In Summer 2022, work commenced on the three-year long Burrows Trail rehabilitation project. Starting in Huntington, Vermont, the trail runs 2.1 miles up the fall line of the mountain before intersecting the Long Trail to reach the summit of Camel’s Hump. Burrows Trail was built more than 100 years ago, and has not seen such extensive maintenance before. It has been heavily eroded by water running down the trail, turning it into a gulley in some areas. Much of the trail has also become excessively widened, due to heavy hiker and dog traffic.
There are more than 300 sites along the Burrows Trail that crews will be upgrading over the next three seasons. This includes constructing stone staircases, check steps, and waterbars, which help to mitigate erosion and make the climb easier for hikers. Follow along for updates throughout the summer!
See these news stories for more information about the Burrows Trail project:
- Press Release: Green Mountain Club and FPR to Invest $460,000 to Rebuild the Popular Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hump
- Green Mountain Club plans complete overhaul of popular Camel’s Hump hiking trail, VTDigger, May 3, 2022
- Green Mountain Club plans revitalization of Camel’s Hump Trail, NBC5, May 4, 2022
- Burrows Trail on Camel’s Hump to be renovated, My Champlain Valley, May 4, 2022
- Camel’s Hump’s Burrows Trail to see major upgrades, WCAX 3, May 5, 2022
The Burrows Trail Project is a large-scale example of the important work done thanks to partnerships across public land in Vermont. Every year the Green Mountain Club, Vermont Forests Parks and Recreation, and many other groups work together on projects across the state to ensure continued public recreation access. During the week of July 11, all hands were on deck on Burrows as the Vermont State Trail Crew joined GMC’s Long Trail Patrol crew for the week, rebuilding water bars and installing check steps to slow water erosion at the top of the trail.
[Week of June 13] The above photos show a section of the Burrows Trail before and after a stone staircase was constructed. Before, the trail was heavily eroded, steep, and difficult for hikers to pass. Crews used rock bars and a highline to move these rocks to the location on the trail. Now, the trail is less susceptible to erosion and easier for hikers!
GMC Long Trail Patrol Crews use highlines to safely and easily move rocks weighing hundreds of pounds across long distances. First, they rig up a long rope (highline) between two trees. After harvesting the perfect-sized rock, they harness it up and hook it onto the highline. A griphoist is used to create tension on the highline, lifting the rock into the air. The rock can now travel down the highline! It can then be put into place to build a staircase or a check step, which will make the climb easier for hikers and mitigate erosion.
[Week of June 20] GMC Long Trail Patrol crew installed the first of many sets of check steps near the Hut Clearing on Burrows Trail! In areas where the trail has been heavily eroded and is essentially in a gulley, check steps help to restore the level of the trail and mitigate erosion. First, the crew harvests a wide, flat rock to use as a check step. Then they dig a shallow hole in the ground, creating a stable place for the rock to sit. They take precision to set into the ground just right; the crew must find solid points of contact to ensure the step is in place for decades to come. Crushed rocks are placed around the check step to fill in gaps, even out the surface, and prevent erosion, and mineral soil is spread around the step to allow water to run off the trail. These check steps make the trail more friendly to hikers and less susceptible to erosion!
[Week of June 28] GMC Long Trail Patrol crew repaired a waterbar on Burrows Trail! A waterbar is a commonly used feature that is designed to divert water off the trail. The previous waterbar was faulty, as it was full of sediment and the rocks were no longer creating a dam. First, crews dig out the sediment, creating a place for new rocks to be positioned. Then, they carefully put the rocks in place, making sure they’re contacting each other and creating an effective drainage structure. Crushed rocks are placed around the waterbar to fill in gaps and help mitigate erosion. Lastly, check steps are placed in front of the waterbar, allowing hikers to easily pass over it!
GMC caretakers – who live along the trail for the hiking season to answer hiker questions, educate around alpine zones, and assist with light infrastructure upkeep – moseyed down from Mt. Mansfield and Camel’s Hump to join the Long Trail Patrol (LTP) crew on Burrows Trail for a day! The LTP do sophisticated trail projects along the whole of the Long Trail. Caretakers assisted the crew with clearing water drainage and brushing in, a technique in which dead trees and sticks are placed alongside the trail to discourage hikers from going off trail.