Wheeler Mountain Trail
Amy Potter, Visitor Center Manager
Although foliage season is one of my favorite times to get out hiking, it can be hard to find scenic areas that aren’t crowded with all the other leaf peepers. Luckily, I have discovered the hidden gem that is the Northeast Kingdom. It is filled with moderately difficult hiking trails that lead to endless beautiful views.
Conveniently located near the GMC Wheeler Pond Cabins, Wheeler Mountain is one of my favorite spots to explore. The easy 2.3-mile trail gradually leads to the top of Eagle cliff where the trail snakes along the edge providing views all the way to the summit. At only 2371’, Wheeler Mountain is the perfect height to feel fully immersed in the vibrant fall colors.
Jerusalem Trail to the Long Trail Ridge
Jocelyn Hebert, Long Trail News Editor
When I plan a hike that doesn’t take me to a summit with panoramic views, I make sure there is something else of interest along the way. This isn’t too difficult since the Vermont woods have so much to offer—especially now when bursts of yellow, orange, and red color our otherwise green landscape.
This past weekend I hiked Jerusalem Trail with a friend. It was a gentle hike along a woods road through a colorful sugar bush before beginning to gradually climb. Closer to the ridge, the forest floor and trees are blanketed with bright moss. When you reach the ridge, take a left and head north a short distance to Orvis Lookout with westerly views of Lake Champlain. Another .3 mile down the rocky, mossy Barton Trail will bring you to Glen Ellen Lodge, built in 1933 and restored in 2012. If you’re like me, you’ll sit down, have a mocha java, take in the fall air, and thank the Universe and GMC.
VT Route 103 to Airport Lookout, through Clarendon Gorge
Ilana Copel, Field Supervisor
One of the prettiest Vermont autumn images is of yellow leaves over rushing rapids. It’s no surprise then that crossing Clarendon Gorge on a pedestrian suspension bridge (built in 1974 and restored in 2008) in October is worth the trip. Walk south over the gorge and continue uphill .7 mile to Airport Lookout, which offers beautiful views to the west of a valley full of fall colors on this fairly easy hike.
For a longer hike, drop a car at Route 103 and start your day farther south at Route 140 for a 6.3 mile northbound hike past Minerva Hinchey shelter and Airport Lookout, ending with the gorge.