Hanover, NH to Happy Hill Shelter, Norwich, VT (hike)
The hike from Hanover, NH to Happy Hill Shelter, Norwich, VT is a 5.5 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail.
- Driving Distance: Nonexistent if you walk to the trailhead, 2 miles if you drive.
- Hiking Distance: Around 5.5 miles from the Green to the shelter
- Difficulty Level: Easy/moderate: 2 miles of it are on the roads, and the rest is made of gently rolling hills!
The following driving directions follow the actual AT itself as it goes from the center of Hanover to the trailhead in Norwich, so if you're not driving, you can follow these directions [and the white blazes] for your hike!
Starting in Hanover, drive down West Wheelock St. and cross Ledyard Bridge. Stay on this road, going under the I-91 overpass, as it becomes Main Street in Norwich. About 0.5 miles after the overpass, turn left onto Elm Street. Continue on Elm for 0.8 miles; the trailhead will be on your left. [The trail enters the woods just after Elm St. intersects with Hickory Ridge Rd.] There is a small parking area.
For the first two miles: follow the driving directions above! The walk up Elm Street may seem long and steep, but it will be worth it at the end when you reach the trailhead.
Hiking after this will basically consist of rolling hills through the woods of Norwich! There will be a few steep-ish sections, but they're short, don't worry. The woods back here are very picturesque and filled with many small valleys and short stretches of pine forest. Occasionally, the trail will cross some ATV trails -- don't turn off! Keep following the white AT blazes! About 1.5-2 miles from the shelter, you'll cross one such well-defined path which, if you turn right on it, will lead to a cow pasture at Bragg Hill Farm. Stay straight, though, to keep on your way to Happy Hill. About 0.75 miles from the shelter, you'll reach a junction with the Tucker Trail, which branches off to the right. Stay to the left to keep on the AT! The spur trail to the shelter will be on your left, marked by an orange sign.
Happy Hill Shelter is a really cute, cozy place to stay for the night! It used to be an old DOC cabin and therefore has stone walls. The shelter also has a sleeping loft, fire pit, privy, and clean stream for water.
If you're looking for a shorter hike, you can bypass part of this section by starting at Bragg Hill Farm in Norwich and walking up the trail through their cow pasture to the woods.