Vermont isn’t called the “Green Mountain State” for nothing. Despite it's small size, there are hundreds of excellent hiking spots with something to appeal to all levels of athlete. As the second to least populous state in the nation (behind only Wyoming), you’re guaranteed to get some peace and quiet on the trail.
Whether you decide to conquer a portion of the Appalachian Trail or explore rustic northern Vermont, here are six of the best mountain trails the state has to offer.
This is the big one — literally! At 4,393 feet, Mt. Mansfield is the highest point in Vermont. This hike is extremely popular with both travelers and locals alike, as it is not extremely difficult yet highly rewarding. Accessible year-round, it's the best place to take in the rainbow of colors that is the Vermont landscape, but is especially verdant in the fall. During winter, the mountain turns into a snowy wonderland, offering the opportunity to hike up and ski back down to the Stowe resort.
While not as visually appealing as Mansfield, Devil’s Gulch has much to offer in the way of diversity. A minimally travelled, 4.6 mile section of Long Trail, the entire 272 mile route spans the width of Vermont and is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S. Leading up to the lush ravine of the Gulch, you'll pass ponds, a deep gorge, mountains, and maybe a stray moose or two. Wth walls 175 feet tall, follow the trail for a beautiful view of Mt. Belvidere.
Arguably the most iconic mountain in the state, Camel’s Hump stands 4,083 feet and offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside. The highest undeveloped peak, the mountain is emblazoned on both the state flag and the state quarter, and pretty much every Vermonter you meet will have climbed it at some point. The bare cone of the summit allows for miles of views on a clear day, so be sure to take your camera and pack a picnic.
While not as majestic as Mansfield or as open as Camel’s Hump, Mt. Stratton has played an incredible role in the history of hiking. It was here that two mountaineers at two separate points in history were inspired to create two of the oldest and most distinctive hiking trails in U.S. history: the Long Trail that runs from Massachusetts to Canada and the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. At the summit, appropriately, the two paths converge before heading their respective ways. Climb up the fire tower to get a view, and maybe you’ll be inspired to blaze your own trail.
Mt. Worcester via Skyline Trail
The hardest hike on this list, the Skyline Trail is a full day route totaling 11.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 6,000 feet. More for advanced hikers, due to the shrubbery, it can be easy to get turned around. Follow the ridge line up to the summit and don’t be surprised if you’re the only person you encounter all day. There are plenty of other companions, though: just look for footprints, scratch marks, and scat trails from all the moose that seem to use this trail as a highway. If you’re lucky, you may just spot one — hopefully at a distance!
Mount Hunger Waterbury Trail
Another harder route, Mt. Hunger Waterbury Trail is difficult, but worth the climb. In just 3.5 miles, you’ll gain 2,165 feet of elevation with the last part requiring mostly scrambling. Once you reach the top, expansive, 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains and valleys await. Many hikers recommend this route in early winter when the snow is peacefully setting on the Vermont landscape.