Hiking the Green Mountains  by Lisa Densmore

Hiking the Green Mountains Guide Book

by Lisa Densmore (Falcon Guides)
Hiking the Green Mountains  by Lisa Densmore
The Green Mountains of Vermont, which extend 250 miles from the Canadian border to the Berkshires, comprise a true hiker's paradise. Hiking the Green Mountains describes thirty-five of this region's greatest and most varied hikes -- from the boulder pile at White Rocks Ice Beds and the sheer cliffs of Mount Pisgah over Lake Willoughby, to the best routes on the Long Trail and Vermont's section of the Appalachian Trail. Whether you want to take in a 360-degree mountaintop view, a dramatic waterfall, or a pristine pond, this comprehensive guide is your all-in-one reference to Vermont's finest backcountry destinations.

© 2009 Lisa Densmore/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking the Green Mountains" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 35.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 35.

A steady climb to a pristine mountain pond and a nice picnic spot on open rock by the water. Along the way, see an unusual assortment of boulders throughout the woods and a brook with many cascades and small pools. Very colorful during fall foliage season! The Abbey Pond Trail (blue blazes) enters the woods on a gravel path. At first, it climbs gently, with dense hardwood forest to either side and open sky above. At about 0.1 mile, a boulder on your left grabs your attention, as it appears sliced into sections. More large boulders dot the woods. After crossing an old stone wall, the path becomes somewhat steeper and the gravel gives way to larger loose stones.
East Middlebury, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
Baker Peak is located in the middle of the 6,720-acre Big Branch Wilderness. While Griffith Lake is not inside the designated wilderness area, it is still a pristine backcountry destination. It is located in a narrow corridor between the Big Branch Wilderness and the Peru Peak Wilderness, where snowmobiling is allowed during the winter. Both Baker Peak and Griffith Lake make excellent hiking destinations alone, but the hike described here takes you to both in a day. The route is also perfect for an overnight if you want to break up the mileage. You can camp at the Griffith Lake tent site, then either hike Baker Peak as a diversion or hike out over the peak.
Danby, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.6
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A long approach, then a steady climb to a grassy clearing and a tall fire tower, with commanding views into Quebec and of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Bald Mountain in Westmore is not only the tallest Bald Mountain in Vermont, it is also the tallest peak in the Lake Willoughby area. Don’t be fooled by the name: Bald Mountain in Westmore, like the other Bald Mountains in Vermont, does not have a bald summit, but it does have other redeeming features. This Bald Mountain is the only one with an elevation above 3,000 feet.
Westmore, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
A peaceful loop hike past a large beaver pond and Tillotson Camp to a 50-foot fire tower on one of the least traveled sections of the Long Trail. From the trailhead, take the Frank Post Trail (blue blazes) into the ferns and hardwoods. The trail can be wet and muddy at first, climbing gently on its approach toward the mountain. At 0.6 mile, the trail comes to a fork, the junction with the Forester Trail. You will close the loop here on your descent. Bear right, continuing on the Frank Post Trail. The trail immediately crosses a stream and then continues its moderate, steady uphill climb.
Eden Mills, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.9
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Overnight backpacking through a microburst area and past two ponds, followed by a long peaceful forest walk through Lye Brook Wilderness. The hike to Bourn Pond and Stratton Pond is an excellent way to traverse through the heart of the Lye Brook Wilderness. There are lengthy stretches through pristine woodlands on this trek, but the big rewards are an early view from Prospect Rock above Manchester and then your choice of shelters or pond-side tent sites. This loop hike is described here as a two-day outing, but many extend it to three days (or longer).
Manchester, VT - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 16.5
A gradual yet steady climb through a hardwood forest to a viewing platform at the top of the Bromley Ski Area. Passes one of the newer lodges on the Appalachian Trail (AT)/Long Trail (LT) in Vermont. There are two out-and-back approaches to Bromley, both on the AT/LT (white blazes). The approach from the south is 0.3 mile longer, but it has some interesting points along the way; namely, Bromley Brook, a nice place to pause if you are hiking with a dog, and Bromley Shelter, where you can spend the night. Hiking up Bromley Mountain feels easier than the distance might suggest. It is a good option if you are not quite up to either of the two nearby giants, Mount Equinox and Stratton Mountain, but still want a hike to an expansive view.
