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Earning the View: Vermont’s Iconic Hiking Trails And Peaks

Jay-Peak-summit Hiking the mountain will give you a whole new perspective on getting to the top of Jay Peak. (Jay Peak)

It’s just as fun to go up the mountain as it is to go down thanks to Vermont resort’s well maintained and sprawling trail networks. Thousands of acres of wilderness offer both challenging and meandering trails with beautiful views and the ability to choose between half-day hikes complete with summit dining, to overnight hikes and the opportunity to connect with Vermont’s iconic Long Trail system and the longest hiking foot path in the world, the Appalachian Trail.

View from atop the fire tower, looking toward the Stratton Summit. (Hubert Schriebl)

There’s a good chance of meeting Long Trail and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers at the Stratton firetower, which can be accessed via a gentle .75 mile path from the summit, featuring a unique opportunity to climb 61 winding steps, rising 65 feet in the air, for a view clear across four states. A variety of hiking trails from base to summit, which can also be accessed via the gondola.

Not only is Mt. Mansfield’s summit the highest in Vermont, it also supports the largest of only two alpine ecosystems in Vermont. (Stowe)

Reach Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield Summit Station via the 150-year old Mt. Mansfield Auto Toll Road. From there, the Cliff Trail, Long Trail and Canyon Trail get you to Mansfield’s “Chin,” the highest point in the state of Vermont. Southerly trail options include the Lakeview Trail, Forehead Bypass, and Long Trail to the Forehead.

The rewards after summiting Killington via any one of their 15 miles of hiking trails are unencumbered 360-degree views of Vermont’s Green Mountains, New York’s Adirondacks, New Hampshire’s White Mountains and access to the Peak Lodge, where you can grab fresh food and cool drinks.

Bolton Valley is home to 100km of cross country and backcountry trails and in the summer, these same trails provide paths for outdoor adventure in over 1100 acres of wilderness. Some trails lead to the ridge-line where hikers can connect with Vermont’s iconic Long Trail.

Enjoy a nearly six-mile scenic hike on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail leading to the summit of Bromley. The summit is fully equipped with a shelter, basic privy, and amazing 360° views of the region. It’s a perfect four-hour day hike that is accessible year-round and allows for visitors to bring their K-9 best friends.

Visitors to Sugarbush can try one of the many diverse hikes, explore scenic country roads and covered bridges that scatter the Valley, or meander along the nature paths of the Mad River. Find trails from base area to the summits or the Gap-to-Gap Hike from Lincoln Gap across the Monroe Skyline to the Appalachian Gap.

Step outside the Woodstock Inn and Resort and choose from more than 60 miles of interconnected trails and pathways that wind through the Woodstock Village, nearby meadows and woodlands, scenic vistas and rural countryside. Pedestrian pathways skirt local landmarks, while off-road trails yield to magnificent vistas from the summits of Mount Peg and Mount Tom.

On a clear day you might just see the glint of Montreal off in the distance once you’ve hiked to the summit of Jay Peak. If you don’t want to strain your eyes, take in the deep blue of Lake Memphremagog and Lake Champlain. And don’t bother straining your knees hiking down. Grab a beer at the Sky Haus Café before jumping a ride on the tram back to the base area.

The pups enjoy the hike too at Mad River Glen. (Mad River Glen)

With a network of trails for hikers of all ages and ability, Mad River Glen’s main attraction is the Stark Mountain Trail which runs two and a half miles long and has 2,036’ of vertical gain. The trail meanders up the ski trails under the Single Chair, past a large waterfall, with views along the way.

Hikers have a variety of ways to enjoy Okemo Mountain, one of Vermont’s largest State Parks. Departing from the western side, at the site of a former train station, the Healdville trail is a moderately challenging hike ascending 2,200 feet over three miles to the summit and Okemo’s historic fire tower with 360-degree views that are well-worth the climb up the steel staircase.

Hiking at Smugglers' Notch. (Smugglers' Notch)

Smugglers’ Notch hosts guided outings designed for families with young children at a gentle pace and learning opportunities. A variety of other guided outings entice new hikers and experienced hikers with the opportunities to learn more about the history of the surrounding area and the local flora and fauna, and to summit some of the area’s most challenging peaks.

Go backpacking through Trapp Family Lodge’s 35 miles of trails on your own or take a guided nature walk and learn about native plants, wildlife, and the evolving landscape of Vermont. Take a peaceful hike to the Chapel, or a more challenging route takes guests to the Slayton Pasture Cabin, a favorite resting spot for cross-country skiers in the winter.

Whether hiking Mount Snow, on Dover’s network of trails, or in one of Southern Vermont’s six State Parks, it’s safe to say that there’s always a hiking trail near you. Take part in one of Mount Snow’s guided treks and naturalist tours.

The Magic Mountain Outing Club has built a great network of trails up and around Magic affording great views of southern Vermont and challenging climbs.

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