Green Mountain National Forest

Hiking - Middlebury & Rochester Ranger Districts

The Long Trail winds over the main ridges of the Green Mountains for 265 miles between the Massachusetts and Canadian borders, 53 of which cross the Middlebury and Rochester Ranger Districts. Seventy shelters are maintained along the trail for overnight hiking and backpacking.

The GREEN MOUNTAIN CLUB, formed in 1910, is the "founder, sponsor, defender and protector" of the Long Trail system. The Club is responsible for developing policies and programs aimed at the preservation, maintenance, and proper use of the Long Trail.

Trail descriptions are divided into three rating categories:

Easy: Most of these trails are relatively short (less than two miles long) with only a few steep pitches and many flat or gentle sections where you can catch your breath. The vertical climb is normally less than 700 feet.

Moderate: Most trails rated "Moderate" are less than three miles long. They climb fairly continuously uphill with occasional "rest" sections. Steep pitches are common. The vertical climb is normally between 700 and 1,500 feet. If you're not in good physical condition, you should plan a half to a full day for the round-trip and allow for frequent rest stops.

Difficult: Trails rated "Difficult" tend to be longer than three miles with vertical climbs exceeding 1,500 feet. There are very few "rest" sections. You should attempt these trails only if you are in excellent physical condition.

Trails 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10 are located within the Breadloaf Wilderness. In keeping with the wilderness ethic of self discovery, ratings for these trails are omitted. Please keep your group size to ten or fewer people. Use minimum impact camping techniques and respect others' desire for the solitude and quiet that this Wilderness offers.

1. Battell Trail - Travel north on Quaker Street from the Lincoln Village Store. Take the first right onto Elder Hill Road, Forest Road 350. After about 1.2 miles bear straight past a road to the right then after crossing a beaver meadow, bear right at the "Y" in the road to reach the trailhead. After reaching the Long Trail, follow it north 0.1 mile to the Battell Shelter. Rated: Moderate to Battell Shelter, 1,170 vertical feet; length: 2.3 miles.

2. Abbey Pond Trail - This trail begins on the east side of Vermont Route 116, about 5.5 miles north of East Middlebury. You'll soon pass a cascading mountain stream. Just past the first stream crossing on the left through the oak woods is a nice ledge-view of the Champlain Valley. Abbey Pond itself supports an interesting community of marsh plants and animals. Rated: Moderate, 1,160 vertical feet; length: 2 miles.

3. Cooley Glen Trail - From the Lincoln Gap road in Lincoln, turn south onto Forest Road 54. After traveling approximately four miles, turn left onto Forest Road 201 and continue 0.3 mile to the trailhead parking area. This trail meanders along the New Haven River, then on to Cooley Glen Shelter on the Long Trail. Length: 3.1 miles.

4. Emily Proctor Trail - This trail starts at the same point as the Cooley Glen Trail. It crosses a small river three times before reaching the Long Trail at Emily Proctor Shelter where a nice view awaits you. A short high water re-route bypasses two downstream river crossings. Length: 3.7 miles.

Cooley Glen/Emily Proctor Loop - For a long day hike or an overnight trip, take the Cooley Glen Trail, the Long Trail South from the Cooley Glen Shelter, and then the Emily Proctor Trail. Loop trail is 13 miles.

5. Clark Brook Trail - Follow Forest Road 55 from Vermont Route 100 in Granville, two miles to the Clark Brook Trailhead. The trail meanders along the stream then ascends to the Long Trail. After crossing the second bridge, you will enter the 21,480-acre Breadloaf Wilderness Area. When you reach the Long Trail, hike north 0.4 miles to a vista of the Upper White River Valley at the top of Mt. Roosevelt. Length: 3 miles. Please don't wash your dishes in the spring. The next person might not like second-hand oatmeal or the taste of detergent.

6. Robert Frost Interpretive Trail - This trail begins at a parking area on the south side of Vermont Route 125, 2.1 miles east of Ripton and 3.8 miles west of Middlebury Gap. This trail commemorates Robert Frost's poetry; several of his poems are mounted along the trail in woods and fields. Blueberries and huckleberries grow in an old field at the far end of the trail. The Forest Service maintains all of the old fields along this trail with prescribed fire to preserve the scenic open appearance of the area. Rated: Easy, 30 vertical feet; length: 1.0 mile. The first 0.3 mile across a beaver pond boardwalk out to the Soul Branch of the Middlebury River is barrier free and suitable for wheelchairs.

7. Burnt Hill Trail - Take Forest Road 59 north from Route 125 near Breadloaf Campus. This trail leads east past a junction with the Norske Trail on its two-mile run to the Long Trail. Take the Long Trail north 0.5 mile to Boyce Shelter; length: 2.5 miles.

