Best Hikes in Green Mountain National Forest (NH)

Green Mountain National Forest Overview

The Green Mountain National Forest encompasses nearly 400,000 acres in southwestern and central Vermont. Characterized by striking scenery that combines rugged mountain peaks with quintessential Vermont villages, the Forest is an attraction for many visitors. In addition to the best hikes in Green Mountain National Forest described below, it includes sections of the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail. The Long Trail, which runs the entire length of the state, is America’s first long-distance hiking trail. Green Mountain National Forest is administered in Rutland, VT, along with the Finger Lakes National Forest in New York.

StateNew Hampshire
Nearest Metro AreaAlbany, NY
Area Size399,151 acres
EstablishedApril 25, 1932
Hiking Trails900 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Green Mountain National Forest

(*** = Best hikes in Green Mountain National Forest)

Blue Summit Trail – 6.3 miles out and back
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Mount Equinox, Photo by Doug Kerr

A challenging but satisfying 2800′ climb up to Mount Equinox, the tallest summit in the Taconic Range, and Lookout Rock. Hikers will find a visitor’s center at the summit of Mount Equinox – don’t be persuaded by the easy drive to the top, the uphill workout is worth the effort.

Bucklin Trail to Killington Peak*** – 7.2 miles out and back
Killington Peak, Photo by petersent

This is a phenomenal and challenging hike to a scenic peak in the Green Mountains. Killington Peak is also the 2nd highest point in Vermont. The Long Trail and AT come within a 1/4 mile of the summit making it a very popular option in the summer months. Riding an easy, gradual incline for the first 2 miles, the trail gets increasingly steep as it approaches the summit.

Deer Leap Trail – 3.1 mile loop
Deer Leap, Photo by Eliot

Take the Deer Leap Trail as it climbs quickly to a small ridge and through an open birch forest to another junction at 0.9 miles. The trail to the left is the Deer Leap Overlook Trail, which is 0.25 miles long. This trail brings you to a rock outcrop with dramatic views of the Coolidge Range and Sherburne Pass. Return the way you came to the Deer Leap Mountain Trail junction. Continue north at the junction and you will soon descend steeply to a small brook, and then climb over Big Deer Leap Mountain. The trail then descends gradually to its northern junction with the Appalachian Trail (1.8 miles). Turn right here and follow the Appalachian Trail North (in a southerly direction) back to its junction with the Sherburne Pass Trail (2.6 miles), and the parking lot on US Rte 4 (3.1 miles).

Haystack Mountain Trail*** – 4.8 miles out and back
Haystack Mountain, Photo by Amy Meredith

The trail follows a gated road on a steady moderate incline to Binney Brook ravine and then begins to steeply climb to the southern ridge of Haystack Mountain. From the rock outcropping near the summit, you can see Mount Snow to the north, Harriman Reservoir to the south, and an eastern view down to Haystack Pond and into the Deerfield Valley. On a clear day, you can see Mount Monadnock in southern New Hampshire.

Long Trail to Bromley Mountain – 6.0 miles out and back
Bromley Brook
Bromley Brook, Photo by Shannon McGee

This trail follows a rocky course through a mixed northern hardwood forest.  From the summit there are excellent views in all directions. In particular, Stratton Mountain is to the south and Mount Equinox is to the west.

Long Trail to Mount Abraham*** – 6.3 miles out and back
Looking North
From Mt Abraham on the Long Trail, Photo by sf-dvs

Mount Abraham is one of Vermont’s five 4000 footers and this section of the Long Trail, from the Lincoln Gap, travels the south slope to its summit. Some low-level scrambling is required to get up to the top of Mount Abe but the 360 degree views are some of the best in the state. Continue on the ridge towards Lincoln Peak another 1/2 mile for some extra worth while hiking. Note on the way to Lincoln Peak, there is a site of a 1973 plane crash that sits just off of the trail. 

Lye Brook Falls Trail*** – 4.6 miles out and back
Lye Brook Falls - Manchester, Vermont
Lye Brook Falls, Photo by Doug Kerr

The trail is marked with blue blazes and enters the 18,122-acre Lye Brook Wilderness following Lye Brook. Utilizing old logging railroad grades and old woods roads, the trail travels up a steady gradual slope. A century ago, this area had been heavily logged and railroads, charcoal kilns, and sawmills dotted the landscape. The land has reverted back to its natural state, but you can still find the remains of many of these turn-of the century industries.  The spur trail, marked by a high wooden sign at 1.8 miles on the right, leads to the 125-foot high Lye Brook Falls.

Prospect Rock Trail – 3.5 miles out and back
Manchester, Vermont
Prospect Rock Trail, Photo by Allan Harris

The trail is steep and high-clearance vehicles occasionally drive the road. At 0.8 miles the trail leaves the brook at an old spring. The trail then meets up with the Appalachian/Long Trail at about 1.7miles. The AT/LT follows the road to the Lye Brook Wilderness boundary. But just past this junction with the AT/LT, there is a spur trail on the right that leads 200 feet to the open ledge of Prospect Rock. The ledge has a fine view of the Manchester valley. To the west is the prominent Mount Equinox, the tallest mountain in the Taconic Range. The lesser peaks of Little Equinox and Mother Myrick Mountain to the northwest are also visible. 

Spruce Peak Trail – 4.8 miles out and back
Spruce Peak
Spruce Peak, Photo by Rudi Riet

The trail passes through hardwood forest, large boulders, and crosses numerous streams. Winding along a ridge with gradual ups and downs, the trail eventually crosses Old Vermont 30. A 300′ spur off of the AT/LT summits at Spruce Peak and offers a framed vista of the northern Manchester valley and a limited section of the Taconic Mountains. 

Featured Image: Appalachian Gap, Photo by James St. John

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