JERICHO CENTER — Mobbs Farm is a 278-acre recreation area with a vast multi-use trail network and a long history of public access.
The Mobbs Farm property was originally two farms: the Bashaw Farm and the Brooks Farm, which were purchased in the mid-1930s by the Fitzsimonds family, according to the Mobbs Farm management plan.
John and Sarah Fitzsimonds farmed the land with their son Andrew from 1934 to 1948. In 1948, Andrew Fitzsimonds sold the farm to Benjamin and Gladys Mobbs, who continued farming until the late 1960s.
Even while privately-owned, the property was used by local residents for hunting, equestrian use, walking and skiing.
After a brief period of ownership by Andrew Pratt, the land was sold to the Town of Jericho in 1968.
“The 278-acre property is a complex of field and forest with rolling hills and scenic vistas,” the management plan states. “A classic example of a once-common Vermont hillside farm, the property still retains its open pastures, hay fields, apple orchards and utilitarian woodlots.”
You could play a bit of a scavenger hunt while hiking, and look for remnants of the area’s agricultural heritage — old cars, barbed wire fences, cellar holes and stone walls.
Where to park
There are two parking areas for Mobbs Farm. While parking area on Fitzsimonds Road is limited, it provides easy access to both the Valley and Hill trails. If parking on Fitzsimonds in full, head to the lot located around the corner, at 510 Browns Trace Road.
The Town of Jericho plows both parking lots in the winter.
Where to snowshoe
Mobbs Farm offers an extensive trail network that has been expanded progressively over the years.
Upon arrival at the park, you’ll have two options: to hike the Valley or Hill section (though you could easily connect the two).
For a quick, 2-mile loop on the Valley side, take the Out N’ Back trail and then turn left onto the Valley View Trail at the top of the Upper Meadow. You’ll soon connect with the River View Trail, which winds along the frozen Mill Brook, a tributary of the Winooski River.
At its end, turn left onto the Apple Tree Trail, which leads to several boardwalks and bridges and will lead you back to the Fitzsimonds parking lot.
Where to fat bike
Mike Rocheleau, a member of the Mobbs Farm Committee, said the committee a few years ago purchased a snowdog to pack the trails for fat biking.
Though there are trails for mountain and fat biking on both sides, on the Hill side, there are a variety of trails ranging from easy to moderate to difficult.
For a ride around the perimeter, take the easy Muddy Lane up around to the moderate The Mickey Way. If it’s open and you’re looking for a challenge, Lost Island looks fun.
The trail network as seen today was a cooperative effort between the Jericho Conservation Commission, The Fellowship of the Wheel, The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) and the Mobbs Farm Committee (MFC) .
“Within the past 15 or so years, the trail system at Mobbs Farm has evolved from four miles of primarily old logging roads used by occasional hikers, bikers and equestrians to nearly nine miles of purpose-built trails used almost daily by Jericho residents and visitors from neighboring communities,” according to the management plan.
Advice from an expert
Rocheleau said it is tough to pick a favorite spot in the park, as there are many different areas which provide a nice experience.
“My favorite is the view from the hill on the valley side, at the north, high end where the field meets the forest,” he said.
It is from this location that hikers and bikers can on a clear day, see the Green Mountains, currently white-capped and jaw-dropping.