best hikes in vermont

Leah Fishman

If you're into crisp fall foliage, whirling waterfalls, sweeping views, foothill farms, summit swims, and petting *all* the trail dogs, Vermont hiking is for you. If you're not into those things, I mean, who even are you? The best part about Vermont hiking is that it's accessible: every climb is doable in a day (besides the Long Trail, we'll get to that later), with promises of beer flights and yummy local bites when you safely make your way back down. I've spent the last 10 years testing Vermont's trails so that you don't have to & here are some of my faves:

The Long Trail Northern Terminus, Killington Peak, Mount Horrid, Mount Pisgah, Elmore Mountain, Mount Philo, Stowe Pinnacle, Sterling Pond Trail, Mount Mansfield, Camels Hump

  • The Long Trail Northern Terminus in Jay, United States

    Image of The Long Trail Northern Terminus on Seeker
    • leah

      Vermont's Long Trail is...Vermont's longest trail...stretching 272 miles from the southern border in Williamston, MA to the tippy top of the state in North Troy (basically Canada). Tons of people step foot on the Long Trail, but few get to claim themselves "End-to-Enders" — someone who's hiked the whole shebang. The average thru-hike takes about 20-30 days depending on weather conditions and skill level, and the best hiking months are August and September if you want to avoid the black flies and incoming snow. 272 mile point-to-point, 65,370 ft elevation gain.

  • Killington Peak, United States

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    • leah

      Most folks hit Killington in the winter with a board or skis, but the resort actually has 12 miles of immaculate hiking trails that are basically unoccupied in the summertime. There are lots of ways up, but I recommend going trail E to A if you're in it for the views (2.2 miles, 1640ft gain), or directly up trail A if you're looking for a straight up workout (1.1 miles, 1640ft gain). Wobbly legs at the summit? Take the cute-as-heck K-1 Express Gondola back down.

  • Mount Horrid, United States

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    • leah

      Don't be turned off by the name — Mount Horrid is anything but. My sneaky secret spot on the Long Trail (2.1 mile out-and-back with about 1000ft gain), Horrid is a steep but quick scramble up with *incredible* views at the top. Most folks don't touch foot on Horrid unless they're passing through via the Long Trail, so you're usually guaranteed to have the summit to yourself. The top part of the trail is closed late Fall - early Spring due to ice and mud, so save this one for a warm sunny day.

  • Mount Pisgah, United States

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    • leah

      A hidden gem in the North East Kingdom. Trek the 4.1 miles up Mount Pigsah for amazing views , rent a kayak from Clyde River Rec (they'll even drop them off for ya), and pop in the Willoughby Lake Store for local goodies. If you have more than a day, primitive camp sites are a'plenty. 4.1 mile out-and-back, 1653ft gain.

  • Elmore Mountain, United States

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    • leah

      If you're looking to escape the tourists, especially in leaf-peeping season, head out to Elmore. The trail is steep, but well maintained. You know you've reached the summit when you see the fire tower: hike up the stairs and it's the perfect cherry-on-top of this awesome climb. The surrounding Elmore State Park is quiet, serene, with easy beach access and lots of local Vermonter vibes, eh? 5.4 mile loop with about 1500ft in elevation gain.

  • Mount Philo in Charlotte, United States

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    • leah

      Philo may be the easiest hike on this list, but it also has one of the biggest payoffs. An essential, gentle trek for families, dogs, and tourists. Quick 20 minute drive from Burlington. Major views of the Champlain Valley, including the Lake Champlain shoreline and the Adirondacks in the distance. Pack a picnic with drinks, kick back, and watch the sun set. 1.9 mile loop with a 538ft gain.

  • Stowe Pinnacle in Stowe, United States

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    • leah

      Come for the views, stay for the pups. Stowe Pinnacle is famous for its resident celebrities: two sweet and mischievous Golden Retrievers, Baylor and Sampson, who summit the mountain by themselves on the daily. If you google Stowe Pinnacle, you'll find hundreds of pics of the boys sunbathing and taking selfies. Sadly, Baylor passed away in November 2020, but you can still find Sampson at the peak, and he loves to give hugs. 3.7 out-and-back with a 1600ft gain.

  • Sterling Pond Trail in Stowe, United States

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    • leah

      Sterling Pond Trail is a quick and fun 2.3 mile out-and-back with a 900 ft gain. The trail ends at the beyond-idyllic Sterling Pond and offers sweeping views over Smugglers' Notch. Bring a towel and your swimmies (or, if you're like me, forget them every time and just hop in in your undies!)

  • Mount Mansfield, United States

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    • leah

      Take a swing at Vermont's highest peak! There are a few ways up: the popular Loop Trail (7 miles, 2,880 ft gain), the scenic Sunset Ridge Trail ( 6 miles, 2,690 ft gain), the hell-like Hellbrook Trail (3.7 miles, 2,683 ft gain) — you can even take the Stowe gondola ($30) to the Cliff Trail (1.3 miles, 800 foot gain) if long climbs aren't your thing. Spikes recommended for fall and spring— the summit is covered in snow & ice. For post-hike views, cruise through Smugglers' Notch and stop in Stowe for a beer at The Alchemist.

  • Camels Hump, United States

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    • leah

      Vermont's crème de la crème: Camel's Hump is a challenging-but-totally-achievable 6 mile out-and-back trail with 2,578 ft elevation gain. There are three trailheads: Monroe, Dean and Burrows. Burrows is the most popular and also my fave because of the many sneak peaks of the summit on the way up. Dog friendly, crowded on weekends (I can't recommend a sunrise hike enough), and conveniently located near Stone Corral Brewery for a quick flight and bite on the way back into town.