Walking or hiking Vermont trails and mountains makes a great vacation

Walking and Hiking in Vermont (VT)

Many wonderful walks and hikes for all ability levels are found in Vermont’s Green Mountains, Lake Champlain and its islands, and throughout the state’s towns and valleys. Read through the Resources and Preparing to Walk sections, then browse the listings below for the right walk for you, your family, and children. Listings include difficult, moderate, and easy walks as well as in-town strolls.


The Long Trail and the Green Mountain Club

The 272-mile Long Trail was the first long distance hiking trail in America. It was built in 1910 by the Green Mountain Club, which still maintains the Trail. The Long Trail has many sections appropriate for beginner, average, and expert hikers, families, kids, and older folks. Trails are rated as easy, moderate, and difficult, and by length and other factors.

The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to Canada and crosses peaks of Stratton Mountain, Mount Mansfield, Jay Peak, and Camels Hump. It has a side trail into the state’s Northeast Kingdom. It coincides with the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles in the southern third of the state.

The Green Mountain Club operates a visitor center on Route 100 in Waterbury Center. It publishes trail guides and other useful information on the Internet and in print. The Long Trail Guide is the official guide to the Long Trail and its side trails. The guide and Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont, which includes trails outside the Long Trail System, cover most of the hiking trails in Vermont.

The visitor center in Waterbury Center provides guests with hiker information, merchandise, access to the Short Trail through the woods, a picnic area, toilets, and spectacular views.

The Long Trail is 272 miles long with 175 miles of side trails and 70 primitive shelters. It includes easy, moderate, and difficult trails, and walks for kids. The Green Mountain Club asks walkers to use Leave-No-Trace etiquette, meaning carry in and carry out all belongings.

Phone: 802-244-7037

Cross Vermont Trail

The Cross Vermont Trail will be a 90-mile path connecting towns across Vermont from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River. Thirty miles of the trail are built and open to the public. It is expected to be a a multi-use (walkers, bicycles, cross-country skis), four-season path across following the Winooski River and Wells River valleys.

Maps and guides to the trail are posted online. Maps are detailed and excellent. Existing parts of the trail go near Wells River, Newbury, Ryegate, Groton, Marshfield, Plainfield, East Montpelier, Montpelier, Middlesex, Berlin, Moretown, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Richmond, Williston, and Burlington.

Phone: 802-498-0079

Preparing to Walk:

Getting Ready

  • Always take a map and a compass.
  • Mountain weather changes quickly! Check the weather forecast before you start. Be aware of changes in weather. If a storm is coming, get off the summit.
  • Weather at the peaks is colder, windier, and wetter. Dress with a layer close to your body for wicking sweat away from your skin, then a layer like fleece for warmth, and a layer like a nylon shell or Gore-Tex to block the wind.
  • Wear sturdy hiking boots and good socks. If your boots are new, start with short hikes.
  • Always take more liquid than you think you’ll need. Always take food like power bars, string cheese, bananas, raisins, nuts, M&Ms.
  • Your pack should also have a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a pocketknife, and a whistle.

On the Trail

  • Treat all water by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating.
  • Carry out all of your trash (including biodegradable items like orange peels).
  • Use the privy if the site has one. Otherwise, dispose of human and pet waste in a "cat hole" at least 75 paces away from the water sources.
  • Give wild animals plenty of room.
  • Build a fire only in an established fire pit.
  • If you’re staying overnight, use the lodges or the designated tenting sites.

P.O. Box 395 Killington, VT, 05751 Phone: 802-353-2954

Get your hike on! And don’t miss dinner!

So many hikes, so little time.Join us at New Life Hiking Spa in the Green Mountains for special programs and activities that focus on hiking, yoga, healthy eating and exercise. Great hiking for every level along nature walks, wooded trails and ancient ways to steeper more challenging terrain and distances. Our certified staff provides a friendly and supportive environment for a total mind-body tune up to get you back on track physically, de-stress mentally, become fitter and stronger. Our cozy, air conditioned rooms with private bath includes a mini fridge, coffee pot, cable television and computer ports. After a day on the trail, enjoy a massage, facial and other services in our Spa. We practice the "Leave no trace" outdoor etiquette.Taking a hike never felt so good.

