Those who have discovered the 20,000-acre Moosalamoo Recreation Area in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest are not eager to let the word out. For now at least, Moosalamoo is a pristine area with more than 70 miles of quiet hiking trails leading to waterfalls, lakes, and striking views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.
From Route 125, a popular hike is to take the Oak Ridge and Moosalamoo Trails eight miles into the forest to end up at Moosalamoo Campground (tent sites $10/person). For those planning an overnight stay, the campground has 19 wooded sites, along with toilets, trash facilities, a grassy field, and self-guided nature trail. It’s accessible by car from Goshen-Ripton Road, off Route 125 a little south of Ripton center.
A shorter but equally amazing hike begins at the roaring Falls of Lana, from whence you can hike up the Rattlesnake Cliff Trail for amazing views of the mountains and Lake Dummore below. The best time to climb is just before sunset; bring a flashlight for the descent. Another trail, popular with bird-watchers, is the Bluebird Trail, which takes hikers through meadows stocked with 40 houses that serving as habitat for cavity-nesting birds. In the winter, many of the trails are groomed for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
And if you don’t feel like getting your boots muddy, the area also advertises a loop trail that’s a sure bet for seeing moose in the spring. For more information, contact the nonprofit Moosalamoo Association (802/747-7900, www.moosalamoo.org ).
In addition to Moosalamoo, a popular hike is the nature trail at Texas Falls Recreation Area, which overlooks a series of waterfalls through a gorge formed by glacial meltwater. For more information on this and other hikes in the Green Mountain National Forest, contact the Middlebury Ranger Station (1007 Rte. 7, 802/388-4362).
Middlebury  has a long history of fielding champion ski teams in the Northeast College Athletic Conference. The team practices at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl (6886 Rte. 125, 802/388-4356, www.middleburysnowbowl.com , $22–42 adults, $20–30 students and seniors, $8 children under 6), which dates back to 1934, making it the third-oldest ski area in Vermont . While the dozen or so trails won’t win any awards for difficulty, they are no cakewalk either, with several expert trails careening down from the 2,650-foot main peak.
More to the point, in an area full of ski resorts, the Snow Bowl is often deserted on weekdays, allowing skiers to take a half dozen runs in the time it takes to get up and down Killington  once. Throw in cheap prices and an atmospheric base lodge, and the bowl is a good bet for an afternoon of fun.
A mile and a half away at the Breadloaf campus, the Rikert Ski Touring Center (Rte. 125, 12 mi. west of Middlebury in Ripton, 802/443-2744, www.middlebury.edu/campuslife/facilities/rstc , 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $15 adults, $6 Middlebury students, free seniors) has more than 25 miles of trails open to the public, skirting through the wilderness of Green Mountain National Forest. The base lodge has rentals ($12 adults, $6 students, $3 children under 5) and a warm woodstove in winter.