Following the state’s highest trail lines from the northern border with Canada to the Massachusetts state line in the south, Vermont’s Long Trail is America’s oldest long-distance hiking trail. But day hikers can enjoy parts of the trail and use the miles of well-maintained side tracks to reach the more than 40 peaks that the Long Trail connects. Because the Long Route – and the Green Mountains themselves – run north-to-south through the center of the state, they are never far from Vermont’s many tourist attractions, making the state a good vacation choice for families with hikers and hikers alike. non-walkers.
Not all trails climb mountains. Vermont’s state and local parks are filled with gentle hiking trails that explore the state’s natural sights—waterfalls, swamps, and geological formations left by the glaciers—or simply offer a chance to enjoy its beautiful meadows and forests. Vermont’s abundant green space and wilderness means it’s also an excellent place for wildlife and plant observation. Bird watchers will find hawks circling mountain peaks and rare boreal birds in the forests. In the spring, paths can be lined with forest flowers, and in the fall the entire state becomes a riot of red, orange and yellow as the leaves change color.
1 Mt. Mansfield
Vermont’s highest mountain is also one of its most interesting and rewarding, not only for the breathtaking views, but also for the more than two miles of ridge-top hike above treeline . This is one of only two places in Vermont where rare arctic alpine tundra exists. There is a much smaller area on Camel’s Hump, but Mt. Mansfield supports 200 hectares of rare tundra plants. Due to its profile from the east, locations along Mt. Mansfield’s long ridgeline is described as Adam’s Apple, Chin – the highest point at 4,393 feet, nose and brow.
A number of routes reach the top. The Long Trail crosses Route 108 at the base of Smugglers’ Notch, from which it is a steep 2.2-mile climb to the Chin. From further Smugglers’ Notch, the more difficult Hell Brook Trailcovers almost the same elevation gain in just 1.1 miles. For a beautiful four-mile hike without the grueling climb, you can drive the turnpike to the nose or ride the gondola to just below the long route and climb just the summit section. Whichever route you take, stay on the path so as not to damage the very delicate plants of this fragile ecosystem. Tundra once covered a much larger area, but as the glacier retreated, the climate became too warm for these cold-loving plants. Only on the unprotected peaks were conditions hospitable. The tundra resembles a grassy meadow, and in the lower areas where moisture collects, small peat swamps have formed. Although it is tempting to get as close as possible to these rare plants,
Address: Route 108, Stowe, Vermont
2 Mt. Pisgah
One of the most memorable views in Vermont is the reward for this moderately stiff climb with a vertical gain of about 1,500 feet. You can take one of two routes, one from the north end of long Lake Willoughby, the other from the south end of the lake. Or if you don’t mind walking almost three miles back along the road, you can do a seven-mile loop. The walk along Route 5A borders Lake Willoughby and traffic is rarely heavy. Getting to the top of the cliffs is about the same from either direction, a mix of forest and rocky trail, with some stream crossings on the North Trail. There are some steep sections anyway. The North Trail is about half a mile longer, but South Trail includes the view from Pulpit Rock, 550 feet directly above Lake Willoughby and one of the most dramatic in the state. Also impressive are the distant views of North Lookout and West Lookout just north of the summit (which is forested and offers no views at all). These reach to Lake Memphremagog, the mountains of Quebec’s eastern municipalities, Camel’s Hump and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Adres: Route 5A, Westmore, Vermont
3 Hamilton Falls
To reach one of Vermont’s tallest waterfalls , a particularly attractive one in a pristine natural setting, follow the West River Trail from the campground at Jamaica State Park. This is a converted railway bed along the West River, in which you will see a group of stones known as The Dumplings. About 1.5 miles past The Dumplings, where the West River Trail passes through Cobb Brook, a trail to the right leads to Hamilton Falls. This was originally an old wagon road and after about a mile you will see a steep trail on your left. This leads to the base of the 125-foot waterfall, the best viewpoint.