65 Emerald Lake Lane East Dorset, VT, 05253 Phone: 802-362-1655

Best for camping, swimming, paddling, fishing, walking & hiking; motorized boats prohibited

Located on Emerald lake and near the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and trails on Dorset Mountain, this park is a favorite for hikers.
Trail guide.
See a full description of Emerald Lake State Park.

Visitor Center, 6054 Woodstock Road (Route 4) White River Junction, VT Phone: 802-295-6852

Four hiking loops of 1 to 2 miles with moderate rating; good for kids

This walk, doable by almost anyone, gives fabulous view of Quechee Gorge, sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East. Also near the walk and the gorge is Quechee Gorge Village with lots of shopping for adults and children. Great place to browse and pick up vacation mementoes.
The walk alongside Quechee Gorge is one to two miles and easy, except for a mild elevation gain. The walk gives you a view of the Gorge and then takes you along the gorge, past waterfalls and Dewey's Mill Pond. Start at the visitor center and follow the spur trail behind the building to the main trail. Turn right, walking upstream. At the Route 4 overpass, notice a good view of the gorge from the highway bridge. Continue upstream on the trail; you will see a dam, waterfalls, and a neck of land that runs between Ottauquechee River and Dewey's Mill Pond.
Season is mid-May to late October.

352 Mountain Road Underhill, VT, 05490 Phone: 802-899-3022

Trails are moderate to difficult, to the summit of Mount Mansfield; not for kids; entrance road does not accommodate RVs, trailers, large buses

Underhill State Park is at a high elevation (2,000 feet above sea level) on the slope of Mount Mansfield, the state’s tallest peak. From this park four hiking trails lead to the summit ridge of Mount Mansfield. The Sunset Ridge trail (3.2 miles to the summit) is the most popular.
Vermont’s Long Trail crosses the summit ridge and provides many hiking loops on both slopes of the mountain. The ridgeline is above tree line, and plants in this area are of the alpine tundra varieties. The ridge offers views as distant as Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
Hiking information and trail maps are available at the park headquarters. See general description of this park.

Park HQ and Nature Center, 44 Stillwater Road (off Route 232) Groton, VT Phone: 802-584-3822

Several easy hikes of 0.25 to 3 miles; good for kids

Groton State Forest also encompasses Kettle Pond, Big Deer, Ricker Pond, and New Discovery State Parks. The forest has many miles of marked trails and logging roads for multiple uses include hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Parking is at lots of the state parks. Trails below are only a sample of the trails within the state forest and parks.
Kettle Pond Trail and Kettle Pond Portage Trail. This moderate walk goes around a secluded lake. Trail leaves the parking lot off VT Route 232. The trail divides and goes to the water's edge. At the far end and south side of the pond, the trail is rocky and wet. Ends at Kettle Pond camping area. (3 miles)
Owls Head Trail. An easy walk to a scenic vista of Lake Groton, Kettle Pond, and the Green Mountains. Trail starts off the road from New Discovery to the Osmore Pond scenic area. Level to intermediate terrain. Bypassing a swampy area, trail descends and then climbs. (1.5 miles)
Montpelier Wells River Rail Trail. Good place for walking, bicycling or horseback riding. Gradual, 7-mile grade through the state forest. The Rail Trail can be reached at Rickers Pond campground, the Overlook parking area, Boulder Beach Road, the Northern parking area on VT Route 232 near New Discovery, and the Kettle Pond parking lot. (7 miles)

