Stratton Mountain puts on an unreal show for leaf peepers. “It’s explosive,” raves Mike Fox, a member of Backpacker’s regional panel. “The summit view is like watching a fireworks display from above.” From the trailhead at the end of Arlington-Stratton Road, 20 miles from Manchester, head north on the Long Trail.
The route ascends Stratton’s southern slope for 3.4 miles, beneath a canopy of paper birch (yellows), beech (oranges), and maple (reds), before reaching the 3,936-foot summit and its 55-foot-high fire tower. Continue on the LT 2.6 miles to Stratton Pond. Camp here or link to the Stratton Pond Trail for a 3.9-mile cruise back to the road. Turn left and go 1.1 mile to your car.
MAP AND GUIDE: Vermont’s Long Trail ($10, greenmountainclub.org); Hiking Vermont, by Larry Plechter ($16, falcon.com)
CONTACT: (802) 362-2307, fs.fed.us/r9/forests/greenmountain
-Mapped by Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com