Spruce Mountain Trail

Washington County, Vermont

Elevation Gain1,264ft
Trailhead Elevation1,878ft
Elevation Min/Max1866/3030ft
Elevation Start/End1878/1878ft

Spruce Mountain Trail

Spruce Mountain Trail is a hiking trail in Washington County, Vermont. It is 2.1 miles long and begins at 1,878 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 4.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,264 feet. The trail ends near Spruce Mountain (elevation 2,959 feet).

Spruce Mountain Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Day Hikes in Vermont (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Jennifer Lamphere Roberts
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"A historical fire tower offers intimate views of Granite Hill peaks and long views to the highest Green and White mountains."
Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont (The Mountaineers Books)
Lisa Densmore
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"Although the top of Spruce Mountain is in Groton State Forest, most of the peak is in L.R. Jones State Forest. In fact, the mountain is not accessible from Groton State Forest. The 642-acre L.R. Jones State Forest was the first parcel of land purchased by the State of Vermont, back in 1909. It is named for a former professor of botany at the University of Vermont in honor of his efforts to create a state tree nursery."
Hiking Vermont: 60 of Vermont’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (Falcon Guides)
Larry Pletcher (Updated and revised by Tom Seymour)
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"Superb family hikes to remarkable views are rare in the east-central portion of the state—a rambunctious region of low summits that fill a widening gap between the Green Mountains and the Connecticut River. This route, then, holds a pleasant surprise. Aided by an old fire tower recycled as an observation deck, the Spruce Mountain Trail rises above a thick cloak of evergreens to marvelous views that overlook Groton State Forest, the nascent Winooski River, and countless peaks that scatter to the far corners of northern New England. From a red post that serves as the trailhead, a level jeep track curls east from the parking area far below the glint of the sun on the summit’s silver tower. Dipping downhill, the path skims past gleaming birch and calmly advances toward the base of the mountain that blinks through the woods on your left. The sound of a brook whispers from the east as the track curves slowly south and climbs away from the peak."

Spruce Mountain Trail Trip Reports

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The trail is pretty easy going and mellow for the first mile and a half, then becomes moderately steep over rocks and roots for the remainder of the hike up. I like taking my dog here for great exercise and beautiful scenery. The panoramic views at the top from the lookout tower are wonderful. A great hike.
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The hike is a bit more strenuous than the "moderate" category. The upper portions require some scrambling and conscious footwork which makes me wonder why it's labeled as a family hike? The work is well worth it as the views at the top of the fire tower are amazing. There is a 360 view of surrounding peaks and a nearby pond and town to gaze upon (no idea which pond or town). There are some views from the summit but the true beauty requires a courageous climb up the fire tower. The hike took us a little over 2 hours. Thus our speed may account for the added difficulty. It's a great late afternoon hike. We didn't get started until 5 pm and about 1/3 mile before the trail head on our return we saw a moose calf in the center of the trail. Pretty amazing sight! We didn't see any other wildlife worth noting save the occasional chipmunk and a plethora of insects, bug spray is a must(especially bad in the lower meadow areas). Great hike for older children (6-7 and up) but I would advise that those younger than that might not have the size and strength to handle this hike.
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The first mile up the trail is an easy climb. The last mile is steep. You are in the proverbial green tunnel all the way to the top, but the firetower at the top allows a true 360 degree panorama with beautiful views. I made it to the top in a little over one hour, and made it back down in 40 minutes with some running.

Spruce Mountain Trail Photos

Trail Information

Washington County
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Agency of Natural Resources, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, District V, 1229 Portland Street, Suite 201, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819; (802) 751-0110
Local Contacts
USGS Knox Mountain
Local Maps

Trail Log