Lye Brook Trail

Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Distance7.7mi
Elevation Gain2,708ft
Trailhead Elevation2,574ft
Top2,673ft
Elevation Min/Max842/2673ft
Elevation Start/End2574/2577ft

Lye Brook Trail

Lye Brook Trail is a hiking trail in Stratton, Vermont. It is within Green Mountain National Forest and Lye Brook Wilderness. It is 7.7 miles long and begins at 2,574 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 15.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,708 feet. This trail connects with the following: Branch Pond Trail.

Lye Brook Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"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."

"The 18,000-acre Lye Brook Wilderness perches atop a high-elevation plateau in the southern Green Mountains. Its west front drops steeply into the broad marble valley of Manchester. Century-old forest swathes the slopes, and lakes shimmer on the plateau. It is a classic Green Mountain destination and an outstanding hike in fall.

The hike loops through the west portion of the Wilderness. The journey first ascends Lye Brook Trail for 7.0 miles—past the state’s highest waterfall Lye Brook Falls—to reach Bourn Pond and good camping options. The hike then heads north across flat terrain on Branch Pond Trail, reaching Douglas Shelter just before encountering the Long Trail."

"An overnight backpack to a wilderness pond, or a half-day hike to a plummeting falls. Overshadowed by the height of Stratton Mountain and the fame of Stratton Pond, this unheralded route through the heart of the Lye Brook Wilderness is a backcountry hiker’s delight. Remote wetlands, a plummeting falls, and shelter near an unspoiled pond add luster to this rambling hike, which ends less than 3 miles from more popular haunts on the Long Trail (LT) corridor.

Day hikers on their way to Lye Brook Falls join the early procession as the Lye Brook Trail skirts the right side of a brushy clearing, aims at the sound of the brook, and bears left through a gauntlet of stones. Pausing for a quick look into the stream’s ravine, the path joins the raised grade of an old logging railroad that tunnels straight through the pine-birch woods to a woodland road, rambles easily up a minimal slope, and discovers the awesome power of nature."

"This incredibly beautiful waterfall drops over 150 feet down steep rocky steps and is one of Vermont’s most well-known, and photographed, waterfalls. This is the longest Vermont hike in this book.

Upon reaching Lye Brook Falls at 2.3 miles, you can stand on a rocky outcrop to get a view of most of the waterfall. Depending on the season, the falls can look very different. The falls are mainly large step cascades at the top and horsetails at the bottom, but they can take on various forms under different water flows. You can head down to the bottom just a few feet below the outcrop and, if you’re adventurous, follow the rough path partway up the side of the falls."

"A magnificent 125-foot waterfall and an astounding recent landslide hide deep in a narrow wilderness valley just outside one of Vermont’s most-visited towns."

Lye Brook Trail Reviews

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8/23/2014
Very nice hike, I would never recommend it as a loop. Once you converge with the AT, it's two miles of brutal downhill on a dirt road, which then links up with the paved road back to the car for a total of 4 miles (or 25% of the trip) on roads. You're better off with an out and back to the pond. The falls were nice and the lake is gorgeous. The trail is seriously overgrown after the falls, blazes are few and faint. This could be a serious endeavor in wet weather - it was muggy and slick and it's been dry. Great trip overall, we camped on the lake and listened to loons all night.
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7/24/2011
Great hike. Much of the trail was overgrown and was obviously not used much. Once we passed the falls we only ran into 2 other hikers the entire trip. Signs of moose were everywhere. We camped at Bourne Pond and woke the next morning to two moose swimming. Really cool.
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6/3/2011
very hard trail. the first half is all uphill and they arent kidding about the bogs. they were all the way through. It got tricky and we lost the blazes at a beaver dam. However the hard work was worth it. A gorgeous watrfall, beautiful lake, and an awsome view off the mountain. I suspect that the walk on the road is longer than 1.5 miles like the guide says...we drove the suburu half way to clock it and we went over before we finished the drive back. so while it says 15 mi...id say it is a bit more. We were a group of four---intermediate hikers and we did this in one day out the next. Start early if you want the good campsites though. (or bring hammocks like us...you can really put up anywhere in a hammock...tents will be a problem,)
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4/7/2007
This was quite lovely--there were a few inches of snow on the ground and the falls were partially frozen, but this added to the ambience. The canopy provided by the trees over the old railroad path is beautiful. I just hiked to the falls, which was supposed to be about 2.3 miles and it seemed to take a long time (plodding through the snow). There are some spots that are steep and tricky to navigate with snow on the ground. I can imagine this would not be a good hike during Vermont's mud season, as even with the snow, there was a good deal of water to cross.
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12/18/2006
Easy day hike to the falls, 2.3 miles with gradual incline on the way in. Spectacular waterfall, will do this one again.
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6/5/2006
This was a very challenging hike for me I did 8 miles out and 8 back I went about one mile past the bourn pond. It was very wet and the trail is over grown in many areas but not too hard to follow. The blaze seemed to be spaced out about every 1/4 mile or so there where more on the way back then on the way out. There where also many blow downs to deal with three spots had more than two blow downs on top of each other. Over all it made for a great challenge and a good work out. P.S I saw allots of Mouse sign but didn't see any but they are there. Also the bourn shelter has been taken down as of 6/5/06
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9/13/2005
The shelter at Bourn Pond has been demolished as that is now included in the wilderness area. Trail was deserted in early September: last person to come thru according to the log book at the trailhead was 5 days prior. Really pretty. Found a huge dead moose sprawled across the trail: moose signs abundant: heard one bellow in the wood nearby early one AM.
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8/29/2005
A great hike. The falls are spectacular; like two hikes in one, real backcountry on the second half to the bogs/marshes and pond beyond. Note: the shelter at Bourn has been removed to encourage camping at the already-established spots.
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8/18/2005
Lye Brook Wilderness is a gorgeous area. However, it's a long hike! We set out from the Branch Road Access Road off Kelly stand Road. We took the Branch Pond trail leading to Bourne Pond. It took us about an hour and 15 minutes. Then we turned onto the Lye Brook Trail, hoping to reach the falls. After 2.5 hours, we really needed to eat lunch, so we stopped right after crossing what we thought was probably Lye Brook. We had to turn around, not knowing how much farther the falls were, and knowing we had 4 hours back. This would have been a better hike one-way, or overnight. But the area is gorgeous - we saw moose tracks everywhere - and very remote.
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5/16/2003
The Lye Brook Wilderness rates among the best backpacking trips I've taken. Rather than out-and-back, we hiked this trail one-way by parking at the AT/LT head on Arlington-West Wardsboro Road and having a friend drop us at the Lye Brook trailhead in Manchester. Following adjoining trails made for a longer hike (roughly 20 to 25 miles) that allowed us to take in not only Lye Brook Falls and Bourne Pond, but Branch and Stratton Ponds as well. The grande finale was an exhillirating hike up and over snow-patched Stratton Mountain, where at the top, a climb up the fire tower rewarded us with a breathtaking all-encompassing view of the region (that included our point of origin far off in the distance.) Looking forward to a return trip in the Fall!
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Lye Brook Trail Photos

Trail Information

Green Mountain National Forest
Nearby City
Green Mountain National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Moderate
Skill Level
Waterfalls
Features
Manchester Ranger District, 2538 Depot Street, Manchester Center, VT 05255; (802) 362-2307
Local Contacts
USGS Manchester (VT) Quad
Local Maps