Many wonderful walks and hikes for all ability levels are found in Vermont’s Green Mountains, Lake Champlain and its islands, and throughout the state’s towns and valleys. Read through the Resources and Preparing to Walk sections, then browse the listings below for the right walk for you, your family, and children. Listings include difficult, moderate, and easy walks as well as in-town strolls.
The 272-mile Long Trail was the first long distance hiking trail in America. It was built in 1910 by the Green Mountain Club, which still maintains the Trail. The Long Trail has many sections appropriate for beginner, average, and expert hikers, families, kids, and older folks. Trails are rated as easy, moderate, and difficult, and by length and other factors.
The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to Canada and crosses peaks of Stratton Mountain, Mount Mansfield, Jay Peak, and Camels Hump. It has a side trail into the state’s Northeast Kingdom. It coincides with the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles in the southern third of the state.
The Green Mountain Club operates a visitor center on Route 100 in Waterbury Center. It publishes trail guides and other useful information on the Internet and in print. The Long Trail Guide is the official guide to the Long Trail and its side trails. The guide and Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont, which includes trails outside the Long Trail System, cover most of the hiking trails in Vermont.
The visitor center in Waterbury Center provides guests with hiker information, merchandise, access to the Short Trail through the woods, a picnic area, toilets, and spectacular views.
The Long Trail is 272 miles long with 175 miles of side trails and 70 primitive shelters. It includes easy, moderate, and difficult trails, and walks for kids. The Green Mountain Club asks walkers to use Leave-No-Trace etiquette, meaning carry in and carry out all belongings.
The Cross Vermont Trail will be a 90-mile path connecting towns across Vermont from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River. Thirty miles of the trail are built and open to the public. It is expected to be a a multi-use (walkers, bicycles, cross-country skis), four-season path across following the Winooski River and Wells River valleys.
Maps and guides to the trail are posted online. Maps are detailed and excellent. Existing parts of the trail go near Wells River, Newbury, Ryegate, Groton, Marshfield, Plainfield, East Montpelier, Montpelier, Middlesex, Berlin, Moretown, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Richmond, Williston, and Burlington.
Preparing to Walk:
- Always take a map and a compass.
- Mountain weather changes quickly! Check the weather forecast before you start. Be aware of changes in weather. If a storm is coming, get off the summit.
- Weather at the peaks is colder, windier, and wetter. Dress with a layer close to your body for wicking sweat away from your skin, then a layer like fleece for warmth, and a layer like a nylon shell or Gore-Tex to block the wind.
- Wear sturdy hiking boots and good socks. If your boots are new, start with short hikes.
- Always take more liquid than you think you’ll need. Always take food like power bars, string cheese, bananas, raisins, nuts, M&Ms.
- Your pack should also have a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a pocketknife, and a whistle.
On the Trail
- Treat all water by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating.
- Carry out all of your trash (including biodegradable items like orange peels).
- Use the privy if the site has one. Otherwise, dispose of human and pet waste in a "cat hole" at least 75 paces away from the water sources.
- Give wild animals plenty of room.
- Build a fire only in an established fire pit.
- If you’re staying overnight, use the lodges or the designated tenting sites.
Park HQ and Nature Center, 44 Stillwater Road (off Route 232)
Several easy hikes of 0.25 to 3 miles; good for kids
Groton State Forest also encompasses Kettle Pond, Big Deer, Ricker Pond, and New Discovery State Parks. The forest has many miles of marked trails and logging roads for multiple uses include hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Parking is at lots of the state parks. Trails below are only a sample of the trails within the state forest and parks.
Kettle Pond Trail and Kettle Pond Portage Trail. This moderate walk goes around a secluded lake. Trail leaves the parking lot off VT Route 232. The trail divides and goes to the water's edge. At the far end and south side of the pond, the trail is rocky and wet. Ends at Kettle Pond camping area. (3 miles)
Owls Head Trail. An easy walk to a scenic vista of Lake Groton, Kettle Pond, and the Green Mountains. Trail starts off the road from New Discovery to the Osmore Pond scenic area. Level to intermediate terrain. Bypassing a swampy area, trail descends and then climbs. (1.5 miles)
Montpelier Wells River Rail Trail. Good place for walking, bicycling or horseback riding. Gradual, 7-mile grade through the state forest. The Rail Trail can be reached at Rickers Pond campground, the Overlook parking area, Boulder Beach Road, the Northern parking area on VT Route 232 near New Discovery, and the Kettle Pond parking lot. (7 miles)
P.O. Box 395
Killington, VT 05751
Get your hike on! And don’t miss dinner!
