View Full Version : 1st Timer Looking for a 15-20 mi 1 overnight Vermont Section Hike -early October!

09-22-2015, 11:59
Hi All, we are looking to do a 2 day/ 1 night 15-20 mile section of lower Vermont (or Upper MA to VT) Columbus Day wknd (Oct 10). We plan to park at end point and find transportation to the start. Can anyone recommend a good section hike that has a camp midway thru (hopefully where others will stay), and best way to get to the start? I realize this is not very far but it's our first time and we will have a small dog with us (maybe 2). Gotta start somewhere! We have our gear list, but for this short of a hike, do we need to buy a map? I've heard the AT is very well marked. Appreciate any advice for a good route! Thank you in advance!!

09-22-2015, 14:49
You do need a map. The Long Trail map is a good one. I'm looking at mine right now, remembering our LT hike last year, and trying to come up with a good overnight hike for a first time backpacker with two dogs. One that will provide some good views and an enjoyable time, but not be so strenuous as to end up as a death march. (Trust me, this happens and it's not fun.)

You could do the Stratton Mountain loop, using the AT/LT up and over Stratton from the south (parking on Kelly Stand Road), then camp at Stratton Pond, then take the Stratton Pond Trail back to your car the next morning. This seems short at only 7 miles the first day and 5 the second, but it's not. The climb up Stratton will take a while -- but the views from the top are pretty amazing if the weather is good. No shuttle needed for this one.

You could do the trail just south of the Inn at Long Trail. Park at the Inn on Rt 4 east of Rutland, and get a shuttle to where the trail crosses Rt 103 at Clarendon Gorge. Hike to the Gov Clement Shelter the first day, about 7 miles, and then to the Inn on the second day, about 8 miles, but make sure you take the Sherburne Pass trail at Jungle Junction (well marked). This is a lovely hike, but the first climb out of the road may be difficult for your dogs -- it's a giant rock slide that the trail climbs at a 90-degree angle. (Well, it seemed that way at the time, anyway.) The climb up Killington will get your attention, too. But again, good views from the top, and from Pico Camp if the weather cooperates.

Good luck and I hope you have an enjoyable hike.

09-24-2015, 13:57
thanks bigcranky! i've been trying to figure out the 12 mile route you suggest. From what I found online, there's a few trails, one is only 7 miles (AT to Mountain to pond and back via AT), the other (i think the one you suggested), is AT to Mountain to pond and back via pond trail which is only 11 miles including the last mile walking on the road back to the parking spot. Is that the route?

I'm also interested in the terrain to climb the mountain, I neglected to mention our two dogs are very small (12 lbs) and one is a tripod who will be carried part of the way in a front-carry pack. They are conditioned to alot of walking, but not bouldering or navigating difficult terrain. I know its not ideal to take them but we're passing through the state to another destination and they'll be with us. We're both athletic and can handle it, but looking for something not very tricky due to the dogs. Thanks for anymore advice you can provide.

09-24-2015, 14:32
Well, that's the problem with the Long Trail/AT -- even in the southern section where the LT is contiguous with the AT, there's a lot of scrambling over boulders and trees and such. The climb up Stratton wasn't bad, if I recall correctly, and the descent northbound was pretty good trail. We didn't take the pond trail, but it looks pretty level on the map.

BTW yes that is the route I was thinking of - take the AT/LT up over Stratton, down to the pond, camp, then walk the pond trail back to the road and walk the road (gravel IIRC) back to the car.

I'm hoping someone in VT will chime in here -- even with an easier route in MA or CT.