Hiking Central Vermont
Compiled By Frank Partsch of Warren VT
The Mad River Valley segment of Central Vermont is bordered on two sides by mountains which makes for some very good day hikes. The region is also adjacent to the Long Trail, making the Sugarbush / Mad River Valley a perfect place to resupply and rest if you are doing the Long Trail.
Dolomite Trekking Center at Sugarbush Sugarbush Ski Area, home of classic Vermont terrain, and Dolomite, crafter of classic high mountain footwear, have teamed up with the US Forest Service and the Green Mountain Club to offer a variety of trekking opportunities.
Choose varying degrees of challenge, from guided ecological treks to more difficult adventures to the 3,975 ft summit of Lincoln Peak and on to the Long Trail. A Dolomite rental shop is on site.
Click Here for a map of the area.
Here are just a few day hikes, there are many more:
Mt. Abraham – Elevation: 4006 Feet
3-4 hours roundtrip, elevation gain 1,600′, 5.2 miles. This popular hike is usually done from Lincoln Gap. Off Rt 100 in Warren trail head is on Lincoln Gap Rd. Park at the top of Lincoln Gap and follow the Long Trail north for 2 1/2 miles passing the Battell Shelter after 1.8 miles. The rocky summit is above timberline offering panoramic views. This is a well travelled trail and a good hike for kids. Descend by the same route. Lincoln Peak is 0.8 miles farther north on the Long Trail and the descent from here by the ski trails(Sugarbush South Basin) is sometimes done.
Sunset Rock – Elevation: 2424 Feet
One hour roundtrip, elevation gain 500′, distance 1.5 miles. A favorite easy hike to a dramatic spot. Great views to the west towards Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Off Rt 100 in Warren trail head is on Lincoln Gap Rd, Park at the top of Lincoln Gap and follow the Long Trail south. Trail climbs steeply at first then gently up and down before opening abruptly onto Sunset Ledge.
Mt Ellen – Sugarbush Loop – Elevation: 4083 Feet
4-6 hours Roundtrip, elevation gain 2,500′, 5.5 miles. From the parking lot at Sugarbush North, follow the service road to the top of Mt. Ellen 4083′, this is the left side of the ski area. From here follow the Long Trail south 1.6 miles to the Castlerock chair lift at South Basin. Walk down the ski runs to the South Basin parking area. Mt. Ellen offers the highest lift served skiing in Vermont and is tied with Camels Hump for the third highest mountain in Vermont. Only Mt Mansfield (4393′) and Killington (4241′) are higher.
Appalachian Gap to Lincoln Gap
5-8 hours one way, one way distance 11.6 miles. Either take the Long Trail south from App Gap or the Long Trail north from Lincoln Gap. From the north, Mt. Ellen (4083′) is reached after 5.3 miles and Lincoln Peak after 8.2 miles. An arduous, but very rewarding hike offering beautiful views from the high, rugged and at times very narrow ridge of the Green Mountains. This is a classic hike – although many know about it few have done it. Take precautions with regards to the weather and make sure you are up to it physically. It is a high and exposed ridge, and although there are escape routes down the ski runs, you will want to be well prepared in case you are overtaken by stormy weather.
General Stark Mountain – Elevation: 3662 Feet
4-5 hours roundtrip, elevation gain 1,285′, 6.2 miles.Off Rt 100 take Rt 17 to the Appalachian Gap. Take the Long Trail South for 3.1 miles to the summit, passing the top of the Mad River Glen Ski area. There are three overnight shelters near there. (Theron Dean, Stark’s Nest, and Glen Ellen Lodge)
Camels Hump – Elevation: 4083 Feet
3-5 hours roundtrip. For many this distinctive peak offers the finest mountain hike in Vermont. From the top the view is like that from an airplane – the mountain is at your feet. Of the higher peaks it is the only one undeveloped: no ski lifts, no roads, no radio towers. The summit area is above timberline and supports artic-alpine tundra vegetation. Off Rt 100 in Duxbury turn onto River Rd and proceed 4.5 miles to a three way intersection. Turn left for 3.5 miles to the parking area. Summit is 3.4 miles by the well maintained Forestry Trail. Views of the White Mountains, Adironacks, and in Vermont from Mt Mansfield south to Mt Ascutney.The trail is open from spring to late fall. A popular variation is to take the Dean Trail (left off the Forestry Trail) to Wind Gap on the Long Trail and then the Long Trail north to the summit descending by way of the Forestry Trail. 4-6 hours roundtrip. Note trail intersections carefully to avoid confusion on the return!
There are many other day hikes in the area . For other reference call the Green Mountain Club, at 1-802- 244-7037 or consult the guide book of the Long Trail and the Day Hikers Guide to Vermont published by the Green Mountain Club or 50 Hikes in Vermont published by Countrymans Press. If you have another favorite hike in the North Central Vermont Area let us know and we will add it to the list.