Lye Brook Wilderness, VT: Stratton Mountain via Bourn Pond

Climb to an expansive view of green rollers that inspired two long trails on this 22-mile loop in the Lye Brook Wilderness.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Climb to an expansive view of green rollers that inspired two long trails on this 22-mile loop in the Lye Brook Wilderness.

Enjoy autumn’s reds, oranges, and golds amid two deep-forest ponds on this two-night, 22-mile loop in southern Vermont. From the gate on Old Rootville Road, climb 1,000 feet in 1.5 miles up the dirt road toward Prospect Rock and take the 150-foot spur for a western view of 3,850-foot Mt. Equinox. Continue up the road (now the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail) to a bridge over a tributary of Bourn Brook, and leave the AT by turning sharply right (south) onto the Branch Pond Trail.

At mile 2.8, reach Douglas Shelter. Crash here if you got a late start, or continue south another 2.9 miles through moose-crossed bogs (look for hand-size hoofprints) to 48-acre Bourn Pond. Head south along the western shore to join the Lye Brook Trail and turn east. At 7.5 miles, reach an area flattened by a microburst. The jumble of fallen trees and tricky water crossings—some are impassable after spring runoff—make for slow progress to Stratton Pond, which emerges beyond the storm wreckage. Bear left onto the North Shore Trail and camp .2 mile later in the tent site; listen for loon calls and look for brook trout snapping at bugs atop the water.

Next day, leave your stuff in camp, pick up the southbound AT/LT at the southeast corner of the pond, and truck 3.3 miles to the fire tower atop 3,875-foot Stratton Mountain. The four-state view includes the Green Mountains to the north, the White Mountains to the northeast, the Berkshires in the south, and the Adirondacks to the west.

Inspired? You’re not the only one. Retrace your steps back to Stratton Pond for the second night. On your final morning, follow the AT/LT north into upland forest. At mile 17, take a footbridge over the Winhall River, which is skinny and more mossy rock than water in the fall. After one last view from Prospect Rock 3.6 miles later, descend Old Rootville Road to your car.

PERMITS: $6/night per person paid to the Green Mountain Club caretaker at the Stratton Pond sites.

GEAR UP: Eastern Mountain Sports, 263 Depot Street, Manchester, VT; (802) 366-8082; ems.com

MAP: Vermont’s Long Trail Waterproof Hiking Map 4th Edition ($10, greenmountainclub.org)

PIT STOP
Order a glass of wine and the duck with peppercorn sauce at Bistro Henry,or get BBQ anything on “Slo Smoke Sunday.” 1942 Depot St., Manchester Center, VT; (802) 362-4982; bistrohenry.com

NEAREST GROCERY STORE
Shaw’s Supermarket
64 Equinox Terrace, Manchester, VT
(802) 362-4479

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 35.4

Waypoints

LYE001

Location: 43.172948, -73.010159

From the gate on Old Rootville Road, climb 1,000 feet in 1.5 miles up the dirt road toward Prospect Rock.

LYE002

Location: 43.153606, -73.008354

Take the 150-foot spur for a western view of 3,850-foot Mt. Equinox. Next: Continue up the road (now the Appalachian Trail/Long Trail) to a bridge over a tributary of Bourn Brook.

LYE003

Location: 43.150331, -72.991834

Leave the AT by turning sharply right (south) onto the Branch Pond Trail. Hike south toward William B. Douglas Shelter.

LYE004

Location: 43.14457, -72.99119

Douglas Shelter: Crash here if you got a late start, or continue south another 2.9 miles through moose-crossed bogs (look for hand-size hoofprints) to 48-acre Bourn Pond.

LYE005

Location: 43.109317, -73.003464

Head south along the western shore of Bourn Pond to join the Lye Brook Trail.

LYE006

Location: 43.108064, -73.00282

Bourn Shelter

LYE007

Location: 43.102879, -73.00488

Bear left onto Lye Brook Trail, heading east.

LYE008

Location: 43.105902, -72.982736

At mile 7.5, reach an area flattened by a microburst. The jumble of fallen trees and tricky water crossings—some are impassable after spring runoff—make for slow progress to Stratton Pond, which emerges beyond the storm wreckage.

LYE009

Location: 43.105793, -72.971792

Bear left onto the North Shore Trail and camp .2 mile later in the tent site; listen for loon calls and look for brook trout snapping at bugs atop the water.

LYE010

Location: 43.107343, -72.968584

Next day: Leave your stuff in camp, pick up the southbound AT/LT at the southeast corner of the pond, and truck 3.3 miles to the fire tower atop 3,875-foot Stratton Mountain.

LYE011

Location: 43.104571, -72.964432

Turn right and hike south along the eastern edge of Stratton Pond.

LYE012

Location: 43.102095, -72.955463

The trail will take you across a small river. Continue east.

LYE013

Location: 43.100137, -72.946343

Cross a jeep road.

LYE014

Location: 43.095432, -72.939331

Here, you'll reach another stream. Cross, and follow the trail as it takes you southeast.

LYE015

Location: 43.0881, -72.926453

Be sure to tank up at a water source

LYE016

Location: 43.085934, -72.924896

Stratton Mountain (3,936 ft.): The four-state view includes the Green Mountains to the north, the White Mountains to the northeast, the Berkshires in the south, and the Adirondacks to the west. Retrace your steps back to Stratton Pond for the second night.

LYE017

Location: 43.123461, -72.976491

Take a footbridge over the Winhall River, which is skinny and more mossy rock than water in the fall.

LYE018

Location: 43.104696, -72.964389

On your final morning, follow the AT/LT north into upland forest.

LYE019

Location: 43.150268, -72.991598

Turn left. Ahead: After one last view from Prospect Rock, descend Old Rootville Road to your car.