8. Silent Cliff Trail - From Vermont Route 125 at Middlebury Gap take the Long Trail north for 0.4 mile. Turn right and follow the blue blazes another 0.4 mile to Silent Cliff, which affords good views of Vermont's Green Mountains. Length: 0.8 mile.

9. Texas Falls Nature Trail - From Vermont Route 125, 3.1 miles west of Vermont Route 100 in Hancock, and 3.2 miles east of Middlebury Gap, turn north to Texas Falls Recreation Area. Across the road from the first parking area is Texas Falls. Just across a rustic footbridge, the nature trail begins. Bearing left from here the trail meanders along Texas Brook toward the Texas Falls Picnic Area. Bear right before crossing the paved road to reach the upper section of the nature trail that takes you back to the Falls. Rated: Easy, 70 vertical feet; length: 1.2 miles.

10. Hancock Branch Trail - From the parking lot at the Texas Falls Recreation Area, the trail climbs gradually, following the Hancock Branch of the White River. Rated: Easy, 320 vertical feet; length: 1.3 miles.

11. Robert Frost Country - From Vermont Route 125 at Middlebury Gap, take the Long Trail south past Pleiad Shelter (to reach Lake Pleiad, take a blue-blazed side trail to the west). The Long Trail crosses several Middlebury College Snow Bowl ski trails. From the upper ski trails you'll see Pleiad Lake and the mountains to the northeast. To the west from other ski trails are panoramas of Ripton and the area proclaimed in 1983 by Governor Richard Snelling as "Robert Frost Country." Rated: Moderate, 500 vertical feet; length: 1 mile.

12. Silver Lake Trail - This trail leads to the Falls of Lana Picnic Area and Silver Lake Recreation Area. Park on the east side of Vermont Route 53, 0.2 mile south of Branbury State Park (or for more secure parking you may pay the entrance fee and park at Branbury State Park). From the highway, the trail follows a service road passing under a large pipe that brings water from Silver Lake to a power plant on Vermont Route 53. After about 0.5 mile you'll reach the junction with the Rattlesnake Cliff Trail on a sharp curve in the road near a toilet building. Straight ahead, across Sucker Brook are the Falls of Lana Picnic Area, Rattlesnake Point, Oak Ridge, Moosalamoo, and North Branch Trails. Bearing right at this junction takes you to the north end of Silver Lake (near the dam). Rated: Moderate, 640 vertical feel; length: 1.6 miles.

13. Rattlesnake Cliffs Trail and Aunt Jennie Trails - Completed in 1977 by the Youth Conservation Corps and rebuilt in 1983 by a Rutland Community Correction Center Crew, this trail begins a 7.75-mile loop linking the Falls of Lana Picnic Area, Rattlesnake Point, Mt. Moosalamoo, and Moosalamoo Campground. Beginning at the Falls of Lana Picnic Area, it first passes the lower end of the Aunt Jennie Trail then passes the junction with the North Branch Trail. After climbing for about one mile (and after passing the upper end of the Aunt Jennie Trail) it forks to the left (to the right is the Oak Ridge Trail). The trail forks again. Left leads to the south Rattlesnake Cliff with a spectacular view of Silver Lake and Lake Dunmore. The right fork leads to a smaller westfacing set of cliffs. Rated: Difficult, 870 vertical feet; length: 1.4 miles. Please note: The cliffs trail and the cliffs themselves along with the Aunt Jenny trail are often closed from March 15 to August 1 to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Please check with the ranger station for information on current closures.

14. Oak Ridge Trail - This trail begins at an intersection with the Rattlesnake Cliffs Trail listed above. At the Oak Ridge/Rattlesnake Cliffs trail junction, bear right (north). The trail follows a gentle ridge offering views of Lake Dunmore, Lake Champlain, and Lake George. It crosses the Keewaydin Trail then climbs to the two summits of Mt. Moosalamoo, where there are good views to the east and south. From here, it descends past the Moosalamoo Trail, and continues north with more good views to the east and west. It crosses two logging roads and continues north to another old road and a telephone line, which follows west to a parking area on Vermont Route 125. Rated: Difficult, 1,830 vertical feet; length: 6.6 miles.

15. Moosalamoo Trail - This trail begins at a parking lot near the entrance to the Moosalamoo Campground on Forest Road 24. It crosses the north branch of Voter Brook and climbs to the Oak Ridge trail, just north of the summit of Mt. Moosalamoo. Take the Oak Ridge Trail 0.3 mile to the summit of Mt. Moosalamoo. Rated: Moderate, 1,530 vertical feet; length: 2.0 miles.

16. North Branch Trail - This trail begins at a parking lot near the entrance to the Moosalamoo Campground on Forest Road 24. It crosses the Keewaydin Trail. It then descends following the north branch of Voter Brook and Sucker Brook. It finally emerges into a clearing and a junction with the Rattlesnake Cliffs Trail. To the south is the Falls of Lana Picnic Area and the Silver Lake Trail. Rated: Moderate, 590 vertical feet; length: 2.3 miles.

