Burlington, VT: Mount Philo

Just outside Burlington, the summit of Mount Philo offers sweeping views of Lake Champlain along with Adirondack and Green Mountain peaks.
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Just outside Burlington, the summit of Mount Philo offers sweeping views of Lake Champlain along with Adirondack and Green Mountain peaks.

Only twenty minutes from Burlington, the trek up Mount Philo offers a steep—albeit brief—climb to a summit view worthy of a much longer hike. A 2.1-mile round trip with a choice picnic spot at the top, this hike is one of the more family-friendly options around Burlington. Start up the House Rock Trail just past the fee station and hike up a gentle grade until crossing State Park Road after 0.4 mile. From here, the terrain steepens along Devil’s Chair Trail, which passes a few boulder scrambles and squeezes (as well as its namesake rock formation). This trip opts for a more interesting approach to the summit, scrambling up a herd path to ascend Philo’s steepest face. At the top, expansive views to and (on clear days) across Lake Champlain await. Take advantage of summit telescopes to peer even further at the Adirondacks and Green Mountains.-Mapped by Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 3.4

Waypoints

PHL001

Location: 44.2779846, -73.2221832

Just up the road from the parking lot and ranger station, the House Rock trail begins on the left.

PHL002

Location: 44.2803891, -73.2176435

The House Rock Trail crosses the road here. The last few yards up to the road are a steep ascent.

PHL003

Location: 44.2800972, -73.2179117

Bear right, scrambling up over a pile of rocks to continue on the Devil's Chair Trail which follows the base of the cliff. To the left, an unnamed trail traverses above the cliff wall.

PHL004

Location: 44.2799339, -73.2183075

Bear right around a large cedar tree. If you go left here, you'll have to jump off a large boulder (about three feet to the ground). The two routes intersect a short distance up the trail.

PHL005

Location: 44.2795639, -73.2185287

Bear right to stay on the main trail which gets fairly steep here. To the left is a road drainage.

PHL006

Location: 44.2788298, -73.2186198

The trail passes the Devil's Chair rock formation.

PHL007

Location: 44.2776622, -73.2164955

Turn left onto a herd trail. Leave the official trail behind and begin a steep scramble up towards the summit. The main trail descends to the right and meets the road further on for a paved approach to the summit area.

PHL008

Location: 44.2780079, -73.2154441

Mount Philo (968 ft.): Proceed to Waypoint 9 for views of the Adirondacks before taking the road (northwest end of the summit parking lot) back down to the trailhead parking lot. The road down to the trailhead is popular with cyclists; stay to the right.

PHL009

Location: 44.2783318, -73.214859

Summit view stretch to the Adirondacks to the south-southeast. On clear days, the telescopes are well worth it.

PHL010

Location: 44.2808113, -73.2141724

The entrance to the Mount Philo Campground is on the left (fees applicable).

Philo Fee Station

Location: 44.2779846, -73.2221603

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Philo's Lower Slopes

Location: 44.2793367, -73.2202935

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Into the Woods

Location: 44.2804121, -73.2175362

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Devil's Chair Trail Junction

Location: 44.2801202, -73.2178152

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Rocks on Devil's Chair Trail

Location: 44.2800204, -73.2181263

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Devil's Chair

Location: 44.278776, -73.2185769

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Lake Champlain

Location: 44.2777697, -73.2170212

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Summit view across Lake Champlain

Location: 44.2780539, -73.2153797

© Broudy/Donohue Photography

Visual Guide to Summit Views

Location: 44.2783458, -73.2147789

© Broudy/Donohue Photography