is sounder than it looks!

While Perron Hill soon veers to the right, continue straight onto Young road, another unmarked class IV. After a short climb, Young Road flattens out and passes through farm fields with views of the rolling hills beyond. At the intersection with Parker Road, turn right and follow this winding flat dirt road towards Lake Parker. Parker Road opens up alongside the lake just around mile 4, offering a beautiful run down the east side of Lake Parker to Parker Pie at the northern end. Take a left at the end of Parker Road onto the paved County Road before reaching Parker Pie. Stop in for a fuel break or simply wave as you cruise on by – whatever the day’s adventure calls for!

Running through the fields on Young Road.

From Parker Pie continue on County Rd for short paved segment before turning left onto West Short Road. This dirt road steers the loop southward back along the west side of Lake Parker. At approximately the 7 mile mark, turn right onto King Road. King Road (quickly) climbs up to Tanglewood Farm. Shortly after you pass the farm on your right, take the next left onto the unmarked Bickford Lane. You will soon turn left again onto the unmarked class IV section of Philips Road. This begins a beautiful secluded stretch of climbing with views looking down towards Mount Pisgah, Burke, and the Willoughby region. This end of Phillips Road looks like a tractor road that is seldom traveled, and at times it may feel like you are on the wrong path. Continue on, until the climbing eases and the road veers left and comes to a gate. Continue onto the dirt road section of Phillips road. There is a road sign to confirm you are in the right place!

Parker Pie fly-by! The promised land of pizza in the NEK.
Setting out onto Phillips Road.

Back to well-traveled dirt road, Phillips Road descends for close to a mile. Turn right onto to Beach Hill Road to begin the final climb of the run and to reach the high point of the route, 2,022′ at the top of Beach Hill. After the steady ascent of 1.5 miles, be sure to look back for one last view of the mountains around the Willoughby region. As you begin the descent down the other side of Beach Hill you will be further rewarded by phenomenal views of Jay, Belvidere, and Mansfield to the west (right). Enjoy the long descent to Andersonville Road and turn left, bringing you quickly to the next left turn onto Daniel’s Pond Road. The last two miles on Daniel’s Pond are gradually rolling, offering a gentle return to the start.

Looking back from the high point of the run on Beach Hill Road, 2,022′.

Heidi’s Helpful Hints:

  1. I highly recommend starting and ending at Parker Pie in the Lake Parker Country Store. Besides the obvious incentive of post-run feasting, the route would also begin and end with gradual terrain and place the bulk of the climbing mid-run. This makes for welcome warm-up and finishing terrain.
  2. Though there are very pleasant miles of flat around Lake Parker – a rarity here in the NEK – there is still a substantial amount of climbing on this loop and many of the climbs are long. Be sure to pace yourself on the hills and to enjoy the relaxing flats!
  3. This loop could easily be broken into two shorter loops. With a start at Daniel’s Pond, turn left rather than right on Parker Road to connect to Beach Hill or Bear Call Rd for a shorter 8.5 or 6 mile loop, respectively. With a start at Parker Pie, bypass the turn onto Beach Hill and continue on Phillips Rd, which then turns to Parker road and continues around the lake for a 7.5 mile loop.
  4. Try the loop in the clockwise direction! This would allow for sweeping views on the long open descent on Phillips Road down to Bickford Lane and King Road.
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