The old wagon road continues to a T, where a left takes you to the top of the waterfall. Under no circumstances attempt to swim to the top or climb along the edge of the waterfall. Not only is this a protected, vulnerable environment, but it is extremely dangerous. Stick to the marked trails to protect both yourself and the environment, and save swimming for the pool at the bottom of the falls.
Adres: 48 Salmon Hole Ln., Jamaica, Vermont
4 The Long Trail
The oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States, the Long Trail, was completed in 1930. It stretches 265 miles from the Canadian border to the Massachusetts state line, connecting more than 40 of the state’s highest peaks. The route follows ridgelines and occasionally descends into valleys between peaks and intersecting highways. There is parking at most of these crossings, but there is no formal shuttle service for hikers, so hikers must make arrangements with friends, local taxi companies, or private shuttles. Hanging boards and huts are available for camping along the way, but long-distance hikers should be prepared to take everything with them. It is essential to be fully prepared and have a copy of the most recent long route guidebook before you start.
Several sections are very suitable for overnight stays. The section between Brandon and Middlebury Gaps is a popular two-day hike and from Lincoln to Middlebury Gap is a three-day hike. One of the most scenic parts, from Lincoln Gap to the top of Mt. Abraham , is a popular day hike, even though it means returning via the same path. The Long Trail crosses an unnumbered road between Lincoln and Warren just off Route 100 and heads north to Mt. Abraham along a mountain ridge covered with stunted spruce and spruce trees. The view from Mt. Abraham’s summit extends to New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks in New York.
5 Camel’s Hump
At just over 4,000 feet, Camel’s Hump is Vermont’s third highest peak, and several trails reach the barren, rocky summit. Two of the best start at Monroe in Camel’s Hump State Park, south of Route 2 in North Duxbury, west of Waterbury. You can either hike the Monroe Trail to the summit and back, or you can take a slightly longer loop route, following the Long Trail as it descends steeply south from the summit to a junction at Wind Gap and returning to the Monroe Trail through the Dean Trail. Whichever route you take, it is a demanding climb, often steep, but on well-maintained paths.
Views from the top are the reward on a clear day, when you can see west to the Adirondacks, east to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, and north-south along the spine of the Green Mountains. The vegetation along the summit is a rare area of arctic-alpine tundra and very fragile, so be careful walking the trail alone.
Adres: Camel’s Hump State Park, Camel’s Hump Road, Waterbury, Vermont
Official site: https://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/camelshump.htm
6 Cantilever Rock
On the western slopes of Mt. Mansfield, halfway up a cliff, crosses a sword-shaped piece of rock about 40 feet long. You can reach it via the Sunset Ridge Trail from Underhill State Park, west of Burlington. Trail maps are at the ranger station at the park entrance, but the route is well marked. The Sunset Ridge Trail ascends steadily through the forest with only two spots that are difficult when the rocks are wet and slippery. Trailside benches are placed with scenic views. There is a junction at .7 miles; follow signs for Cantilever Rock, on the left. After about 1 mile, you will pass through a narrow, rocky area at the base of a 100-foot cliff. Above this is Cantilever Rock, about halfway up the cliff, jutting out at a right angle from the cliff face. The area below is almost as interesting, a jumbled mound of huge boulders that have fallen from the cliffs above. You can look up the pieces of talus around you and match them with the crevices and faces of the cliff above your head, as if you were working on a giant three-dimensional puzzle.
Adres: Underhill State Park, Underhill Center, Vermont
Official site: https://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/underhill.htm
7 Owl’s Head en Peacham Bog
Groton State Forest covers a large swath of land in the northeastern Kingdom of Vermont and includes more than a dozen hiking trails. Geology and fine views of the mountains and ponds are the main interests in the ten-minute climb up the CCC-built steps from the car park to the top of Owl’s Head. Or you can climb from the base via a trail from the road between New Discovery Campground and Osmore Pond. The granite ridges at the top were formed more than 300 million years ago. After the granite solidified from its molten state, cracks appeared and were filled by molten rock that was forced into space and cooled there, forming the dramatic stems that crisscross the bare dome.
