Rugged peaks frame the yellow birch stands and murmuring streams of the 25,000-acre Breadloaf Wilderness—take advantage of the area’s beauty and solitude on this strenuous 12.4-mile loop tagging three summits.
From the Cooley Glen Trailhead, hike through beech, black cherry, and balsam fir, crossing several streams en route to the first shelter option at 3.2 miles in. Continue on, glimpsing Mount Grant to the north as the forest transitions to spruce and fir. Turn south on the Long Trail (a 270-mile path traversing the Greens) and push up a steep hill to 3,482-foot Mount Cleveland. From there, the trail meanders along a ridge and saddle to 3,528-foot Mount Roosevelt. Enjoy the day’s first big payoff, sweeping views of the Braintree Mountains, then drop into one more saddle before the climb to 3,745-foot Mount Wilson and its vistas of Lake Champlain’s southern shore. Hike on to the Emily Proctor Trail junction (and your second shelter option) at mile 8.9, then continue on the Emily Proctor Trail through a fern-filled meadow to return to the trailhead.
Info: AMC's Best Backpacking in New England. (802) 767-4261; www.fs.fed.us/r9/gmfl
Hike provided by the Appalachian Mountain ClubEvent and membership info: outdoors.org
Location: 44.0365676879883, -72.9488754272461