Who says you need to work hard to enjoy wonderful views? lf you can get over the fact that you don’t have to suffer to earn a reward (and we New England Puritan types have a very hard time with this!), you’ll enjoy this sweet, short hike and the panoramas at the top of Mount Philo, in Vermont’s oldest state park. Mount Philo still bears a few scars from a wicked ice storm in January 1998, when trees were toppled or split down the middle, ravaging much of the forest-here and throughout the Northeast.
As a result, the state put in a cleared road to the summit, on the path of an old horse-and-carriage trail. There’s also a new parking lot at the top. Picnic tables and grills are everywhere and, while this doesn’t mean much to the winter hiker, it makes the destination more user-friendly in summertime. With ample snow cover, you could take the summit road up this little peak, but the trail is a better choice. The fairly straight-up climb, with a few small switchbacks, will be a more interesting and energizing route, so you’ll feel you’ve earned some relaxing and sightseeing at the top.
© Diane Bair & Pamela Wright/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.