17. Goshen Trail - From Vermont Route 73, 1.6 miles east of Forest Dale, follow Forest Road 32 north for 2.3 miles. Turn left here onto Forest Road 27, and follow the "27" signs to the trailhead parking area. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot and connects with the Leicester Hollow Trail just south of Silver Lake Campground. Rated: Easy, 270 vertical feet; length: 0.6 mile.

18. Silver Lake Interpretive Trail - This trail starts under the power lines just north of the dam on Silver Lake. It passes below the bottom of the dam and follows the west shore of the lake. After passing the Chandler Ridge Trail, follow the shoreline to the Leicester Hollow Trail (you'll find good views of Mt. Moosalamoo from the south end of the lake). At this junction, turn north to the Goshen Trail (left, past the campground, through the picnic area back to the dam). Rated: Easy, 40 vertical feel; total loop length: 2.5 miles.

19. Leicester Hollow Trail - Travel 0.8 mile east from Forest Dale on Vermont Route 73. Just past the Churchill House Inn, take the first road to the left (Forest Road 40), cross the Neshobe River. After 0.5 mile you'll reach a parking area and gate. Through the gate, the trail soon passes the junctions of the Minnie Baker and Chandler Ridge trails. Near its north terminus, it passes the Silver Lake Interpretive Trail and Goshen Trails then the Silver Lake Campground. Rated: Moderate, 470 vertical feet; length: 3.5 miles.

20. Chandler Ridge Trail - From the parking area on Forest Road 40 (directions in #19 above), follow the Leicester Hollow Trail for 0.3 mile past the Minnie Baker Trail. Just past the first concrete bridge, turn left onto the Chandler Ridge Trail. With many nice views, this trail ends at the Silver Lake Interpretive Trail on the west shore of Silver Lake. Rated: Moderate, 720 vertical feet; length: 4 miles to Silver Lake.

21. Minnie Baker Trail - This trail starts from Vermont Route 53, 1.5 miles north of Forest Dale. From the parking area, the trail climbs over Chandler Ridge to the Leicester Hollow Trail. Rated: Easy, 310 vertical feet; length: 1.2 miles.

22. Sucker Brook Trail - From Vermont Route 125 near Breadloaf Campus, turn south onto Forest Road 67. From the parking area at the end of the road, turn east from an old log landing. The trail first passes Sucker Brook Shelter then reaches the Long Trail. Take the Long Trail north toward Worth Mountain for several great vistas. Rated: Moderate to shelter, 400 vertical feet; length: 1.2 mile; Difficult to summit of Worth Mountain, 1,140 vertical feet; total length: 3 miles.

23. Mt. Horrid Great Cliff Trail - From Vermont Route 73 at Brandon Gap, take the Long Trail north to a blue-blazed spur trail that leads out to the Cliffs. The trail climbs steadily upwards but the excellent view at the top makes the trip worthwhile. From March to August of some years, the cliffs are closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Rated: Moderate 620 vertical feet; length: 0.4 mile.

24. Chittenden Brook Campground Loop - From Vermont Route 73, 5.2 miles west of Rochester, take Forest Road 45 2.2 miles to Chittenden Brook Campground. The trail begins near the fee station in the campground. It follows a logging road for one mile, then crosses Chittenden Brook and follows the brook back down to the campground at site #7. The trail intersects with the Chittenden Brook Trail, 1.5 miles from the Long Trail. Rated: Easy, 240 vertical feet; length: 1.7 miles.

25. Chittenden Brook Trail - From Vermont Route 73, 5.2 miles west of Rochester, take Forest Road 45 0.6 mile to trailhead parking area at the foot of a steep hill. The trail climbs along Chittenden Brook 3.7 miles to the Long Trail. The trail will intersect with a network of cross-country ski trails; watch for signs and blue blazes. Another 2.3 miles north on the Long Trail will take you to Vermont 73 at Brandon Gap, passing Sunrise Shelter and good views of Mt. Horrid. Rated: Moderate, 1,570 vertical feet; length: 3.7 miles.

26. New Boston Trail - In Chittenden bear right past the Mountain Top Inn onto Forest Road 99. After about two miles you will come to a large cleared area near a tubular steel gate. (The first mile of this road is very rough and not suitable for low-clearance vehicles.) The trail to David Logan Shelter begins here. The Long Trail is 0.2 mile past the shelter. Rated: Moderate, 740 vertical feet; length: 1 mile.

27. Lincoln Gap West Vista Trail - There is a small roadside parking area 0.2 mile west of Lincoln Gap. There are two vistas available here. The first is a roadside view. To reach the second, follow a very short trail directly out of the parking area through a stand of white birches to a beautiful view of the Breadloaf Wilderness and South Lincoln from the top of a south facing ledge. Rated: Easy, 120 vertical feet; length: 690 feet.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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