Explore the Green Mountains on Foot: Hiking at Vermont Ski Resorts
There are many ways to summit a mountain, but few are as rewarding as doing so on two feet and experiencing the beauty of the Green Mountains first hand, on the ground. Not to mention, Vermont’s resorts have paired many of their hiking trails with pause-worthy restaurants that will reward hikers for their physical exertions with tasty food and local libations, either at the summit, or back at the base.
Whether hiking Mount Snow, on Dover’s network of trails, or in one of 6 State Parks in Southern Vermont, it’s safe to say that there’s always a hiking trail nearby. Adventurers can plan their own hike, or explore the mountains with Mount Snow’s knowledgeable guides. Even better, make a day of it and hike up to The Bullwheel restaurant at the summit and enjoy lunch and a frosty beverage on the scenic deck. Hikers (and diners) can give their legs a break and hitch a ride down on the Bluebird Express chairlift.
Stratton Mountain Resort
The birthplace of the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail is at the tallest peak in southern Vermont – Stratton Mountain. From the summit, a gentle 1.5 mile loop cascades to the historic fire tower for unrivaled panoramic views. The whole family can be active and enjoy Stratton’s natural beauty with various hiking trail options. Make new friends and explore trails with Lole ambassadors during this summer’s free Lole Meet-Ups, or hike to mid-mountain for a rejuvenating yoga class in a breathtaking environment.
Magic Mountain is the perfect spot for a mountain hike. There are trails all the way to the top and for those who want to do a less strenuous climb, the “Sunshine Corner” picnic hang out offers incredible views about half way up the mountain. The Black Line Tavern will be open for food and refreshments much of the summer, so hikers can get a reward after putting in a little vertical sweat equity.
Take the Long Trail over Bromley Mountain. Complete with shelter and basic privy, the approximately 6 mile round trip loop offers amazing 360° views of the region. Neighboring Stratton Mountain, Okemo, Magic and Killington are visible most days, and you can even spot Mount Washington from the summit on a super clear day. The Forest Service rates the trip as intermediate to difficult, and it’s a perfect 4 hour day hike.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Hikers have a variety of ways to enjoy Okemo Mountain, one of Vermont’s largest State Parks. Okemo’s Sunburst Six offers a scenic chairlift ride in comfort. Visitors can hike around the summit area, enjoy some refreshments at the summit lodge and ride down at their convenience. The paved Mountain Road, open to cars, bikes and hikers, ends at a parking area a short walk from the summit. Departing from the western side of Okemo Mountain, 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.
Woodstock Inn & Resort
Step outside the Woodstock Inn & 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. For a historic walking tour of Woodstock’s past, stroll the 20+ miles of colonial carriage roads as they wander through the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and intersect with the Appalachian Trail.
With 15 miles of hiking trails, hikers will never take the same route up or down The Beast. The rewards after summiting Vermont’s second tallest peak are unencumbered 360 degree views of Vermont’s Green Mountains, New York’s Adirondacks, New Hampshire’s White Mountains and of course access to the Peak Lodge, Killington’s state of the art facility offering fresh food and cool drinks to hikers and mountain bikers all summer. K-1 Gondola Season Passes are also available for unlimited round trip rides to the Peak Lodge on Vermont’s highest elevation lift.
Hiking and walking is a popular activity at Sugarbush Resort. Visitors 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. Group and private guided naturalist hikes are available. The Long Trail crosses over both of Sugarbush’s mountains and provides great day hikes, including the Gap-to-Gap Hike from Lincoln Gap across the Monroe Skyline to the Appalachian Gap. The resort also offers hiking trails from its base area to the summits, as well as Burnt Rock, a moderate hike just a few miles from the resort.
Mad River Glen
A generous grant from the Stark Mountain Foundation has enabled Mad River Glen to create a new network of hiking trails on General Stark Mountain. The 2.3 mile Stark Mountain Trail begins at the base area and meanders up the ski trails to a junction with the Long Trail just south of the summit of General Stark Mountain and the top of the ski area’s Single Chair. The conservation mission of the Mad River Glen Cooperative is to “protect and preserve” the forests and mountain ecosystem of General Stark Mountain and to provide recreational access year-round. Formalizing the hiking trail to the summit goes a long way in encouraging hikers to enjoy Mad River Glen and fulfill the mission of giving more people the opportunity to experience General Stark Mountain.
Bolton is home to 100km of Nordic and backcountry trails. In the summer these same trails provide paths for outdoor adventure in over 1100 acres of wilderness. Some trails lead up the valley to the ridge-line where hikers can connect with Vermont's Long Trail.
Trapp Family Lodge
At the Trapp Family Lodge there are over 60 kilometers of wooded hiking trails where hikers of all ability levels can enjoy breathtaking views and lush greenery. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful hike to the Chapel, built by the Trapp family sons on their return home after World War II. A more challenging hike takes guests to the Slayton Pasture Cabin, a favorite resting spot for cross-country skiers in the winter. Guided nature walks are available to guests and teach them about native plants, wildlife and the evolving landscape. There are many other hiking trails to explore close by including the Long Trail which runs over Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak), Stowe Pinnacle and Hunger Mountain.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe offers a variety of hiking trails for visitors to embark on. The Mt. Mansfield Auto Toll Road is over 150 years old and spans 4.5 miles as the road climbs to an elevation of 3,850 feet. At its end, the road brings hikers to the Mt. Mansfield Summit Station. The road’s upper terminus presents spectacular hiking options. To the north, the Cliff Trail, Long Trail and Canyon Trail – all about 1.5 miles long and climbing about 550 feet – offer three routes 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.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Green Mountain setting creates many opportunities for guided and self-guided hiking for all ages. The resort hosts guided outings designed for families with young children, with a gentle pace and fun 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, the local flora and fauna, and to summit some of the area’s most challenging peaks. Guided hiking is included in the resort’s vacation packages. For self-guided outings, Smugglers’ Notch provides informational sheets around the resort.
In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom there are plenty of activities to fill up even the longest of summer days. Visitors can take the toll road for a leisurely and beautifully scenic car ride to the summit of Burke Mountain and experience scenic hiking trails and breathtaking views of the Willoughby Gap and the surrounding area. From the top hikers can head into Victory or Darling State Forests where there are miles of trails to be explored and primitive camping is welcome. The Burke Mountain Campground also offers lean-to’s and tent sites. Visit www.skiBurke.com for more information.
Jay Peak Resort
If you’re a fan of the uphill, there are more than 2,100 feet of vertical to cover to get you to the summit of Jay Peak. At the top, hikers will be greeted with views of lakes Champlain and Memphremagog, Mt. Washington over in New Hampshire, and at dusk, the lights of Montreal.