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
- Distance: 10.2
Location: 43.061165, -72.968582
At its crossing on Stratton-Arlington Road, the Long Trail (also the AT) heads east from the Branch Deerfield River, then departs back into the woods from the far end of the parking lot.
Location: 43.068466, -72.949165
Cross a jeep road. Ahead, the climb up Stratton Mountain increases in pitch, gaining approximately 1,300 feet in the next 2.1 miles.
Location: 43.085934, -72.924896
Stratton Mountain (3,936 ft.): A summit firetower offers great Green Mountain views. Continue downhill, heading northwest from the summit.
Location: 43.099983, -72.946182
Shortly after a spring, cross a jeep road to continue west towards Stratton Pond. Ahead the trail meets a small river.
Location: 43.102001, -72.96405
Turn right to continue north along Stratton Pond on the Long Trail. This junction also leads to the Stratton Pond Shelter. A tenting area is available here via the North Shore Trail.
Location: 43.103286, -72.964668
Continue to the right at Stratton Pond. Tenting areas are available to the left and right here. Follow the same route back to the trailhead.
Location: 43.103302, -72.964529