General Description: Our Granite Loop is very challenging. It takes you on part of the White Circle trail which is the backbone trail of Westwoods running from Peddler’s Road to Sam Hill Road. You’ll cross the 660 foot long plank walk and climb along some impressive granite hilltops along Westwoods’ most difficult trail, the Yellow Circle. This loop isn’t for everybody. Read below to see if it’s right for you.
Difficulty: A very sweaty and heart pumping, difficult hike. Only the physically fit, sure footed and svelte (thin) should attempt. Still reading?? There are some steep climbs and descents where you will be relying on tree roots or rocks as hand holds or foot holds. In one area you will be crawling on your hands and knees through a low cave and in many other places you’ll be slipping sideways (you won’t fit frontways!) through narrow cracks of rock. This is doable. I’m a 47 year old female in good physical condition and I came out alive! Just know and heed your limits. Wear hiking boots with good traction.
Weather considerations: Don’t attempt this loop in slippery conditions.
Distance: 3 miles
Duration: 90 minutes
Hiking Narrative: Park at entrance #2 on Peddler’s Road. The beginning of the trail has been rerouted to avoid town property that is now actively being used by the town. Begin on the rerouted White Circle trail located behind the kiosk. Note that the town property you will skirt around at the very beginning is NOT pretty, but it is a very short portion of the loop and the scenery on the rest of the loop more than makes up for this area.
- Stay on White Circle as it goes left and White Square goes right.
- White Circle crosses gravel road back into woods.
- White circle makes left and rejoins old trail.
- Continue straight on White Circle as Green Circle turns left.
- Continue on White Circle as it turns left with White Square going straight.
- Continue on White Circle onto the 660 foot long plank walk as it crosses the Great Marsh. The plank walk was constructed back in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s and there have been 2 major overhauls since its construction. The most recent overhaul (by members of the Westwoods Trails Committee) was just 2 years ago. The sections are built using natural features like tree clumps when possible. In the center channel of the marsh, the sections were built by driving stakes into the ground and using struts.
- After the plank walk, White Circle continues straight and goes uphill.
- Continue on White Circle as it takes you to two treeless granite tops with pretty and expansive views, a classic Westwoods feature.
- Stay on White Circle trail as it crosses the Green Rectangle trail.
- White Circle takes you to the Natural Monument feature, a granite hillside that has caved in.
- White Circle continues to the left skirting around the Monument. Continue to #17 if you are not doing the optional detours.
- OPTIONAL DETOUR: You can take a detour and go straight onto White Square and travel through a part of the rocky monument. It’s quite an obstacle course. You’ll be squeezing through narrow openings and pulling yourself up onto the rocks.
- After the Natural Monument, White Square crosses a valley.
- Midway through the valley, take a Left on a cross trail marked with a white or yellow X to the White Circle.
- Take a right onto White Circle.
- OPTIONAL DETOUR: Instead of turning on the cross trail you can continue straight and take a 5-10 minute detour onto the White Square. This is a very steep climb and descent area on the edge and top of a hill and is for the adventurous (no height or balance issues) and sure-footed only. Continue on White Circle after completing the White Square detour.
- White Circle climbs another granite hilltop, this one not as treeless as the first two granite hilltops.
- Coming down the hilltop, stay left on White Circle.
- Just before the power line, take a Right on the combined Blue Rectangle and Red Triangle trail.
- Continue on Red Triangle as it forks to the right and follows the power line heading west.
- Take the SECOND right turn option (Yellow Square) that you come to. The first right turn option you have is Yellow Circle. These right hand turns are easy to miss. If you come to a footbridge while walking on Red Triangle then you have gone about 20 yards too far. After you take the right turn you will go up a very steep 90 foot climb. You will be pulling yourself up looking for hand and foot holds in some areas.
- When you reach the top, turn left on Yellow Circle as it follows the cliff parallel with the power line.
- Yellow Circle then turns right and goes through a narrow rock corridor – emphasis on narrow! Yellow circle is our most challenging trail. It follows along a hillside and you are often hiking on a tilted corridor.
- Yellow Circle crosses Green Rectangle which was once an old Colonial Road.
- Yellow Circle crosses Yellow Square.
- Yellow Circle takes you through The Rift feature. You’ll be climbing over and between large jumbled rocks.v
- Yellow Circle takes you along the base of one last impressive granite feature. At one point you’ll have to climb on your hands and knees to avoid hitting your head through a low cave.
- Take a left on White Circle and retrace your steps across the plank walk.
- After the plank walk, White Circle takes a right and goes uphill.
- At the top of the hill, take a left on White Square. White Circle will continue right.
- White Square comes up out of a field and ends. Make a left onto White Circle and continue to the parking area.