Let’s HikeVT! This week we’re officially kicking off summer hiking season 2021 by recommending some of GMC staff’s favorite “first hikes” of the season. Whether these trails dry out sooner, or are the perfect moderate introduction back into hiking, they’ll help you start your summer hikes with a boom. Find summer trail recommendations here, and check HikeVT for new suggestions and inspirations.
- Sterling Pond, in Stowe
- Mt. Ellen via the Jerusalem Trail, in Starksboro
- Mt. Abraham from Lincoln Gap, in Warren
- Duxbury Window Trail, in Bolton
- White Rock Mountain via the Middlesex Trail, in Middlesex
Sterling Pond Trail, in Stowe — Moderate
» 2.4 mi round trip, approx. 930 ft elevation gain
Group Outreach Coordinator John Plummer’s favorite first hike of the season is the Sterling Pond Trail at sunset. This trek to Vermont’s highest-elevation pond isn’t too long making it the perfect spot to get a few after-work casts in during trout season. The trail starts on a rock staircase on the east side of Route 108, continuing with a steady ascent until you reach the Long Trail. Turn left to reach the pond in just .1 miles. If you’re looking for a loop hike, turn right on the LT to hit the Elephant Head Trail, which loops around Sterling Pond.
Driving Directions from Stowe: From Route 100 in Stowe, take 108 N for 9.7 miles until you reach the Smuggler’s Cave parking area on your left.
Mt. Ellen via the Jerusalem Trail, in Starksboro — Moderate to Difficult
» 8.4 mi round trip, approx. 2480 ft elevation gain
The GMC’s Development Coordinator Erica Harris’ favorite first hike is Mount Ellen via the Jerusalem Trail. It is a nice gradual approach, so you can take your time to appreciate all the various forest types along the way. At 2.4 miles, turn right onto the Long Trail, which you follow for 1.8 miles to the summit of Mount Ellen. Though it is on the longer side at 8.4 miles round trip, you are awarded with wonderful views from the ski trails near the summit!
Driving Directions: From the intersection of the east branch of Jerusalem Road and VT-17 (this intersection is located 6 miles west of the Long Trail at Appalachian Gap and 3.5 miles east of VT-116), head south on Jerusalem Road for 1.2 miles. Turn left onto Jim Dwire Road, and go 0.5 miles to the trailhead on the right. Roadside parking space is limited; please park considerately.
Mt. Abraham from Lincoln Gap, in Warren — Difficult
» 5.2 mi round trip, approx. 1600’ ft elevation gain
GMC Executive Director, Mike DeBonis, enjoys early season evening hikes up Mount Abraham to watch the sunset and then hike down by headlamp. Following the Long Trail North from Lincoln Gap, you gradually climb past Battell Shelter, where the trail starts to steepen up with some fun rock slab scrambles. From the summit, there is an amazing 360 view, alpine tundra, and you can even find a plane crash site just off the summit.
Driving Directions: From Route 100 in Warren, follow Lincoln Gap Road 4.7 miles the parking area.
Duxbury Window, in Bolton — Easy
» 3.2 mi round trip, approx. 850 ft elevation gain
Director Of Development and Communications, Alicia DiCocco, uses the hike to Duxbury Window as an early season training trail for longer hikes. With the “window” a quick 1.6 miles south on the Long Trail, it is a nice after work hike. You will find a magical fern meadow along the way plus a bench at the viewpoint to rest and eat trails snacks before heading back down the trail.
Driving Directions:From I-89, take exit 10 in Waterbury. Follow Route 100 South to the roundabout where you take the third exit onto Main St/Route 2 South. Turn right onto Winooski St then a right onto River Rd. Continue for about 9.6 miles until you reach the trailhead for Camel’s Hump State Forest on your left.
White Rocks Mountain via the Middlesex Trail, Middlesex — Moderate to Difficult
» 5.2 mi round trip, approx. 1610 ft elevation gain
Visitor Center Manager Amy Potter’s favorite early season hike brings you off the Long Trail and into the Worcester Range. The Middlesex Trail isn’t as widely used as the Waterbury side of the mountain, and most people continue on to summit Hunger Mountain, whereas Amy prefers to take the Bob Kemp Trail from the Middlesex trail to head over to the summit of White Rock. Though not as tall as Hunger, you will still find lots of open rock, fun rock scrambles, and amazing views of the Green Mountains.
Driving Directions: From Montpelier, head north on VT-12/Elm Street/Worcester Branch Road and continue for 4.9 miles. Turn left onto Shady Rill Road and continue for 2.2 miles. Turn right onto Story Road and continue for 0.7 miles. Turn left onto North Bear Swamp Road and continue for 1.9 miles to the parking area on the right.
Questions? Our visitor center staff is here to assist you. Call (802) 244-7037 or email [email protected].