From the nature center (where you can pick up a trail map), you can take about two hours to explore the 748-hectare Peacham Bog nature reserve. one of Vermont’s largest bogs and one of only two known “raised” bogs in the state. It is surrounded by a coniferous forest of tall trees and at one point the environment almost resembles a rainforest, with moisturizing plants and mosses. Along with pitcher plants and swamp rosemary, you may encounter several orchid species, and get a good look at a beaver dam. The swamp has no boardwalk, so waterproof boots are useful, especially in wet seasons. Because the swamp is fragile and often unstable, and because you are far from well-traveled areas, you must stay on the trail.
Adres: Route 232, Plainfield, Vermont
8 Spruce Peak
The Appalachian Trail joins the Long Trail for approximately 100 miles through southern Vermont, and the portion that climbs Spruce Peak, in the Green Mountain National Forestnear Manchester, is a favorite day walk. From the Appalachian/Long Trail junction on Route 11/30 in Winhall, the trail heads through the forest along a ridge, up and down several times. It crosses an old forest road that was once the stagecoach poldreef between the towns of Manchester, Bondville and Peru. A short side trail to the right leads to the summit, with views of Mt. Equinox and the Taconic Mountains. About a half mile south of that is Spruce Peak Shelter, a rustic log cabin used by hikers. The round trip to the shelter is about five miles, with about 600 feet of elevation change, an easy three-hour hike.
Address: Route 11/30, Winhall, Vermont
Official site: www.fs.usda.gov/greenmountain
9 Mt. Olga
Because the trail begins in Molly Stark State Park, which is located at one of the highest road access points in the southern Green Mountains, Mt. Olga provides great overviews for a relatively short and moderate hike. The entire loop from the park to the summit and back is about two miles. You can start by following the Stonewall Trail and return through the Mt. Olga Trail, or the other way around. The vertical rise is only about 520 feet, and the trails are much of the same grade.
At the summit is a lighthouse with views of nearby Hogback Mountain and, to the north, the Green Mountains. To the south, views stretch across the Mohawk Valley to the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and to the east you can see Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire. An alternative longer trail begins a little east on Route 9, at the top of the Hogback, where parking is free (there is a fee for state park parking). Both routes give you access to approximately five miles of trails in the park and the adjacent Hogback Mountain Conservation Area.
Adres: 705 Route 9, Wilmington, Vermont
Official site: www.vtstateparks.com/htm/mollystark.htm
10 Brattleboro Retreat Trail Network
Brattleboro Retreat is located in the southeastern corner of Vermont, close to the borders of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is a private mental health and addiction hospital overlooking the Connecticut River. The Retreat Trail network, like the Retreat Farm from which the network is accessed, began in the 1800s and has since grown to include nine miles of hiking trails crisscrossing a hill above the river. Trail maps are available from several access points, but the most central are at the Retreat Farm or opposite the Retreat itself, both of which have ample parking. The wide variety of terrain and running lengths makes the trails particularly attractive, as you can create long or short routes without backtracking.
Several interesting features along the trails are marked on the trail map. The matted stone medieval-style Retreat Tower was built by staff and patients in the late 1800s as a viewpoint from which to enjoy the river scenery; the Ice Pond once provided as many as 32,000 ice blocks per year for the Retreat’s ice house; the 1926 Harris Hill ski jump is still the venue for national ski jumping competitions. A Woodlands Interpretive Trail makes a one-mile loop at the far south end of the trail system. The trails are open year-round and are popular for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Adres: Linden Street (Route 30), Brattleboro, Vermont
Inn to Inn Walking Tours
Several tour companies offer walking tours that lead among Vermont’s inns, with daily luggage transportation. These can hold small groups of walkers or can be individually adjusted for solos, couples or groups of friends. Some are tailor-made trips designed exclusively for each client.