This week’s recommended hikes:
This week we’re featuring three hikes at Wheeler Pond in the Northeast Kingdom. Our accessible recommendation this week is nearby at Sentinel Rock State Park.
- Wheeler Pond Trail – EASY
- Wheeler Mountain Trail – MODERATE
- Mount Hor – DIFFICULT
- Sentinel Rock – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
From Wheeler Pond parking lot in Barton:
Wheeler Pond Trail – EASY
» 0.8 mi round trip, approx. 0 ft elevation gain
Follow the nearly flat trail through the woods as it gradually winds its way around Wheeler Pond to the shore on the south end. Views of Wheeler Mountain and its beautiful cliffs can be seen from the pond.
For a slightly longer hike, follow the 0.3-mile Gnome Stair Trail to a stair-like waterfall.
Back at the junction with the Wheeler Pond Trail, hikers can follow the little traveled Wheeler Pond Road to make a loop back to the parking lot or retrace your steps on the Wheeler Pond Trail.
Wheeler Mountain Trail – MODERATE
» 4.4 mi round trip, approx. 700 ft elevation gain
Starting from the new trailhead that is found 0.2 miles past the trailhead for Moose Mountain and Wheeler Pond Trail, the Wheeler Pond Trail gradually climbs through the woods following the contours of the ridgeline. This leads you to an easy hike over open ledges with expansive views. From here, the trail enters the woods following open bedrock to the top of the Wheeler Mountain cliffs that provide views of Jay Peak and Mansfield. The trail then continues through the woods past the summit to Eagle Cliff which provides views Lake Willoughby and Mt. Pisgah.
Moose Mountain and Mount Hor Link Up via Moose Mtn Trail>Brookside Trail>Mount Hor Trail>Hawkes Trail – DIFFICULT
» 8.4+ mi round trip, approx. 1,650 ft elevation gain
This route links multiple moderate trails that lead to the summit of Mount Hor. Due to the length and navigation between trails, it is rated as difficult. Starting on the Moose Mountain Trail, gradually climb to a short spur trail that leads to the Moose Ledge Overlook that allows for views of Wheeler Pond. Continue to follow the trail up over the wooded Moose Mountain summit. The trail has a short descent before an easy traverse of the ridge to a junction with the Willoughby Lookout Spur.
From this junction, you can add a little extra adventure by following the Lookout Spur 0.3 miles to views of Mt. Hor, Bald Mountain, and Lake Willoughby, or continue onto Mt Hor by staying on the Moose Mountain Trail for another 0.4 to the junction with Brookside Trail. Follow the Brookside Trail on a gradual ascent to the Mount Hor Trail. Turn right onto the Mount Hor Trail, following it through the woods to the Hawkes Trail.
Once at the Hawkes Trail, hikers can follow the trail left 0.4 mi to the North Lookout, which provides impressive views of Lake Willoughby, or follow the trail right to the summit spur for Mount Hor. Follow the summit spur over the wooded summit to a look out.
If car spotting, descend on the Hawkes Trail all the way down to the parking lot on the CCC road. Otherwise, take care to retrace your steps back to the Moose Mountain Trailhead.
Driving Directions to Wheeler Pond Parking Lot:
From Lyndon: Head north on US-5 N. Stay left on US-5 N when 5A splits off in West Burke. 8.3 mi after that split, turn right on Wheeler Mountain Road. After .9 mi, you will see a dirt pull off on your right with a wooden GMC sign. Please do not block the gate when parking. If full, please park in the dirt pull-off on the west/left side of the road just before the main lot.
From Barton: Head out of town on US-5 S. 2 mi after passing Crystal Lake, turn left on Wheeler Mountain Road. See parking instructions above.
At Sentinel Rock State Park:
Sentinel Rock Trail – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
» 1.8 mi round trip, approx. 26 ft elevation gain
This easy and accessible trail leads to a grassy knoll that provides sweeping views of the Northeast Kingdom. Along the way, the trail passes by Sentinel Rock, a large glacial erratic that dates to 13,000 years ago.
For more information, see the State Park website at: https://fpr.vermont.gov/sentinel-rock-state-park.
Driving Directions to Sentinel Rock State Park:
From Lyndon: Head north on US-5 N. Bear right on US-5A when it splits off in West Burke. After passing most of Lake Willoughby, turn right on Hinton Hill Rd/T-38 at the Westmore Community Church. Head up the hill and dirt parking lot will be on your left in a large field.
From Newport: Head south on I-91S and take exit 26. Turn left US-5 S/VT-58 E and stay on VT-58 E when they split. When 58 ends, turn right on US-5A S. Turn left on Hinton Hill Rd/T-38 at the Westmore Community Church. Head up the hill and dirt parking lot will be on your left in a large field.
Where to eat and drink nearby:
- Mike‘s Tiki Bar in Burke for outdoor beer garden and bar. Food truck often parks next to it.
- The Pizza Man in Lyndonville for pizza and sandwiches
- Parker Pie in West Glover for pizza, wings, and post-hike beers
Previously recommended hikes:
- Griffith Lake – EASY
- Baker Peak via Griffith Lake Trail – MODERATE
- Baker Peak via Lake – DIFFICULT (Bonus hike: Baker Peak > Griffith Lake Loop!)
- Hildene estate boardwalk – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
- Beane Trail to Birch Glen Shelter– EASY
- Molly Stark’s Balcony – MODERATE
- Theron Dean Shelter – DIFFICULT
- Raven’s Ridge Natural Area – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
- Barnes Camp to Smugglers’ Notch Picnic Area – EASY
- Haselton Trail – MODERATE
- Mount Mansfield via Long Trail South > Haselton Trail Loop – DIFFICULT
- Smugglers’ Notch Boardwalk– EASY, ACCESSIBLE
- Branch Pond – EASY (Bonus hike: Bourn Pond!)
- Stratton Pond Trail – MODERATE
- Stratton Mountain – DIFFICULT
- West River Trail at Jamaica State Park – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
- Deer Leap Trail – EASY (Bonus hike: Deer Leap Loop!)
- Pico Peak – MODERATE
- Killington Summit via Sherburne Pass Trail – DIFFICULT
- Thundering Falls Boardwalk – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
- Gleason Brook Bridge on the Long Trail – EASY
- Duxbury Window on the Long Trail – MODERATE
- Bamforth Ridge Shelter on the Long Trail – DIFFICULT
- Winooski River Footbridge – EASY, ACCESSIBLE