Balch Hill takes the name of a family prominent in Hanover during the 1800s. The very summit of the hill is grass covered, with a single tree in the center. The top is exposed enough to provide wonderful views west over campus, across the river, and into Vermont. To the south lies Mount Ascutney and to the northwest is Gile Mountain. The tallest peak seen to the west is Mount Killington. The plush grass and the shade of the trees make the summit an inviting spot for several hours of out-of-doors peacefulness and solitude. A map of Balch Hill is available from Hanover’s Town Hall.
How to get there:
From the Hanover Inn, follow East Wheelock Street east to the set of lights near the Berry Sports Center. From here there are two directions one can follow. Each leads to a different trail, approaching the Hill from opposite sides. The first is a trail which approaches the Hill from the north and is a bit more straight-forward than the second.
1. Turn left and continue to the next set of lights near the Medical School. Turn right onto Route 10, following it north toward Lyme. After 0.9 miles, turn right onto Reservoir Road. After 0.5 miles, turn right onto Hemlock, bearing right and following it uphill to a sign designating the parking area. Walk to the end of the road and onto the trail marked by a small sign, just next to a private home. Take care not to disturb the residents here. The trail ascends a few tenths of a mile to the top of the Hill.
2. Continue straight through the lights and up East Wheelock Street to the top (about 1.5 miles). Turn left onto Grasse Road. At the head of the road, on the left, just across from a set of mailboxes, begins a trail to the top of the Hill. Follow the trail — carefully, as it is not well marked — along the side of a low, stone wall. After a tenth of a mile, the trail turns right into a softwood forest. After a few hundred feet, the trail bears left, winding south and then west, skirting the southern side of the hill for another few hundred feet. Continue as the trail turns right and climbs to the very top of the hill.