A small network of trails winds through the woods behind Gardiner Regional Middle School, providing a shady, peaceful hiking opportunity.
From Downtown Gardiner, at the intersection with Water Street, take Route 126 West 1.8 miles to Gardiner Regional Middle School. Park in the lot beyond the school and follow the paved road behind the school to the athletic field. Cross the field and enter the trails on the far left corner of the field.
Distance: Approximately 1 mile
The Gardiner Regional Middle School trails begin at the far left corner of the athletic field. A short length of trail passes through a strip of woods then opens out into a meadow thick with young trees and wildflowers (apparently this area was cleared for more athletic fields a few years ago, but money ran out before the fields were built). The trail follows a wide swath of mown grass along the left and back sides of this field and enters the woods at both the far left and right corners of the meadow. Once in the woods, the trail follows a wide dirt path (that clearly sees some ATV usage), and forms a rough loop. Follow the variously orange, red and white-blazed trees under the canopy of tall hemlocks interspersed with pine, oak and other hardwoods, and feel far removed from the hustle and noise of Route 126.
Strands of a braid of short, interconnected trails also begin at several spots along the right side of the meadow. These trails all appear to be more heavily ATV-used and all peter out just above houses along Route 126.
The Gardiner Middle School Trails offers those with small children a quiet, pleasant walk in the deep woods without requiring too long of a hike. A fairly rugged jogging stroller could probably handle most of the trail and little legs will have fun running around and picnicking in the soccer field before or after a hike.