Burlington, VT: Belvidere Mountain
A peaceful loop hike past a large beaver pond and Tillotson’s Camp to a 50-foot fire tower on one of the least traveled sections of the Long Trail.
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From the trailhead, take the Frank Post Trail (blue blazes) into the ferns and hardwoods. The trail can be wet and muddy at first, climbing gently on its approach toward the mountain. At 0.6 mile, stay right on the Frank Post Trail, cross a stream and continue a moderate uphill stroll on a trail that may be crossed with moose tracks. Waist-high maple saplings encroach on the trail, cooling you as you rustle through their leaves. At mile 1.2, begin a steep ascent on switchbacks.
Soon, the path crosses across a four-foot rock rib with interesting swirls in the rock and a streamlet below it. The way turns steeper and more eroded as you ascend another incline, cross a streamlet, and arrive at Tillotson Camp at 1.8 miles. Built by the Green Mountain Club in 1939, Tillotson Camp is a rustic but sturdy cabin that sleeps (first-come, first-served) eight on wood “shelves” (bunks) common to cabins on the Long Trail (LT). There is a nice view to the southeast from the cabin itself, with a more expansive view in the same direction from the base of an ancient rocky outcropping through the trees on the far side of the building.
Proceed behind the cabin to the junction with the LT (white blazes), and turn left, climbing past the boulder jumble and eventually arriving in a beaver meadow. From here, the path traverses along the southeastern side of the pond and across a wet plateau. It descends gently and then bends left (west) out of the mud, still on a gentle descent. The long, gentle descent burns up mileage quickly. Eventually the trails turns uphill, and passes into the boreal forest. It levels off on a high ridge. There are no views here, but you sense the sky to either side through the trees. Finally a view to the left (east) appears through some low trees.
The trail dips slightly and then leaves the canopy, opening along a lawn of ferns, bunchberries, and low scrub firs at four miles. At 4.2 miles, the trail reaches an offset four-way junction in a grassy clearing. The LT-South bends to the right. The Forester Trail, your route down, is a 90-degree left turn (northeast) about 20 yards before the turn for the tower. The short spur to the tower (blue blazes) bends more gradually to the left (east), opposite the turn for the LT-South.
At 4.4 miles, the trail comes to the 50-foot fire tower, one of only three remaining towers on the LT. From its viewing platform, you can see much of the spine of the Green Mountains, the Cold Hollow Mountains, and several Canadian peaks to the north. On clear days, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire sits atop the eastern horizon, 71 miles away.
Return to the staggered junction with the LT and Forester Trail at 4.5 miles. Turn right onto the LT-North, then turn right again about 20 yards later onto the Forester Trail (unmarked). The Forester Trail descends steadily and the footing is generally smooth, interrupted mainly by patches of mud and moose scat. The trail crosses a stream, then an overgrown logging road, and then another stream before coming to the junction with the Frank Post Trail at 7.3 miles, closing the loop. Turn right (east) on the Frank Post Trail, retracing your steps for the last 0.6 mile. Arrive back at the trailhead at 7.9 miles.
-Mapped by Lisa Densmore, Densmore Designs.com
- Distance: 11.4
Location: 44.790833, -72.5196
Trailhead. Take the blue-blazed Frank Post Trail.
Location: 44.793583, -72.529368
Junction of Frank Post Forester Trails. Stay right to Frank Post Trail’s blue blazes.
Location: 44.799568, -72.550177
Cross a four-foot rock rib with interesting swirls in the rock.
Location: 44.799217, -72.551001
Reach Tillotson Camp, which sleeps eight, then continue past the cabin and turn left onto the Long Trail (southbound).
Location: 44.800078, -72.552702
Beaver Meadow. Lockwood Pond is just over the rise.
Location: 44.774113, -72.553276
Junction LT South and Forester Trail. Remain on the LT to reach the fire tower.
Location: 44.773419, -72.551132
Climb the 50-foot fire tower to see the Green Mountain spine and north into Canada.
Location: 44.774036, -72.553039
Junction of LT North and Forester Trail. Bear right onto the unmarked Forester Trail.
Location: 44.789883, -72.533913
Location: 44.792965, -72.53076
Cross Lockwood Brook.