This hike is a peak-bagger’s dream, crossing at least four summits - Mount Abraham (elevation 4006 feet), Lincoln Peak (elevation 3972 feet), Mount Ellen (elevation 4083 feet), and General Stark Mountain (elevation 3662 feet) - Depending on how you count them. Some maps also recognize Nancy Hanks Peak on the north side of Lincoln Peak and Cutts Peak on the south side of Mount Ellen, which would give you six summits in one trip. Others consider the entire ridge to be only two peaks - Lincoln and Stark - with prominent points like Mount Abraham to be part of the other two. Regardless of how you count them, this is one of the classic ridge-walks in Vermont, and a dog’s delight, except for the last section between the top of General Stark and Appalachian Gap. For this reason, ending your hike down a ski trail at Mad River Glen is recommended if you are hiking with a smaller or less agile dog.
Otherwise, the descent to Appalachian Gap is an interesting final leg of the hike, with views and some challenges, including two short ladders. The ladders are the main reason why this hike is best done from south to north with a dog. It is easier for a dog to go down the two ladder pitches than to go up them. In addition, it is nice to get an early reward, reaching the summit of Mount Abraham, then to have a long, gradual descent most of the way from there.
© 2005 Lisa Densmore/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.