Peru, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.6
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This is a western loop hike over a landmark Vermont 4,000-footer, with three ledges to climb on the way up and a 360-degree panorama from the rock summit. Camel’s Hump is sizable in looks and in effort, but well worth the challenge. The mountain can be approached via the Long Trail (LT), but day hikers prefer to climb from either Duxbury on the eastern flank of the mountain or from Huntington on the western side. The Huntington side, described here, is about a mile shorter but arguably more challenging because of the “Stairs,” a series of three consecutive ledges that require some minor scrambling. Most hikers will delight in the Stairs, which give you early views and add some topographical interest to the climb. The route described here also makes a loop, ascending via the Forest City Trail, where the Stairs are located (easier to climb up than down), and descending via the Burrows Trail. The Forest City Trail is a half-mile longer than the Burrows Trail and offers numerous views of the summit during the last third of the climb.
Huntington, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.7
This is an eastern approach to a summit of a landmark Vermont 4,000-footer where you’ll find a 360-degree view from the open rock summit and rare alpine flora. Camel’s Hump is a Vermont landmark. Its bald summit comes to an offset point, which is visible for miles on a clear day. The mountain has had many names over the centuries. The precolonial Native Americans called it Tawabodi-e-wadso, or “the saddle mountain.” In the early 1600s, when Samuel de Champlain first saw the mountain while exploring the region for Henry IV of France, he thought it looked like a sleeping lion and thus dubbed it Le Lion Couchant, or “the couching lion.” In the late 1700s, Ira Allen, Ethan Allen’s brother, dubbed it Camel’s Rump, which was later changed to a more gentlemanly Camel’s Hump.
Duxbury, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.8
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Short hike to a dramatic cliff with a 180-degree view of Pico Peak and the surrounding countryside.
Killington, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
Multifaceted loop hike that passes by two lovely ponds and includes a rocky scramble through a rock tunnel and a lush, deep ravine to a view from a high perch. Spruce Lodge near Devil’s Gulch.
Belvidere Corners, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
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A steep ascent out of a narrow notch to a cliff-top lookout, then a moderate ascent to a scenic subalpine pond with views of Mount Mansfield along much of route. Smugglers’ Notch is a deep, narrow cleft that separates the hulk of Mount Mansfield and a high ridge that includes Spruce Peak and Madonna Peak. Geologists believe the notch was formed by a river that flowed toward Stowe during the last ice age, carving the dramatic cliffs that form its walls. The name Smugglers’ Notch dates back to before the War of 1812, when the notch was used as an illegal trade route with Canada during a trade embargo with the British Commonwealth.
Stowe, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8
Popular trek through an airy hardwood forest to a landmark on the Appalachian Trail, with views of the nearby Bennington area and Taconic Range to the west. Wildflowers in May include trout lily (dog-toothed violet), squirrel corn, spring beauties. Harmon Hill was likely named for the prominent Harmon family of the town of Rupert in Bennington County. Reuben Harmon Jr., a member of the Vermont General Assembly, was authorized to mine and mint copper coins in this region as part of Vermont’s proclamation as an independent republic prior to its becoming the fourteenth state in 1791. The climb up Harmon Hill starts out with a cardio bang, but ends with a casual lilt. While the views from the summit are not particularly dramatic, it is a pleasing destination at the end of a nice woodland walk. Enter the woods on the AT/LT–South (white blazes). The path climbs steeply up a long series of stone steps and well-placed rocks, in a show of expert trail work, and gains elevation quickly.
Bennington, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
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A pleasant, gradual climb to a small rocky summit with excellent views, especially to the east into New Hampshire. The rocky perch at the summit over Haystack Pond is a perfect picnic spot. Haystack Mountain is a common name for peaks in the Northeast. The name comes from the mountain’s shape, which resembles a giant stack of hay. During the 1800s much of Vermont’s woodlands were cleared for farming. While most of those fields have grown back into forest, and the remaining farmers now make large bales instead view of Haystack Pond from the summit of Haystack Mountain.