517 Old Guilford Road Guilford, VT, 05301 Phone: 802-254-2610

Easy 0.5 to 1-mile walks; great views; good for kids

By their very nature, old forts provide great vistas. Fort Dummer has three nice, easy trails. Also, this park is just south of Brattleboro, a fun place for visit, shop, stroll, and dine for adults and children.
Sunrise Trail is a 1-mile loop trail across level and slightly sloping ground. Views about halfway along the trail, which is wooded the whole way. Sunset Trail is a 0.5 mile loop trail on the western side of the park, starting near the entrance and passing through the play field. The remains of the Boyden Farm, dating form the 1880s, can be seen along this trail. Farm relics include stone walls, a small shed and farmhouse. Broad Brook Trail. This 0.5 mile trail descends from the campground to a popular swimming hole on Broad Brook. The trail is steep in sections, and therefore is a much more strenuous hike than the other trails.

Parking and trail head at Maple and Golf streets Woodstock, VT Phone:

This sweet trail starts just outside the beautiful town of Woodstock. The trailhead is steep at first as it moves through the woods, but it evens out to a gentle grade. Views at the summit include Ottauquechee River Valley, Mount Tom, Billings Farm and Museum, Pomfret Hills, and Killington Mountain. Round trip is about 2.5 miles.
Directions: Leaving the center of Woodstock, walk or drive down Court Street between Courthouse and Woodstock Inn. At the end of Court Street turn left and then make a right on to Golf Avenue. Continue on Golf Avenue to Maple Street. At Maple and Golf Streets see parking on left. Trailhead is to the left off the driveway.

34 Gifford Woods Road Killington, VT, 05751 Phone: 888-409-7579

Good for hiking; access to Appalachian Trail; pets permitted, but not in cabins

Two major hiking trails meet at Gifford Woods State Park: the Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine, and the Long Trail, which runs the length of Vermont. Green Mountain National Forest and Coolidge State Forest, both nearby, also offer loop hikes. The state parks department recommends wonderful views from the Deer Leap Mountain trail and beautiful waterfalls on Thundering Brook Trail. Camping reservations may be made in advance through the central reservations call center (see numbeer above).
See full description of Gifford Woods Park.
More about the Appalachian Trail in Vermont

Weston Village

The central Vermont village of Weston is a picture of small-town Vermont simplicity and loveliness. The center of the village is the Green, also called Farrar Park, on Route 100, where a gazebo is brightly lit at Christmas. Walking southward on Route 100, you may pass the Weston Village Store, the Village Green Gallery, the Vermont Country Store, and the Farrar-Mansur house museum (built in 1797). Walking northward, you will see the Weston Playhouse and Maple Grove Cemetery.

856 VT Route 12 Lake Elmore, VT, 05657 Phone: 802-888-2982

Mix of easy and moderate walks 0.5 to 1.25 miles; some good for kids

There is a variety of trails to explore, from easy to moderate to difficult. Mountain Brook Nature Trail is approximately 0.5 mile in length (about 30 minutes for a leisurely stroll). Printed brochure describes plant and wild life. Beaver Trail is 0.50 mile and easy. Passes through woodlands and wetlands.
Two trails in the park are rated moderate to difficult, and not for children. Elmore Mountain Trail (also called Fire Tower Trail) is 1.25 miles, ending at a fire tower with spectacular views of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire to Jay Peak and Mount Mansfield in Vermont. The Balancing Rock Trail is 0.5 miles through woodlands and along ledges, leading to a cool boulder balancing on its tip.
Mountain Brook Nature Trail guide.

5425 Mount Philo Road Charlotte, VT, 05445 Phone: 802-425-2390

Park at mountain top has magnificent views; camping; hiking trails; pets allowed

This park atop Mount Philo has magnificent views. There are hiking trails from the mountain base to the summit. The main trail enters the woods off the park road and proceeds uphill to House Rock. One-half mile up the main trail, an offshoot trail goes to the right to Devil’s Chair, a huge boulder. The summit ledges and picnic area are a short, steep climb. Use blue blazes.
See a full description of Mount Philo State Park.

