Updated: 09/10/2013
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Day Hikes Near the Green Mountain Club

Visit the Green Mountain Club's visitor center right on Route 100 between Waterbury and Stowe, Vt.  The visitor center provides free hiking information in addition to clothing, books, maps and other items featuring the Long Trail.  The Long Trail, established and maintained by the Green Mountain Club, is America's oldest long distance hiking trail.  Support for the club supports Vermont's hiking trails.  Become a member today.

Short Day Hikes - Easy
Short Day Hikes - Moderate
Long Day Hikes

Walk outside the Green Mountain Club visitor center and look to the west, and you will see more than fifty miles of the Long Trail, including Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump (two of Vermont’s highest peaks). The Worcester Mountain Range frames the valley to the east. There are day hikes all around you, from major peaks to easier trips suitable for family outings.

This is just an introduction to hiking in the Waterbury-Stowe area. For more detailed descriptions and maps, you will want to purchase the Long Trail Guide or the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont, produced and published by the Green Mountain Club. Both guidebooks are available online and in the visitor center.

Before You Start

  • Distances are for round-trips. Times are estimates only.
  • Always bring a map and a compass.
  • Two things to remember about the weather:
    • Mountain weather changes quickly! Summer storms can bring severe lightning and pouring rain. Check the weather forecast before you start. Be aware of changes in weather. If it looks like a storm is coming, get off the rocky summits.
    • If you are heading to the peaks, you will be going into an entirely different weather zone—colder, windier, and wetter. Dress with the "three Ws" in mind: a layer close to your body for wicking (pulling sweat away from your skin), then a layer like fleece for warmth, and a layer, such as a nylon shell or Gore-Tex, to protect you from the wind. (Leave cotton at home. It is not very warm, it’s not wind-resistant, and when it gets wet, it stays wet. You can suffer hypothermia even in the summer, if you’re walking around in the wind wearing wet clothes.)
  • Your feet are going to get you there and back. Treat them well. Wear sturdy hiking boots with good socks. If your boots are brand-new, start with short hikes.
  • Always bring more liquid than you think you’ll need.
  • Always bring food, even if you just ate. Good foods for day hikes include "power bars," string cheese, bananas, gorp (raisins, nuts, M&Ms).
  • Your pack should also have a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a pocketknife, and a whistle.

On the Trail

  • Treat all water by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating. Streams and ponds may look clean, but they may be contaminated with giardia, a bacteria that can cause intestinal distress.
  • Pack it in - pack it out. Carry out all of your trash (including "biodegradable" items like orange peels).
  • Use the privy if the site has one. Otherwise, dispose of human and pet waste in a "cat hole" between four and six inches deep and at least two hundred feet (75 paces) away from the water sources. Bury toilet paper. Treat your dog’s waste in the same way as your own—bury it. And, above timberline, carry it out.
  • Pets must be leashed above treeline at all times.
  • You’re sharing these beautiful areas with wild animals, including deer, moose, bear, raccoons, frogs, salamanders, and many kinds of birds. Give them plenty of room.
  • You may build a fire only if there’s an established fire pit. Use dead wood only and never peel bark off standing trees.
  • Trails that are part of the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail are marked with white blazes on trees and rocks. Most other trails are marked in blue.
  • If you’re staying overnight, use the lodges or the designated tenting sites. (There’s a fee for individuals and groups at sites where there are caretakers. See Long Trail Guide for fee sites.)
  • Do the rock walk. The summits of Mount Mansfield, Camel's Hump, and Mount Abraham support many species of alpine plants, left behind when the last glaciers started shrinking toward the north. They are rare, they are endangered, and they don’t tolerate being walked on. In these areas, walk only on the marked trails and rocks!

*** There is more to read in the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont and the Long Trail Guide, which are available at the GMC Hiker Center. The following information is taken from these guides.***


Little River State Park: Self-Guided Hikes

Distance: varies
Time: varies
Difficulty: Easy

From GMC headquarters, follow VT 100 South to the junction with US 2. turn right and head west 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Little River Road and drive to the park entrance at the end of the road.

The State Park trails form a network that generally follows town roads, some of which are now used for logging roads and snowmobile trails as well as for hiking. A printed interpretive guide is available at the park. The trails are marked with blue paint blazes. In season (mid-May to mid-October), a fee is charged for day-use of the hiking trails in the park.

