Green Mountain Gambols
Distance: 6.8 miles round-trip
Time: 6 hours
The peak of Stratton Mountain (elevation 3,936 feet) is said to be the birthplace of the A.T. The views from this mountain sparked the idea of an eastern continental trail in the mind of Benton MacKaye. Sitting in a tree, admiring the panorama, MacKaye said the experience left him with the impression that he was"atop the world, with a sort of planetary feeling." MacKaye later went on to publish his concept of a continual footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The idea ignited interest, and by 1937 his dream was on its way to fulfillment.
The recent re-routing of the trail over Stratton Mountain provides hikers with a beautiful climb and outstanding views of the Green Mountains and surrounding countryside. From the observation tower at the summit, you can see Somerset Reservoir and Mount Pisgah to the south, Glastenbury Mountain to the southwest, the Taconics to the west, Ascutney mountain to the northeast, and Mount Monadnock to the southeast (the latter two in New Hampshire).
Less than 1 mile away and to the north, the North Peak of Stratton and the Stratton Chair Lift can be reached by a side trail. The Starship XII gondola operates daily (weather permitting) from June through early October.
From the parking area on Arlington West Wardsboro Road (also signed as Kelley Stand Road), follow the A.T. into the woods. After passing a beaver pond, you will begin to ascend gradually, crossing an old woods road.
At mile 1.1, pass by cellar holes and the well of an old farmstead. In another .25 mile, cross a dirt road and begin your ascent of the southwestern ridge of Stratton Mountain. The trail follows switchbacks and reaches the bench below the summit of Little Stratton Mountain in another .75 mile. The trail follows the bench to a col between Little Stratton and Stratton Mountains, ascending steeply by switchbacks.
At mile 2.8, pass a piped spring, and at mile 3.4 reach the tower at the summit. After the spring, keep an eye out for an outstanding view of Grout Pond to the south. During the season (May through October), a caretaker with the Green Mountain Club lives in the cabin atop Stratton. The caretaker is often available to provide hikers with information about the area.
Return via the A.T., heading south to the parking area.
The A.T. crossing at Arlington West Wardsboro Road is 13.2 miles east of Arlington, Vermont.
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Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication