Our Backyard: Green Mountains

Nine ways to see Vermont's Green Mountains

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1. Summit Serenity

Climb to the top of 3,360-foot Belvidere Mountain’s 50-foot fire tower, and gain views into Canada and New Hampshire. Start at the Frank Post trailhead nine miles north of Eden Mills, and connect the Frank Post, Long, and Forester’s Trails to make a seven-mile loop. “Maybe once I’ve run into someone else hiking it,” says Tracy Lariviere (below).

2. Top Swimming Hole

Grab the rope swing and take a five-foot plunge into Ritterbush Pond, tucked in narrow, mossy, and deep Devil’s Gulch. Hike there via a three-mile out-and-back on a quiet segment of the Long Trail; start at the trailhead off VT 118, two miles south of Belvidere Corners.

3. Most Iconic Peak

The climb to the 4,083-foot, tundra-clad bald of Camel’s Hump is a Vermont rite of passage. Hike the Monroe Trail from Camel’s Hump Road for a 6.6-mile lollipop

4. Best Backpack

The southernmost 50 miles of the Long Trail feature starry skies, crystal springs, and views of four states. Start at MA 2 in North Adams, and hike to VT 30 near Mt. Bromley. Look for otter and loons at Stratton Pond, and moose near Story Spring Shelter.



5. Most Wildlife

The 17,841-acre Lye Brook Wilderness is a haven for black bear, beaver, and moose. Reader fave: an eight-mile out-and-back to Bourn Pond on the Branch Pond Trail; start from Kelley Stand Road, five miles from East Arlington.

6. Best Sunset

See the sun sink behind the Greens from Stowe Pinnacle, a 2,651-foot crag in the Worcester Range, via a 2.8-miler from Upper Hollow Road.

7. Prettiest Lake

Crystal-clear and 300 feet deep, Lake Willoughby is a parting gift from glaciers. See it from 2,751-foot Mt. Pisgah (take the South Trail from VT 5A, six miles north of West Burke). Return on the North Trail for a seven-mile day.

8. Favorite Campsite

Lay your bag by the soothing thunder of Big Falls, created by the Missisquoi River plunging 40 feet through a narrow gorge. Park at the turnout on River Road, 1.5 miles south from VT 105, then follow a 200-foot path to an 80-foot cliff directly above the falls. Camp on the right.

9. Best Ski Trail

The 300-mile Catamount Trail crosses Vermont top to bottom. Tackle its finest daylong stretch from VT 242 to Jay for a rolling, six-mile jaunt through snow-covered evergreens, says Lenny Christopher (below).


Tracy Lariviere, 36, of West Berkshire, Vermont, has spent the last 13 years exploring the Green Mountains, including hiking all 273 miles of the Long Trail. Section 11 (from VT 15 to Tollotson Camp) is hands-down her favorite, she says, because of its unmatched solitude.


Stowe-based professional photographer Lenny Christopher, 32, scours the state from mountaintop to pond-side looking for the perfect vista. Among his favorites: the long and spiny views north and south along the Greens, from Haystack Mountain above Hazen’s Notch.