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Blog :: 05-2014

Three Vermont Hiking Trails with Perfect Views

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Hiking is a great way to experience the beauty of nature and get in touch with your surroundings. Many of the hiking trails in Vermont offer exactly that experience - natural beauty, untouched forests, and spectacular views. Between the mountains and the huge expanses of forest, Vermont is a great place to take a hike, and these three Vermont hiking trails offer some of the best views you'll find anywhere in New England.

1. Hiking to the Stratton Mountain Fire Tower

Mt. Snow from Stratton Mountain FiretowerFire towers are built to achieve a commanding view of their surroundings, so its no surprise that the Stratton Mountain fire tower offers hikers an impressive vista at the end of their climb. Situated at the top of the tallest mountain in southern Vermont - 3,936 feet - the Stratton Mountain fire tower is impressive both for its high vantage point and for its station on the Long Trail, which experienced hikers will know is also part of the Vermont leg of the Appalachian Trail.

The portion of the AT/LT that leads to the Stratton fire tower is a 7.6 mile round-trip that climbs almost 2,000 feet, so plan to spend a day at it and keep a watchful eye on the weather. If you aren't interested in going the long way, you can also get to the fire tower hiking trail by either climbing Stratton Mountain's ski slopes, or by taking Stratton's gondola up the mountain and then taking a short hike to the top. Whichever way you choose to get there, the views are definitely worth it. On a clear day you can see into five states from atop the 55-foot tower.

2. Bald Mountain Hiking Trail

For intermediate hikers looking for a great view without an extreme challenge, Bald Mountain is a great short day's hike. Hikers can take two different approaches to the peak of Bald Mountain, following hiking trails from either Bennington or Woodford. The Bennington side of the trail is a little longer and steeper, at approximately 7.2 miles round-trip and around 2,160 feet of elevation change. The Woodford side is shorter and less dramatic, at about 4 miles and 1,580 feet of climb.

In either case, the payoff at the end of this trail is excellent. Views from Bald Mountain stretch far away to a distant horizon. There are also other places to catch additional vistas along the trail - several rock promontories along the way offer panoramic scenes of the Green Mountains and nearby valleys.

3. Haystack Mountain Hiking Trail

Near Wilmington, VT, you'll find our third hike, which summits the imposing Haystack Mountain. For a mountain of its size, the hiking trail to the top of Haystack Mountain is surprisingly gentle and friendly to most intermediate hikers, and is easy accessed from Chimney Hill. Over the 4.8 miles of the trail, you'll encounter elevation change of about 1,020 feet, which isn't a lot considering the mountain itself is more than 3,000 feet tall. There are a few sharp inclines to give your legs a workout, but overall this hike shouldn't take more than a few hours, making it perfect for an afternoon or an adventurous picnic. Haystack Mountain

At the top, you'll be greeted by views of the surrounding mountains and towns, including Mount Snow and our own Wilmington. You'll also see Haystack Pond very close, but don't be too tempted to cool your feet in it. Since the town of Wilmington uses it as a water reservoir, the pond is unfortunately off-limits. Most likely, though, the view (and the cooler aire at the top) will be refreshing enough, and it will almost certainly make this short-but-sweet hiking trail worth the trip.

Of course these aren't the only great hiking trails in southern Vermont. However, they do offer some of the best views, and they're also all conveniently close to our own Chimney Hill rental homes. These summer rental houses are the perfect place to kick off your hiking boots and enjoy the Vermont air with all the comforts and amenities of home.

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  1. Patty Killion on

    […] features. They are tall, imposing, and virtually everywhere. During the winter it’s easy to experience the beautiful views and thrilling descents on one of Vermont’s many downhill ski slopes, but in the summer the […]

    What To Do in Vermont This Summer: Festivals, Fairs, and Fun

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    If you're coming this way on vacation this summer and wondering what to do in Vermont during the warmer months, we recommend that old summer staple: the outdoor festival. Vermont's warm summer days and beautiful scenery are perfect for festivals and fairs, and we can hardly think of a better way to spend an afternoon or weekend than enjoying the weather and people that gather for these celebrations. We've put together a list with some old favorites and some new finds for you to enjoy all summer long.

    Vermont Fiddlehead Festival

    FiddleheadsFrom its name, you might think this is a gathering of bluegrass lovers and violinists, but you'd be wrong (but only partly). A fiddlehead is actually a plant - specifically the stem of the ostrich fern that grows in New England and the Canadian Maritimes. Some even call fiddleheads the state vegetable of Vermont due to their popularity and their delicious taste. And whether you've grown up with them your whole life or just heard about them for the first time right here, you'll enjoy all that is planned at the First Annual Fiddlehead Festival in Dover, Vermont. Merchandise, activities, and even a fiddlehead cookoff are on the roster, and so are some of Vermont's finest fiddlers (the musical kind) so you'll never be at a loss for what to do in Vermont at this fest.

    Wanderlust Festival

    Feeling a little left-of-center? Do you have an itch to go out and experience something completely new and different? Wanderlust might be for you. A multi-day festival at Stratton Mountain, Wanderlust features a combination of yoga, music, spectacular performances, lectures, healthy food and drink, and outdoor activity. It's the perfect combination of activities to enrich both body and soul, and a great place to try some more unusual varieties of yoga (SUP yoga or acro-yoga for adventurous-types). Come with an open mind, and leave with one that's totally satisfied.

    Strolling of the Heifers

    If you think food tastes better when its grown on a farm that you can see from your front door, the annual Strolling of the Heifers might be right up your alley. A celebration of local food and farming, the Strolling of the Heifers takes place every year on the streets of Brattleboro, Vermont. The events include a street festival, a bike race, and the famed parade of cattle and other farm animals for which the festival is named. Whether you're here to see the animals, pick up some local art or products, or simply enjoy the local foods, the Strolling of the Heifers is a weekend of family-friendly Vermont fun.

    Vermont Blueberry Festival

    blueberriesHeld each year in Wilmington, the VT Blueberry Festival is one of the state's most well-loved summer events. Since 2008, lovers of fruit have put this event on their annual list of what to do in Vermont, and never taken it off.  Plenty of blueberry-themed activities and events fill the weekend, including a Blueberry Parade, a family-friendly block party, and the Deja Blue car show, which features "unique, classic, unusual and vintage cars and trucks." Come alone or with the whole family - but we suggest that you don't wear white!

    Mount Snow Brewer's Festival

    This year marks the 20th year that New England's best craft breweries and its biggest beer fans converge on Mount Snow. Food, drink, music, and camaraderie prevail at this weekend-long event. This year over 30 breweries from across the Northeast will be present, tapping almost 90 different kinds of beer. The Mount Snow Summer Brewer's Festival is one of the biggest and most popular events of its kind in the region, and you won't want to miss it.

    Of course, just because you're going to a summer festival doesn't mean you can stay there. Give yourself some extra room to spread out and enjoy the fun by staying in a Vermont summer rental home from Chimney Hill. You'll get more space and more amenities than a regular hotel, plus access to the Chimney Hill clubhouse and pool!

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    1. Patty Killion on

      […] greenery and mountain air make it an ideal host for summer festivals where like-minded folks can gather to learn from each other and share their talents. Musicians are […]
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