Waterbury Center State Park, 177 Reservoir Road Waterbury Center, VT, 05677 Phone: 802-244-1226

Nature walk of .05 mile; easy; good for kids

This is a sweet walk on a peninsula into the Waterbury Reservoir. An online trail guide indicates and describes natural features. See link.

3570 Lake Dunmore Road Brandon, VT, 05733 Phone: 802-247-5925

Mix of easy and difficult trails including a waterfall; two trails offer hiking for kids

Branbury State Park is next to the Green Mountain National Forest and the Moosalamoo Recreation Area. There are over 70 miles of trails in this region of mountains and lakes traversing the western slopes of the Green Mountains.
Popular trails are the Falls of Lana trail, which leads to a series of cascading falls; Rattlesnake Point, which has breeding peregrine falcons and panoramic views of Lake Dunmore; and Silver Lake, a hike to a small, scenic mountain lake.
Read more about hiking in the Green Mountain National Forest.
See general description of this park.

1826 Back Mountain Road Windsor, VT, 05089 Phone: 888-409-7579

Recommended for hiking & hang gliding; pets permitted

The park entrance is 550 feet above sea level and a paveed road travels to the summit at 2,800 feet. A foot path travels another 344 vertical feet expansive views. Four trails run from the base of Mount Ascutney to the summit. They are joined by a trail that follows the ridge. The Weathersfield Trail (three miles) passes Cascade Falls, the largest waterfall on the mountain. The Windsor Trail (three miles) passes a small waterfall. The Brownsville Trail (three miles) follows a logging road and old granite quarry. The Futures Trail (five miles) can be reached at two points along the park road. The four-mile paved Mount Ascutney Parkway reaches the summit. A side trail of seven-tenths of a mile leads to an observation tower at the summit. Camping reservations may be made up to eleven months ahead of your visit.
See a full description of Mount Ascutney State Park.

Bennington Town Walks

Bennington is a beautiful and classic Vermont town, where it is fun to stroll and simply look at the houses and parks and businesses. The Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce has created two self-guided walking tours that pass some local landmarks of distinction, as well as ordinary places where life bustles forward among old paths and foundations.
One of the tours passes the Bennington Monument, The Catamount Tavern, the Old Academy, the Village Lion, the Walloomsac Inn, the Old First Church, and the Bennington Museum. The other tour, through downtown, passes St. Francis De Sales Church, the Putnam House, Bennington County Courthouse, the Old Blacksmith's Shop, the Old Stone Mill, Bennington Potter's Yard, the Blue Benn Diner and the Henry Bradford Mill.

3270 Route 315 Rupert, VT, 05768 Phone: 802-394-7836

Many trails range from easy to difficult; something for every walker and hiker

Merck Forest and Farmland Center is an educational organization that teaches and demonstrates innovative management of forest and farmland. The public may visit the farm every day of the year from dawn to dusk. People may visit the farm, explore the forest, walk on 30 miles of trails or stay overnight in a rustic cabin or lean-to. There is no admission fee. Merck Forest Trails are open for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Mount Antone Trail to the tallest mountain on the property at 2,600 feet. It offers the most spectacular vista at Merck—well worth the 5-mile round trip hike which takes about 3-3½ hours round trip.
Gallop Peak Trail summit provides beautiful views of the Taconic Mountains and beyond, especially in the winter. The hike to the top will take about 2½-3 hours round trip, about 3 miles total.
Wildlife Trail offers interpretive signs discussing forestry management practices and their effects on area wildlife.
McCormick Trail splits off of Old Town road up to Clarks Clearing, eventually connecting with Antone Road. It is a narrow trail and it is quite steep in portions. There are spectacular old red oak trees and wonderful winter views to the northwest.
Discovery Trail is a short trail starting at the Visitor Center parking lot and looping downhill then up to the farm.
Burke Trailgoes through mature, open woodland on a north facing slope. It gets little use in the summer, but is a popular for cross country skiers. Hiking the Burke Trail takes from 20 to 30 minutes.