Wilmington, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
Short hike on the Long Trail to the open rocky top of Vermont’s northernmost ski area with stellar views into southern Quebec. At 0.9 mile, there is a break in the trees to the left, with a nice view of the neighboring peaks to the north and into Canada. Enter the woods on the LT–North (white blazes), immediately passing the Atlas Valley Shelter, a four-person lean-to that was built in 1967 from wood supplied by the Atlas timber company. It was not intended for overnight use, but it works in a pinch. The main trail starts out as much stream as footpath after a heavy rain, but the footing is easy. It soon begins to climb, getting increasingly steeper and becoming more rocky and well-worn.
Jay, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
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Hike to the rocky summit of the second-highest peak in Vermont. Numerous wildflowers in early summer; optional overnight at Cooper Lodge (cabin); spectacular view, particularly to the north along the spine of the Green Mountains. Killington Peak is the highest of the six peaks that make up the Killington ski resort and one of only five summits with elevations over 4,000 feet in Vermont. There are four ways to climb this towering peak, from the north and from the south along the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail (AT/LT), from the east up one of the ski area’s interpretive hiking trails, and from the west via the Bucklin Trail. The Bucklin Trail, described here, is a shorter route than either approach on the AT/LT and offers a truer back-country experience than the routes up the ski area side.
Mendon, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.2
A little bit of everything—a cascading brook, a large secluded pond, and mountain views—makes this a perfect day trip or an easy overnighter. Most people (and other guidebooks) approach Little Rock Pond via the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail (AT/LT) from USFS Road 10 south of the pond. The Homer Stone Brook Trail (blue blazes) is 0.3-mile longer, round-trip, but it is a perfect 10 as far as hiking in southern Vermont goes. It begins with an easy walk through the woods that nips away at the elevation as it follows scenic Homer Stone Brook, paralleling the brook most of the way to the pond—a small lake really. Once at the pond, you can explore the loop around it, make the short climb up Green Mountain on its western shore, or both.
South Wallingford, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.1
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A serene woodland walk to a spectacular 160-foot waterfall, one of the tallest in Vermont. The route to Lye Brook Falls along the Lye Brook Trail (blue blazes) is a wonderful half-day introduction to hiking. The trail is broad and follows an old logging road and a railroad bed. It climbs gently, gaining about 800 feet from the trailhead to the spur to the falls, passing through peaceful forest. It then drops 200 feet on a moderate incline to the falls. Save this hike for after a rainstorm, as the falls dry to a less impressive trickle by mid-June. The trailhead is on the southeastern side of the circle. From the trailhead, the path starts out over giant cobblestone-like rocks, but after a few moments, it bends to the right (south) and becomes a smooth woods road, where it is easy to move quickly if you are pushed for time.
Manchester, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
A persistent ascent through four distinct climate zones to the summit of a 4,000-footer with an alpine summit that gives an expansive 360-degree view of the Adirondacks in New York, White Mountains in New Hampshire, and a large portion of the Green Mountain. The Battell Trail (blue blazes) is a popular route to the top of Mount Abraham, particularly if you are on the western side of Vermont. It is named for Joseph Battell, a conservationist, Morgan horse breeder, and former owner of the Bread Loaf Inn. Battell was born in 1839 in Middlebury, Vermont, and served both in the Vermont state legislature and as a trustee of Middlebury College. Unmarried, he bequeathed several large pieces of land to Middlebury College and to the State of Vermont and is thus credited with preserving substantial tracts of forest that hikers continue to enjoy.
Lincoln, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8
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A relatively short but steady climb to an alpine summit on one of Vermont’s 4,000-footers and an impressive 360-degree view. Just below the summit of Mount Abraham, the large white quartzite rock looks like a giant egg.
Warren, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
A popular family hike to a fire tower with a 360-degree view and then to a large boulder that seems to defy gravity.
Morrisville, VT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
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