View Full Version : Burnt Rock Mountain (1926)

02-08-2009, 21:28
I have a copy of the book "Trails and Summits of the Green Mountains" by Walter Collins O'Kane, copyright 1926. In it there are several paragraphs about the exhilarating descent/ascent on the south side of Burnt Rock Mountain. I was wondering if this same route is still utilized today or has it been rerouted using ladders and other aids to get off the summit dome to the south? The current and even 1971 LT guidebook doesn't make any special mention of this descent other than that it is an "up-and-down scramble over bare rocks and cobbles". Further south along this descent you pass The Olden Paris Rock Gallery, Slash Rock and Taylor Gulf. Are these landmarks still on the current trail route? Also, the book mentioned that there is only one ladder between the Winooski and Middlebury Gap and that is descending northbound into Ladder Ravine on the LT. Is this still the case? Yes the ladder is still mentioned going into Ladder Ravine, but how many times has this original ladder with handrail been replaced? Anyone have any photos of these landmarks or the original ladder? How many feet in length is this ladder?

02-08-2009, 21:39
it has probably been re-routed with ladders.

02-08-2009, 21:47
The current route is the same as it has been since at least the late 60's. None of the landmarks you mention are signed on the trail as of last year. Some things have naturally overgrown over the years (Burnt Rock is so named due to a fire). I'm sure the book mentions the Paris Skidway, which was prominent still in the 60's and 70's, but you wouldn't know you were on anything unusual today.

The ladder is still in ladder ravine. It's aluminum, and I can't recall it ever being anything else in my time on the Hump.

Regardless, the trail from Appalachian Gap to Jonesville is still one of the best 2-3 day hikes in the Green Mountains. Lots of blue blaze options, lots of open rock.

02-09-2009, 22:50
There are currently two more ladders from Burnt Rock south on the LT to Middlebury Gap. Both reside on the north side of Stark Mountain. The trail descends on the north side of Stark into Appalachian Gap.

The 11.6 mile stretch of trail from Lincoln Gap to App Gap (or vice-versa) makes for an exhilarating day hike on a clear day.

02-10-2009, 10:36
On my E-2-E, I remember climbing Burnt Rock shortly after an all night rain had ended. The climb was steep, somewhat slippery, and I don't recall any ladders. I'd consider it as difficult as anything on the LT. A short excerpt from my TJ after leaving Birch Glen... "The first third of the hike went quickly, but from there on the trail was brutal... at least to me. Great view from Burnt Rock and lots of ledge climbing with the possibility of high falls".

02-10-2009, 12:54
I live near Burnt Rock in the summer (down the road from Appalachian Gap). Here are some "rocky" photos from my hike up to the summit last summer.

Also, I have a short video taken during the same hike from the actual summit of Burnt Rock - view it at http://longtrailpodcast.com

02-10-2009, 19:21
Here is the excerpt from the book -it sounds like it will be quite a thrilling descent! :

" It is interesting to know that the task of finding a possible approach from the south to the summit of Burnt Rock Mountain was for a time an unsolved problem to the trail builders. Professor Will S. Monroe, who is largely responsible for building this section of the Long Trail, was assured by one who visited the mountain that no practicable route could be found for a trail to ascend the summit from this direction. It was possible to get down by a process of sliding over precipitous ledges and dropping from the summit of cliffs by the use of ropes. But to find a route feasible for a real trail, passable in both directions, was another matter.

"Finally, Olden Paris, a son of Dr. L. J. Paris, who was one of the pioneers in developing a new interest in the Green Mountains, discovered a twisting and spectacular way to descend the summit dome on the south. A cleft near the top of the mountain which ended in a vertical drop down a high cliff was found to give access to another smaller cleft, leading out of the larger one. This in turn led to a bench along the face of a cliff, which was discovered around a corner to a point from which the base of the cliff on the south could be reached. The rocky gallery found at that time is named in honor of its discoverer. (There is a photo in the book of the Olden Paris Gallery on Burnt Rock Mountain). As you descend from the summit you will make use of the route that he marked out. You continue to drop steeply through rocky defiles, winding crevices in the midst of ledges and rocks. You then pass a deep cleft called “Taylor Gulf”, in honor of James P. Taylor, founder of the Green Mountain Club. You then drop sharply twisting as it goes to an open ledge.

"Once in the woods, you come to a once lumbered area. In the midst of this is “Slash Rock”. This rock was given this name when the trail was in the process of building. The trail workers found the task of opening a clear passage through this region arduous because of the debris left from lumbering. One hot day in midsummer, as they worked their way through, they came upon this rock and found it a pleasant place for a rest. It was made a landmark as there is a good view to the south from here. "

02-10-2009, 20:34
I didn't recall a Burnt Rock Mountain, but in skimming my Long Trail journal, my brother and I apparently climbed it (from the north) on August 16, 1979 during my LT thru-hike. It had poured the prior day, so we stopped very early (2.6 miles!) at Montclair Glen Lodge. The 16th was clear but cool, and my journal notes that we "enjoyed beautiful views from Burnt Rock Mountain." We hiked 12.6 miles that day, stopping at Stark's Nest "where we made a great one-pot stew."

02-10-2009, 23:25
Here's a quote from the journal my dad kept of our LT hikes:

"Spent the night under the stars on a pine bough bed on Brunt Rock Mt. Beautiful night with porcupines."

That was August 4, 1970. The porcupines were nibbling on my pack, inches from my head. I thought something was flapping in the breeze, and kept reaching back to tighten the straps. I still have that Kelty pack, but I replaced the porky-chewed webbing a few years ago.