274 Raymond Road Colchester, VT, 05446 Phone: 802-893-5210

Five easy or moderate walks; 0.25 to 1.50 miles; some good for kids

This state park is perched on the shore of Malletts Bay. It is an easy drive along Routes 89 or 7 to Burlington and Shelburne, to the south, or along Route 2, out to the beautiful Lake Champlain Islands, for day trips. Both places have many great attractions for adults and kids.
The park’s trails offer three loops and a variety of hiking combinations ranging from 0.6 miles to 3.5 miles. Most are rated moderate difficulty; the Burns and Allen Trails are rated easy. Views of the lake, ridges, and distant mountains. Parking is next to the park office at the entrance to the property. Pets are welcome; proof of rabies vaccination is required. The Burns, Muhley, and Island View trails are designated off-leash areas.

The hill in the center of town on the banks of the Ottauquechee River can be reached by three trails:
The Faulkner Trail -- The walk is about 30 minutes for the average hiker and provides a magical view of Woodstock. Near the top the trail gets steep, narrow and a bit tricky for about 100 yards.
Directions: From the Town Green, walk over the Covered Middle Bridge to River Street. Go straight on to Mountain Avenue, which will bear left, as a dirt road. Enter Faulkner Park, just beyond the Faulkner Mansion. The paths up the mountain are easily accessible from this park and provide a series of switchbacks to the top.
River Street Cemetery Trail -- A less traveled trail with fewer markings. This trail will take you past the Swift Water Girl Scout cabin and up to the Link Trail. Or you may bear right to walk to the trails at the Marsh Billings Rockefeller Historic National Park.
Directions: From the Green walk over the Covered Middle Bridge to River Street. Go right onto River Street and walk until you see the River Street Cemetery on your left. Walk to the very end of the stone wall and turn left onto the trail through a stand of pines.
Prosper Road Trail Head -- This is an easy walk on wide carriage roads. There is parking. Maps are often available.
Directions: Drive from Woodstock heading north on Route 12 about 1.5 miles and watch for the small green sign "To West Woodstock". Turn left on Proper Road and head up this dirt road about 1.3 miles to a parking area in a stand of pine trees on your left. You can leave your car there during the day, but not overnight.

Brighton State Park, 102 State Park Road Island Pond, VT, 05846 Phone: 802-723-4360

Easy loops of 0.25 to 0.50 mile, with guide to natural sights; good for kids

Brighton State Park lies in the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, north of the interesting town of St. Johnsbury. This is the wildest and most isolated area in Vermont, rich in legends of Indians and loggers. It is the go-to place for serious outdoor sportsmen. A designated Northeast Kingdom Nature Trail online guide is a great accompaniment for nature lovers.
All trails have woodland views and are easy, from 0.25 to 0.50 mile. They are called the Red Pine, Main, Shore trails, and the Loggers Loop. Fun for nature watchers of all ages.

22 Cedar Mountain Road Castleton, VT, 05743 Phone: 802-265-4242

Selection of moderate and easy trails, 0.75 to 1.5 miles; good walk for kids

Bomoseen State Park is in the Taconic Mountains on the shores of Lake Bomoseen. These mountains are the slate-producing region of Vermont, and the park contains several quarry holes and colorful slate piles as reminders of this period. Several hiking trails go through woodlands and pass ponds and provide great hiking and wildlife-viewing opportunities. Not far from this park is the town of Rutland, with attractions for families, especially related to the quarrying industry.
Trails include the Bomoseen Hiking Loop of 1.5 miles and the Glen lake Trail of 4.5 miles, both of moderate difficulty; and the Slate History Trail and the Daniel Coffey Memorial Trail, both 0.75 miles and rated easy.

1621 Black Pond Road Fair Haven, VT, 05743 Phone: 802-273-2848

Family and kid-friendly camping park has lots of trails; good trail map

The park has a very large trail system that includes short walks to full-day hikes.
Trail map.
See a full description of Half Moon Pond State Park.

