Top 25 Quests
New! A best-of list from Valley Quest to you. Try one of our favorites today!
We have over 170 quests here in the Upper Valley. That’s a lot to sift through! To make it easier (and to celebrate Vital Communities’ 25th anniversary!) we’ve identified our Top 25 Quests—our list of all stars, gems, and MVQs. These are our favorites—each one written with care and charm, they deliver on beautiful locations, fascinating historical stories, and explorations into the ecology of our region. Pick one convenient to you and dive in today! Discovery, awe, and fun await.
How did we do it?
Because we want every quest to take you somewhere special and teach you something along the way, we evaluated all our quests on both their location and educational value. We then compared notes with longtime questers and asked them to edit our list based off their experience. And…voila! This special list of Valley Quest favorites was born.
Top 25 Quests
- Herrick’s Cove Quest—Rockingham, VT. An insider’s guide to one of the premier birding sites in the Upper Valley region. If you have a canoe or kayak, you’ll want to bring it for a paddle afterwards!
- The Strafford Watershed Quest—Strafford, VT. A driving (or walking!) tour of Strafford’s history.
- Gile Mountain Quest—Norwich, VT. Climb through the northern forest to expansive 360 degree views. Beautiful any time of the year, but check it out in the spring and fall for a chance to catch migrations in flight.
- The Forest Quest—Woodstock, VT. See and learn to “read” landscape history as you journey along old carriage roads. At over two hours, this is one of our longest Quests.
- Old City Falls Quest—Strafford, VT. A short, steep walk to a beautiful waterfall (bring your swimsuit) with one of the most fascinating historical stories around.
- Olcott Falls Quest—Wilder, VT. This Quest makes a loop around the historic village of Wilder, which was once called Olcott Falls. It focuses on a few of the old buildings from the 1890’s and early 1900’s that were built to house people who worked at the paper mill.
- Wright’s Mountain Quest—Bradford, VT. Discover a conserved working forest – and a great view of the Waits River watershed atop this beautiful hike.
- Trees of Hanover Quest—Hanover, NH. Here’s a great way to discover an under-appreciated regional asset: the Dartmouth College Campus is really an arboretum!
- Sally’s Salamader Meander—Hartford, VT. Discover a vernal pool and learn about salamanders and some mysterious rites of spring. **Best in springtime.**
- Chaffee Sanctuary Quest—Lyme, NH. Explore an alder swamp and wildlife sanctuary.
- Thetford Center Village Quest West—Thetford, VT. A deep dive into Thetford Center’s history, including the tale of a Revolutionary War hero from Thetford who managed a legendary feat in order to sound the alarm of British advances.
- Quest for the Kestrel—Windsor, VT. Discover the rich biodiversity of an old field, a great place to view birds and butterflies. Kestrels return to nesting boxes at this site every year in late March.
- 1764 – The Old King’s Highway Quest—Lebanon, NH. Imagine the early days of Lebanon as you travel along the aptly named Old King (of England)’s Highway.
- CREA Natural Communities Quest—Cornish, NH. A journey through forest, wetland, and field.
- Haverhill Corner Quest—Haverhill, NH. This walking tour features architectural gems in the Historic District. Haverhill Corner is a place where history, culture, art, the land and community come together.
- The Floodplain Quest—Haverhill, NH. Discover 20,000 years of natural & human history in the Connecticut River Valley.
- The Fort at #4’s Past and Present—Acworth, NH. Discover the 18th century Fort grounds as you learn about Charlestown’s history.
- Monadnock Mills Quest—Claremont, NH. This Quest takes you back in history to city mills and then back to the present, with the restoration of some of those very same structures. This is a great area to enjoy food and scenery–make a day of it!
- Esther Currier Quest—Elkins, NH. An in-depth exploration of Beaver Pond and its conserved wildlife sanctuary.
- Cornish Flat Quest—Cornish, NH. Discover the rich legacy, in incredible detail, of a lovely pedestrian village.
- Pinnacle Hill Quest—Lyme, NH. Climb up Lyme’s popular hill and enjoy extraordinary Connecticut River views. If you’ve never been, a fun relic awaits you at the top. **TEMPORARY RE-ROUTE**DO NOT PARK ON CUTTING HILL RD** We’re updating this Quest clues to reflect the new parking and starting point for this Quest, but until the clues are updated, please park at the new pull-off on High Bridge Rd and begin your Quest from there. Trail signs will help guide you up to the top of the hill, where your treasure lies. Disregard the first few Quest clues, which are specific to the old parking area on Cutting Hill Rd**
- Sargent Hayes Farm Quest—New London, NH. Dedicated to Linny Levin, this Quest rambles up the scenic Great Brook. It combines family and landscape history to provide a unique appreciation and understanding for this patch of land.
- The Quest for the Lonesome Pine—Thetford, VT. This Quest leads to a scenic wetland and a premier birding site. Learn how to identify different plant and animal species and when to find them! *This Quest is temporarily closed due to road washout from recent storms. We are working on some Quest clue revisions that will bring the Quest back on line mid-summer. Check back soon!**
- Bill Hill Quest—Thetford, VT. Vermont writer Noel Perrin’s favorite spot was conserved by the Upper Valley Land Trust. Follow this Quest to read some of his poetry on the very hilltop that was his muse. Uniquely beautiful pastures, stone walls, and forested vistas await.
- The Windsor Architecture Quest—Windsor, VT. Learn the range of architectural styles one can find in Windsor today and come to see this town in a whole new light!
Thank you to the Kettering Family Foundation for sponsoring this project.
Vital Communities Program News
Valley Quest and Volunteer Coordinator, Valley Food & Farm Program Assistant
Valley Quest, Food & Farm
Valley Quest, Food & Farm
— Lauren Griswold, Valley Quest and Volunteer Coordinator, Valley Food & Farm Program Assistant
Lauren Griswold joined Vital Communities in May 2017 to coordinate Power of Produce (POP) clubs at Upper Valley farmers' markets and farmstands. In August 2017 she became our Valley Quest and Volunteer Coordinator, in addition to her role as the Valley Food & Farm Program Assistant. Lauren grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Vermont in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in English and Environmental Studies. Her passion for sustainable agriculture took her out West, where she served as a garden educator in Bend, Oregon. After an enriching chapter in the high desert, Lauren is thrilled to be back in central Vermont. She is passionate about the rich communities and natural beauty of the Upper Valley, and enjoys engaging the next generation with wonder and enthusiasm about this special place. In her free time, Lauren can be found mountain biking, cross country skiing, gardening, knitting, and savoring meals with friends and family.