The Short Trail at the Green Mountain Club

Distance: 3/4 mile
Time: 15-30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

The short trail extends directly out the back door of the Green Mountain Club visitor center.  This loop trail traverses fields and woods, crosses streams and displays club trail work techniques.  It features a historic Long Trail shelter rebuilt as a display piece.  It also features interpretive signs relating to the history and environment of the area.

Sterling Pond: Long Trail North

Distance: 2.8 miles
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy

From Stowe Village take Vt. 108 about 11 miles to the Long Trail parking area which is at the top of the Notch road. Parking is on both the left and right. The trail is on the right side.

The route to the pond follows the Sterling Pond Trail. You can make a loop of the pond by following the Elephant’s Head Trail, but be careful to get back on the Sterling Pond Trail for the descent back to the trailhead. A more challenging loop can be created by hiking up the Long Trail from further down Rt 108 and returning via the Sterling Pond Trail, then walking down Rt 108. There are great views from Sterling Pond (at over 3,000 feet). Check out the Long Trail Guide for further information.

The pocket-sized, waterproof map featuring this hike is available here.

Moss Glen Falls Trail

Distance: 1 miles
Time: .75 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Follow VT 100 north from Stowe 3.2 miles to Randolph Road. Turn right and follow for .5 mile. Turn right onto Moss Glen Falls Road and follow for .5 mile to a small parking area.

This is a very short, but scenic, hike to a spectacular waterfall. Although the trail is not well marked, the route is obvious. Follow the brook upstream to the falls. Be careful at the falls. Loose debris at the edge of the trail can be slippery and dangerous. Inexperienced hikers should stay to the left, above the falls. The trail connects to a VAST snowmobile trail so be careful not to follow the wrong trail back.


Elmore Mountain Trail

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2.75 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

From Morrisville follow Vt. 12 South five miles to Elmore State Park. Turn right and pay a small fee for trail parking. To get to the trailheads, follow the park road to the left and uphill through the picnic area to the end of the road. The trail starts on the left and is blazed blue.

Elmore Mountain is the northernmost peak in the Worcester Range. Climb the fire tower on the summit and you can see Jay Peak and the Canadian border to the north. Two tenths of a mile from the summit, a stone fireplace and cellar hole mark the site of the former lookout cabin.

Mt. Mansfield State Forest: Cotton Brook Loop

Distance: 9 miles
Time: 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

From the GMC headquarters, follow Route 100 north to Moscow Road. Take a left and follow it for about 2 miles to the Cotton Brook Entrance to the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. Parking is on the right. The trail begins down the road at the red gate.

The loop passes by a number of old farm and saw mill sites and affords views of the reservoir and the Bolton Range. (If you come across a moose, enjoy - but keep a safe distance.)

Nebraska Notch: Lake Mansfield Trail

Distance: 3.2 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

From the GMC Headquarters, drive north on Vt. 100. At 2.8 miles, turn left onto Moscow Road. Follow Moscow Road about 5.8 miles to the Lake Mansfield Trout Club. The Lake Mansfield Trail goes from the Trout Club up into the Nebraska Notch, where it meets the Long Trail at Taylor Lodge.

At the trailhead, there is a beautiful view of a large glacial cirque (a rounded "scooped-out" valley). The trail follows an old logging road for awhile before crossing a brook and ascending to the Long Trail. This is a great family hike, with good views along the trail, beaver dams and a waterfall. Taylor Lodge has an open-faced "porch" with picnic tables that look out over the notch.

Stowe Pinnacle: Stowe Pinnacle Trail

Distance: 2.8 miles
Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

From GMC Headquarters, take Vt. 100 north 3.5 miles. Turn right onto Gold Brook Road. After crossing a bridge at .3 miles, turn left continuing on Gold Brook Road. After 1.6 miles you reach a junction with Upper Hollow Road. Turn right and at the top of the hill just past Pinnacle Road is a small parking area on the left.

The Stowe Pinnacle Trail is relatively short but steep, with a bald open summit from which you can see the Green Mountains to the west (including Camel’s Hump, the Bolton Range, the Nebraska Notch, Mt. Mansfield and the Sterling Mountain Range) and the Worcester Range. You’ll see Hogback Mt. to the southeast, which you can get to via the Hogback Trail.

The pocket-sized, waterproof map featuring this hike is available here.

(You can do these hikes in less time, but give yourself all day and enjoy the views.)

