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Hiking in Waterbury

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Boots on the Ground: Blaze Your Own Uncommon Path

Uncover the secrets hidden within Vermont’s lush forests, hidden lakes, and wooded streams. We’re hot on the trail to help you get to know Vermont from a different perspective with this diverse selection of the most stunning hikes in the Waterbury area. All hiking distances and times listed below are calculated based on a round trip.

Fit an easy hike into a day of boating, shopping, or time on the beach; take the kids or elders down the trail or break in a new pair of boots. A moderate hike is a good day’s work; a difficult hike will challenge most and requires careful planning. For hiking advice, packing lists, an extensive array of guidebooks, maps, and supplies, drop in to the Green Mountain Club Visitors Center any time of year or visit them online. Vermont’s hiking hub is headquartered just down on the road on Route 100, the Green Mountain Byway.

As you prepare for your hike or when you emerge, check out our “Out of the Woods” recommendations. Snacks on the way in or a good meal after, a little pampering, or a stop for a treat on the way to the trailhead - you deserve it.

When the weather turns chilly, hiking in Vermont is a different story. Please note that while some of these trails are excellent for winter snowshoeing, limited parking and rural back roads are serious considerations, limiting trail access when the snowbanks pile up. Identify your best bet for a safe and exhilarating journey with a guidebook such as Winter Hiking in Vermont, published by the Green Mountain Club.  

 

Mount Mansfield Summit from the Top of the Automobile Toll Road

Want to summit Vermont’s highest peak without putting in a day’s work? Head up the Mountain Road in Stowe and drive the four-mile Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield. From the summit, you may enjoy panoramic, tri-state views of the Green Mountains, New York’s Adirondacks, Lake Champlain, and even Mount Washington in New Hampshire.  The Long Trail traverses the summit, which is covered with alpine tundra.  Some spot the elongated profile of a man in Vermont’s highest peak, including a chin, forehead, and Adam’s apple. Take a stroll across the ridge line to the Chin, which at 4,393 feet, marks Vermont’s highest point.

Distance: 2.8 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Estimated hiking time: 2 hours

Out of the woods: Cool off with some ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, enjoy a foot rub and refresh your pedi at Sunflower Salon, and feed your cravings with a burger and brew at the Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room. From views of the Green Mountains to relaxing in resplendent Adirondack-style architecture, finish the day with a soak in the hot tub at Moose Meadow Lodge.

 

Peninsula Nature Trail: Waterbury Center State Park

This meandering trail beside the shores of the park’s peninsula is ideal for young hikers, with ends of the trail located on either side of the boat launch.  Follow the path beside the Waterbury Reservoir while on-trail signs tell the story of legacy apple orchards, flora, fauna, and the geology along the trail. The park is perfect for families, featuring fishing platforms, a beach, grills, and restroom facilities.

Distance: 0.5 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Estimated hiking time: 30 minutes

Out of the Woods: Before you go, fuel up with brewed coffee, espresso drinks, wraps and goodies at the Green Mountain Coffee Visitors Center and Café, located in an historic train station in downtown Waterbury. If you just can’t bear to go back inside for dinner at the end of the day, check out the deck dining at several of the downtown Waterbury restaurants. Finish the day in a quiet setting on 200 acres of woodland at Stowe Cabins in the Woods.

 

Mill Trail to Bingham Falls: Mount Mansfield State Forest

This is the small trail with a big payoff, great for families or to visit with guests. With just a short, gradual hike into the woods, you’ll be rewarded by towering waterfalls that cascade into clear pools. Cool off in the thundering water’s mist; take a dip in the calm pools below on a hot day. The rocks can be slippery - sturdy footwear is recommended. 

Distance: 1.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy, but be aware of steep bluffs near the waterfall

Estimated hiking time: 30 minutes

Out of the Woods: Pop in to Lake Champlain Chocolates for some quick energy or visit the Cabot Annex for cheese, crackers, dips, and other snacks for a picnic by the pools. Save your appetite for the chef-owned Michael’s on the Hill, featuring farm-to-table dinner creations by Swiss chef Michael Kloeti. The view of the mountains will continue from your intimate room at Mountain Meadow View B & B, which has spectacular views from all bedrooms.

 

Stevenson Brook Trail: Little River State Park

The Stevenson Brook Trail goes into Little River State Park, from which several trails may be accessed. Once the site of a thriving settlement, stay on Stevenson Brook or wander through a network of trails, where you’ll spot the evidence of hillside homesteads, sugarhouses, barns, sawmills, and a cemetery, their legacy depicted in foundations, clearings, and stone.

Distance: 4.8 miles, with additional distances within the trail network

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Estimated hiking time: 3-4 hours

Out of the Woods: Whether you have made reservations to camp or are just visiting Little River State Park for a hike, swing by Waterbury Dam, from which you will see blue water framed by sweeping mountain vistas. Built by 2,000 men over a three-year period beginning in 1935, the 1,845-foot dam was constructed to control runoff and generate hydroelectricity. On the road, stop in for lunch or dinner at Arvad’s Grill and Pub, featuring an extensive beer selection, creative appetizers, burgers, and an assortment of delicious salads that alone will make a meal.

 

Dalley Loop Trail: Little River State Park

This hike is named for Civil War Veteran Dan Dalley, who survived 16 battles and escaped capture once. He bought the land along the Dalley Loop in 1875, living upon Ricker Mountain’s rocky hillside on 68-acre subsistence farm (the farm foundations are located on the Stevenson Brook Trail). The Dalley trail meanders gently up a logging access road, levels out, and then heads steeply downhill.

