To enjoy the majesty of the colorful foliage of the Vermont landscape hikers young and old take to the trail. There is a wide selection of excellent hikes for all abilities in and around Central Vermont. Driving to the trailheads is also very beautiful, especially when passing through the ‘Notch Road’ connecting Stowe and Cambridge.
The Green Mountain Club was established in 1910 to maintain and protect the Long Trail (a 273 mile trail that runs the length of the state). Their website is a great resource to help plan your hiking adventures in Vermont including recommended hikes, hiking basics, and severe weather hiking safety tips.
Pack your bags, pack your lunch, plan your route, gather your gear, tell someone where you’re going … and take a hike! Here are some of the best fall hikes in Vermont.
Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk: This is the perfect short and easy .25 mile round trip trail to enjoy beautiful views of both Spruce Peak (in the Sterling Mountain Range) and Mount Mansfield (the highest peak of the Green Mountain Range). The boardwalk is a flat and unique section of the Long Trail complete with informational panels about the local wildlife. It runs through wetlands and beaver habitats. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible. The parking lot is on VT-108 just past the Stowe Mountain Resort gondola. This is a great little walk to take before climbing to the summit of Mt. Mansfield on a more challenging full-day hike, or for an after dinner walk with the family. The boardwalk also serves as the starting point for a 1.5 mile moderately challenging 45 minute hike: the Barnes Camp Loop.
Sterling Pond: The drive through Smugglers’ Notch is a wonderful fall foliage experience. The mountain road connecting Stowe and Cambridge is open for cars from mid-May through mid-October and closed for the winter. It is always closed to tractor-trailers and motorhomes. The ‘Notch Road’ is well marked with warnings to commercial vehicles but ignored several times every year. It takes several hours to get large vehicles unstuck from the pass (don’t follow a tractor trailer up the pass…turn around and enjoy a hike elsewhere).
The trailhead for Sterling Pond Trail is at the top of ‘Notch Road’. There’s a parking lot with overspill parking areas along VT-108. This is a popular hiking spot and rock climbing area, it can get busy. The hike is a 2.3 mile out-and-back trail leading to Sterling Pond at the summit. It takes about 2 hours to hike and enjoy the views. The hike is considered moderately challenging. Be careful when descending the flat rock faces to the pond at the summit which are sometimes slippery.
Mount Hunger via Waterbury Trail: This is a challenging hike in the Worcester Range. The trail is steep and rocky but you will be treated to breathtaking 360º views of Vermont at the summit. The 4.1 mile out-and-back trail takes around 3 ½ hours to complete. Experienced day hikers and well-prepared moderate hikers will enjoy the challenge and steep ascent.
Camel’s Hump: There is a network of trails with many popular routes to the summit of Camel’s Hump. The 6.2 mile out-and-back hike on the Monroe Trail is a great hike for your first visit to the mountain. The trailhead is at the end of Camel’s Hump Road in North Duxbury. The trail is considered moderately difficult and will connect to the Long Trail for the .3 mile climb to the summit. The last section of the hike is steep and narrow. The views are incredible! It takes an average of 4 ½ hours to complete the journey (depending on how long you stop for lunch and take in the majestic view).
Mount Mansfield: There are a lot of great trails to the summit of Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak). There are great trails on the western face of Mount Mansfield starting in Underhill State Park and equally great trails starting on the eastern face of the mountain in Stowe. There is also an auto toll road on the Stowe side that brings travelers to the summit where they can enjoy a rocky and challenging walk along the ridge line minus the challenges of the ascent and descent.
The Sunset Ridge and Long Trail loop starting in Underhill State Park is a classic. The 5.9 mile loop is challenging with exposed rock faces to traverse and a steep ascent to the Chin of the mountain. It is a 4 ½ hour journey and considered a hard hike. Be prepared and take caution in bad weather as there is no shelter on the Long Trail section. Sections can be very steep, rocky, and slippery and a lot of fun for the experienced hiker.
Heney Realtors has been serving Central Vermont since 1956. This is where we live, work, hike, and play. We know the local real estate market, we know the local towns and neighborhoods, and we would like to help you find your perfect home in Central Vermont. Contact us today!