Camel’s Hump: Monroe/Alpine Loop

Distance: 6.6 miles
Time: 4.75 hours
Difficulty: Advanced

From GMC headquarters, follow Vt. 100 south to the junction of Routes 2 & 100 in Waterbury. Turn left toward Waterbury for 0.1 mi. then turn right onto Winooski Street. Cross a bridge, and turn right onto River Road. Go 4.6 miles and turn left onto Camel's Hump Road. Stay on the main road until reaching a parking lot at the end of the road.

At 4,083 feet, Camel's Hump is the third-highest peak in Vermont. The mountain has had several names, including "saddle mountain", "couching lion" and "camel’s rump". A partial loop hike of Camel's Hump begins by following the Monroe Trail to the junction with the Alpine trail. From here follow the Alpine trail left (southwest) to the summit. Descend via the Long Trail north to the hut clearing and take a right (east) onto the Monroe trail back to the trailheads.

The pocket-sized, waterproof map featuring this hike is available here.

Harrington’s View (Long Trail North)

Distance: 6.6 miles
Time: 4.75 hours
Difficulty: Advanced

From Jonesville, follow U.S. 2 east 1.0 mi. and turn north on the Bolton Notch Road. There is limited parking at the Long Trail crossing, 3.0 mi. north of U.S. 2.

"Harrington’s View" is on the top of a rock cliff where there is an opening in the forest letting you see Bolton and Mansfield. (This isn’t a technically demanding hike but the length of this trail makes it an advanced outing.)

A map of the entire Long Trail, including this hike, is available here.

Hunger Mountain: Waterbury Trail

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Advanced

Follow Vt. 100 .3 miles south of the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Turn left toward the Waterbury Center Post Office. At .3 miles, turn left on Maple Street. Just past the Fire Station, turn right on Loomis Hill Road. At the top of the hill the road bears left and you reach a small parking area at 3.8 miles on the right.

Hunger Mountain and Camel's Hump are nice to hike because of the lack of development. Hunger has views of the Green Mountains to the west and Groton State Forest and the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the east. A possible side trail leads south to White Rock Mountain, while the Skyline Trail heads north to Worcester Mountain.

The pocket-sized, waterproof map featuring this hike is available here.

Mount Mansfield: Mansfield Traverse

Distance: 6.5 miles
Time: 4.75 hours
Difficulty: Advanced

From Stowe Village take VT 108 eight miles to the Stowe Ski Area. Turn left and follow the road to the gondola parking lot. Park and cross the ski trail to the Haselton Trailhead.

The trail takes you through the picturesque forest of the Haselton Trail, the Nose Dive Ski Trail and the Toll Road under Mt. Mansfield’s Nose and features a 2.0 mi. alpine ridge walk along the Long Trail north to the Chin, Vermont’s highest point (el. 4,393'). The trail then goes down the Long Trail past Taft Lodge and returns to Vt. 108 less than a mile north of the gondola parking lot (parking for the Haselton Trail).

The pocket-sized, waterproof map featuring this hike is available here.

Whiteface Mountain: Beaver Meadow/Whiteface/Long Trail

Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Advanced

New directions coming soon!

Originally known as Sterling Mountain, Whiteface Mountain provides a number of unique views in all directions from the spur trail on the summit. Views include Mt. Mansfield and the west wall of Smugglers’ Notch. Follow the Beaver Meadow Trail from the trailhead and at the junction with the Beaver Meadow Bypass, stay to the right (east) on the Whiteface Trail. At the junction with the Long Trail at the shelter, head right (north) and ascend to the summit of Whiteface. Return the reverse way.

A map of the entire Long Trail, including this hike, is available here.

Green Mountain Club

Protecting and Maintaining the Long Trail Since 1910

Established in 1910, the Green Mountain Club is a private, nonprofit organization with more than 10,000 members. GMC is dedicated to maintaining, managing, and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail system and advocating for hiking opportunities in Vermont. Every year, more than 1,000 volunteers work so that future generations may enjoy the 500 mile Long Trail System. Membership is open to all. To learn more about the GMC, or to become a member, contact the Green Mountain Club, 4711 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury Center, Vermont 05677; (802) 244-7037; or email gmc@greenmountainclub.org.

4711 Waterbury-Stowe Rd, Waterbury Ctr, VT 05677
Tel: 802.244.7037 • Fax: 802.244.5867 • Email: gmc@greenmountainclub.org
Copyright © 2016 Green Mountain Club. All Rights Reserved.