284 Allis State Park Road Brookfield, VT, 05060 Phone: 802-276-3175

Rustic camping, picnicking, hiking; free day use; pets allowed

This park in the middle of Vermont is known and used mainly by people who want to do basic, rustic camping. It is also good for walking and hiking, with trail loops that offer a tough workout. Views are magnificent -- from the summit on Bear Hill, hikers can get where sweeping views of the peaks of Killington, Pico, Mount Ascutney, Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Bear Hill, in fact, was once a fire lookout location.
An interested Nature Trail, accompanied by a detailed online guide, describes trees and other plants, wildlife, and some relics of a long-gone farm site. And there is a bear den.
Park Map
See full description of Allis State Park.

413 US Rte 7 South Bennington, VT Phone:

This Reserve, a former dairy farm just a mile from the center of Bennington, is about 100 acres of open meadow, wetland and woodland. From the parking lot, a main trail crosses a meadow and passes through a wetland before it links to a cluster of trails beyond Brook. Trolley Trail follows an abandoned trolley line, with views of the wetland and the surrounding hills. Woodland trails wind through the hillside to the Birch Overlook, an old kettle pond. Trail maps are available at the parking lot. You may also print a map or view it as a pdf.

44 Knight Point Road North Hero, VT, 05474 Phone: 802-372-8389

Easy walk; one mile; good for kids

This easy, one-mile trail skirts one point of Knight Point State Park, which is located at the southern end of North Hero Island, one of the Lake Champlain Islands. The trail passes through woodland and along the shore, offering views of the lake and lots of boat traffic.
The Lake Champlain Islands are the closest image of Heaven you are likely to find anywhere. Twisty roads through rural areas and small towns offer beautiful views of the lake and distant mountain tops on all sides.

6443 Mountain Road Stowe, VT, 05672 Phone: 802-253-4014

Moderate to difficult trails in high mountains; not for children

Smugglers' Notch is a narrow pass through the mountain with 1,000 foot cliffs. Today, it is the home of peregrine falcons and it is heavily used by hikers and ice climbers. The entrance road is passable by vehicles only in summer. A well-loved trail up the mountain is the Long Trail, which can be reached from the Notch. The Long Trail passes Elephant’s Head and Sterling Pond, a beautiful and serene mountain lake. The Hell Brook Trail is a shorter but much steeper route to the summit of Mount Mansfield.
See trail maps.
See general description of this park.

Off Garvin Hill Road Hartland, VT Phone:

Eshqua Bog contains pockets of bog plants and a two-acre fen from the post-glacial period 10,000 years ago. Plants found here include showy lady's slippers (in spring), larches, and buckbean. Eshqua Bog is a haven for many species of dragonflies. There is a loop trail and a 460-foot wheelchair-accessible boardwalk. The trail can be walked in 20 minutes. This 40-acre sanctuary is managed by the New England Wild Flower Society and the Nature Conservancy.
Directions: From I-89 take Exit 1 for Route 4 west toward Woodstock and Rutland. Drive 10.4 miles and watch for the place where Route 4 makes a sharp 90-degree bend to the right. At that bend, turn left on Hartland Hill Road. Drive 1.2 miles and bear right onto Garvin Hill Road. Drive another 1.2 miles and look for the Nature Conservancy parking area. The trail is on the right, just beyond the pull off.

Molly Stark State Park, 705 Vermont 9 Wilmington, VT, 05363 Phone: 802-464-5460

One easy and more moderate walk, 0.20 to 1.70 miles; easy walk is good for kids

This state park is located off historic Route 9, a very beautiful mountain road crossing the state from Brattleboro on the east to Wilmington on the western. Both towns are full of fun, dynamic things to do and see and places to eat and shop, for adults and children. A walk on Molly Stark P Park trails makes a nice half-day outdoor adventure for families and others.
From the park entrance, follow signs to the easy and kid-friendly Nature Center Spur Trail for a 20-minute walk of 0.20 mile or the moderate-rated Mount Olga Trail walk, which is 1.70 miles and 1.5 hours of walking, to a fire tower.