So many hikes, so little time.Join us at New Life Hiking Spa in the Green Mountains for special programs and activities that focus on hiking, yoga, healthy eating and exercise. Great hiking for every level along nature walks, wooded trails and ancient ways to steeper more challenging terrain and distances. Our certified staff provides a friendly and supportive environment for a total mind-body tune up to get you back on track physically, de-stress mentally, become fitter and stronger. Our cozy, air conditioned rooms with private bath includes a mini fridge, coffee pot, cable television and computer ports. After a day on the trail, enjoy a massage, facial and other services in our Spa. We practice the "Leave no trace" outdoor etiquette.Taking a hike never felt so good.
Visitor Center, 6054 Woodstock Road (Route 4)
White River Junction, VT
Four hiking loops of 1 to 2 miles with moderate rating; good for kids
This walk, doable by almost anyone, gives fabulous view of Quechee Gorge, sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East. Also near the walk and the gorge is Quechee Gorge Village with lots of shopping for adults and children. Great place to browse and pick up vacation mementoes.
The walk alongside Quechee Gorge is one to two miles and easy, except for a mild elevation gain. The walk gives you a view of the Gorge and then takes you along the gorge, past waterfalls and Dewey's Mill Pond. Start at the visitor center and follow the spur trail behind the building to the main trail. Turn right, walking upstream. At the Route 4 overpass, notice a good view of the gorge from the highway bridge. Continue upstream on the trail; you will see a dam, waterfalls, and a neck of land that runs between Ottauquechee River and Dewey's Mill Pond.
Season is mid-May to late October.
517 Old Guilford Road
Guilford, VT 05301
Easy 0.5 to 1-mile walks; great views; good for kids
By their very nature, old forts provide great vistas. Fort Dummer has three nice, easy trails. Also, this park is just south of Brattleboro, a fun place for visit, shop, stroll, and dine for adults and children.
Sunrise Trail is a 1-mile loop trail across level and slightly sloping ground. Views about halfway along the trail, which is wooded the whole way. Sunset Trail is a 0.5 mile loop trail on the western side of the park, starting near the entrance and passing through the play field. The remains of the Boyden Farm, dating form the 1880s, can be seen along this trail. Farm relics include stone walls, a small shed and farmhouse.
Broad Brook Trail. This 0.5 mile trail descends from the campground to a popular swimming hole on Broad Brook. The trail is steep in sections, and therefore is a much more strenuous hike than the other trails.
3270 Route 315
Rupert , VT 05768
Many trails range from easy to difficult; something for every walker and hiker
Merck Forest and Farmland Center is an educational organization that teaches and demonstrates innovative management of forest and farmland. The public may visit the farm every day of the year from dawn to dusk. People may visit the farm, explore the forest, walk on 30 miles of trails or stay overnight in a rustic cabin or lean-to. There is no admission fee. Merck Forest Trails are open for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
Mount Antone Trail to the tallest mountain on the property at 2,600 feet. It offers the most spectacular vista at Merck—well worth the 5-mile round trip hike which takes about 3-3½ hours round trip.
Gallop Peak Trail summit provides beautiful views of the Taconic Mountains and beyond, especially in the winter. The hike to the top will take about 2½-3 hours round trip, about 3 miles total.
Wildlife Trail offers interpretive signs discussing forestry management practices and their effects on area wildlife.
McCormick Trail splits off of Old Town road up to Clarks Clearing, eventually connecting with Antone Road. It is a narrow trail and it is quite steep in portions. There are spectacular old red oak trees and wonderful winter views to the northwest.
Discovery Trail is a short trail starting at the Visitor Center parking lot and looping downhill then up to the farm.
Burke Trailgoes through mature, open woodland on a north facing slope. It gets little use in the summer, but is a popular for cross country skiers. Hiking the Burke Trail takes from 20 to 30 minutes.