It has been a hundred years since Benton MacKaye published his vision for what would become the Appalachian Trail connecting Springer Mountain in Georgia with Mount Katahdin in Maine, crossing over Stratton Mountain along the way.
And it was the view from Stratton that inspired his vision. That same panorama fanning from the summit of southern Vermont’s tallest peak had also been behind James P. Taylor’s plan to create the Long Trail a decade earlier, the 272-mile footpath running over the spine of the Green Mountains.
Today, both storied footpaths share a 100-mile route that includes Stratton, Bromley and scores of easily accessible fall hikes.
Finishing with dinner and drinks in Stratton Village is a bonus. Farm-to-Table is definitely a step up from those trail MREs. And you earned a Vermont craft brew.
One of our favorite fall hikes starts with a gondola ride to the summit for the 1.6 mile roundtrip hike to the historic fire tower. Another way to reach the summit is along a 7.6 mile loop, with an elevation gain of 1,751 feet, accessed from Stratton-Arlington Road.
For less elevation gain, try the Stratton Pond Trail. A wooded, nearly level 3.7 mile hike to the largest pond on the Long Trail. A shelter provides the perfect picnic spot surrounded by wildflowers. Listen for the loons.
The Long Trail, America’s oldest long-distance footpath, is divided into sections, with hikers often choosing to complete them one at a time over several summers. The path from Manchester to Killington runs 49.8 miles; from there the Long and Appalachian trails begin to separate at the Maine Junction.
The Stratton region offers scores of options extending from and beyond these two famed trails. Nearby you’ll discover Equinox Pond, Lye Brook Falls, Jamaica State Park, Ball Mountain Dam, the West River Trail, Grout Pond … or simply enjoy a walk in the woods with hiking boots optional.
Check out a few of our recommended fall foliage hikes. The Green Mountain Club offers resources and trail updates. You can time your trip for peak fall color by following the Vermont foliage map. Go ahead. Take a hike.
Posted September 28, 2021 by Myra Foster
Ready to hit the trails? Plan Your Fall Vermont Weekend Getaway to Stratton