Distance: 2.8

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Estimated hiking time: 1-2 hours

Out of the Woods: Make reservations to camp in Little River State Park, or continue your historic tour with a night at the Old Stagecoach Inn, a former carriage stop. Prior to your hike, enjoy breakfast at the Old Stagecoach Inn, or stop by the Green Mountain Coffee Visitors Center & Cafe for buttery pastries, bold coffee, and espresso drinks. When you’ve worked up a thirst, pick up a beverage or two at the Craft Beer Cellar, which features more than 500 varieties of brew as well as a “growler bar.” Cap off the day with a casual night out at Blue Stone Pizza, where you can eat on a blue well stone from the 1700s that was resurrected from an area farmhouse. Blue Stone features innovative “blackboard special” flatbreads served hot and crisp, topped with local meats, cheese, homemade sauces, and savory herbs.

 

Mount Hunger: Waterbury Trail

Approach Central Vermont’s Mount Hunger from the west on the Waterbury Trail. Cool off in the waterfall before you leave the woodland. Gain elevation with every step on the steady ascent; get ready for an exhilarating rock scramble near the peak, and earn a 360-degree view of Groton State Forest, Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak), and Waterbury Reservoir.

Distance: 4.4

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Estimated hiking time: 3-4 hours

Out of the Woods: Before you go, charge your breakfast battery with a hearty specialty omelet, locally made bread, and muffins at Juniper’s Fare. Plan for mountain hunger with trail snacks, and stop in to the Cabot Cheese store, or Cold Hollow Cider Mill for crackers, sausage, cheese, and a wide assortment of specialty foods, made in Vermont and packaged to go. Cap off the day with Prohibition Pig’s craft beer on tap, classic cocktails, and finger-lickin’ barbecue. Settle in to the forested retreats at Stowe Cabins in the Woods or the chalet-style Grunberg Haus B & B Inn and Cabins, which translates from Austrian to “Green Mountain House.”  

 

Stowe Pinnacle Trail

Aptly dubbed a pinnacle, this trails leads to a panoramic crest overlooking several Green Mountain ranges including the high peaks of Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, which is also known as the “couching lion.” On the way, see if you can spot the rock sculpture or the teepee near the trail, an expression of hikers’ spirit and their appreciation for the mountain’s natural environment. Break out of the woods near the bald top and as you take in the views; trace the Stowe Mountain Road down to the white steeple, an icon of Stowe Village. 

Distance: 3.6

Difficulty: Moderate

Estimated hiking time: 2-3 hours

Out of the Woods: End the day reflecting with a jug of cider and an assortment of local cheese from Cold Hollow Cider Mill, nibbled from the in-room Jacuzzi tub at the private and accommodating 1850 River House B & B. Or, if you’re with the family, enjoy a good old-fashioned Italian night at Zachary’s Pizza.

 

Camel’s Hump: Monroe Trail

Known for its distinctive hooked silhouette, Vermont’s third highest peak offers breathtaking views of fold upon fold of Green Mountain ranges and the Northern New York’s Adirondacks. Untouched by towers or other infrastructure, Camel’s Hump is one of only three Vermont mountains on which you will find alpine tundra that is similar to growth 1,000 miles to the north. The Monroe Trail winds up the eastern flank of the mountain. Look for the cemetery in which Will Monroe is buried, and a plaque dedicated to the crew of a B-24 Liberator bomber which crashed there in mountain fog in 1944.

Distance: 6.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Estimated hiking time: 4-6 hours

Out of the Woods: Stop by KC’s Bagel Café for a trail lunch to go, including sandwiches stuffed with fresh deli meats and veggies, an extensive variety of spreads, and KC’s “energy” bagel packed with nuts, seeds, and cranberries. As the day draws to a close, enjoy a post-climb brew from the Craft Beer Cellar.  If you’re up for a taste odyssey, make reservations at the acclaimed Hen of The Wood, or find a more casual slice of paradise at The Pizza Shoppe. Watch the sun set from one of the two decks at the well-appointed White Birch Cottage, nestled into the forest at the feet of Camel’s Hump.

 

Mount Mansfield Ridge: Sunset Ridge Trail, Underhill State Park

Underhill State Park lies on the western slope of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak at just under 4,300 feet. Of the Park’s four side trails the Sunset Ridge Trail from the CCC Road is the most popular point of access to Vermont’s Long Trail, which traverses the summit.  Once on top, follow the Long Trail North to “The Chin” of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest point.

Distance: 6.5 miles 6.6

Difficulty: Difficult

Estimated hiking time: 4-6 hours

Out of the Woods: Maxi’s Restaurant serves all three meals and is famous for eggs benedict in a variety of flavors including Florentine, salmon, and pulled pork. In the evening, sip a glass of wine, munch on a cheese or charcuterie board, and sample some pate at Cork Wine Bar & Market, or select a bottle of wine to take back to your room at Bolton Valley Resort or the Best Western Plus hotel.

 

Long Trail South to the Chin: Mount Mansfield State Forest

This section of the Long Trail approaches Mount Mansfield from the northern part of the Waterbury region, in Smugglers’ Notch. The trail heads south through the forest, with a steep ascent near the Green Mountain Club’s Taft Lodge, one of the oldest and largest shelters in the Long Trail system. It follows through Eagle Pass and leads to the ascent of “The Chin,” the highest point on Mount Mansfield as well as the highest in Vermont.  

Distance: 4.6

Difficulty: Difficult

Estimated hiking time: 4-6 hours

Out of the Woods: Pick up a trail lunch on the way at the Apple Core Luncheonette and Brew at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, prepared with all-natural deli meats, local greens, and Cold Hollow’s own spreads, sandwiched between your choice of house-made white or sweet potato bread. At the end of the day, continue the adventure with flavorful cuisine comprised of locally-sourced meats, cheese, and produce at Café Provence on Blush Hill, and retire to your room on site at the Best Western Plus.