This story originally appeared in Seven Days and has been edited by Hello Burlington
Burlington is where urban vibes and trailhead signs blend seamlessly. Right around the corner, you'll find trails perfect for a casual stroll or full day adventures. For those craving epic terrain, the vast Green Mountains are close by, ready for exploration and for those looking to stick close to the city, we've got you covered!
EASY DOES IT.
Nebraska Notch Trail, Underhill, Mount Mansfield
This 4.4-mile round tripper, some of which runs along the Long Trail, features gentle grades, wooded terrain and spectacular views of Lake Mansfield. Hike out to Taylor Lodge, a four-sided shelter that makes for an ideal lunch spot. "It's not too steep ever, so it's a great trail for families," says Potter. The path passes beaver ponds, so you're apt to see some wildlife, too. Potter says to plan on two to four hours, depending on your hiking speed.
Mount Philo State Park, Charlotte, VT
Mount Philo State Park is one of Vermont’s most relaxing, yet rewarding hikes. Located off of Route 7 in Charlotte, VT. This mountain is a capable trail for most adventurers, stretching only 3/4-mile to the summit and featuring a paved path for vehicles, this park is an excellent destination to explore Vermont’s fall foliage, autumn bird migrations, or sunsets over Lake Champlain. Situated atop of the mountain is a rustic lodge capable of seating up too 60 people, in addition to a small campground on the north side of the park.
HUFFING & PUFFING.
Burrows Trail, Huntington, Camel's Hump
"The nice thing about it is that it is a fairly moderate trail, but you actually get to summit one of our 4,000 footers," explains Potter of this five-mile hike up Vermont's third-highest peak. In addition to 360-degree views, "it has a sustained steepness," she continues. "But there are no real technical sections — no scrambling over big rocks." The trail is also blue-blazed and well traveled: "If you're not an expert in wilderness navigation, it's pretty straightforward," she says. Camel's Hump is one of three Vermont peaks that boast rare, even endangered alpine flora — so look, but don't touch. "We emphasize that people stay on the trails and try to step on rocks," Potter explains. Plan on three to five hours, round trip.
OH, HELL NO.
Hell Brook Trail, Cambridge, Mount Mansfield
What, you thought a trail named Hell Brook would be easy? This short but steep hike ranks as one of the most difficult in Vermont. "It's only about three miles round trip, but it goes straight up," says Potter. Get ready for nonstop inclines, hand-over-hand scrambles, and giant rocks embedded with rebar and ladders to keep you from falling off the face of the Earth. "It can be slippery when it's wet," Potter warns — and it's pretty much always wet due to the brook that runs alongside the trail. "It's called Hell Brook for a reason," she adds. "It's exciting." The trail brings climbers to an open rock outcropping, Mansfield's "Adam's Apple," which connects to the Long Trail and the summit — the highest in Vermont. Potter says to plan on the equivalent of a five- to six-mile hike.
DOWNTOWN HIKING AND TRAILS NEARBY BURLINGTON
For those who love to tread where the woods meet downtown, Burlington's city trails are a dream. These paths promise pockets of nature amidst urban an atmosphere. Here's a collection of short walks, all close to downtown Burlington, that provide a well maintained trail with great access to Fall Foliage.
Intervale CenterBack to Top of List
A testament to Burlington's commitment to sustainable agriculture, The Intervale Center is a magnificent locally maintained trail system. Stroll through gardens, farmlands, and woods, and witness Burlington's local food system in addition to the wonders of Winooski River wildlife.
Winooski River Walk and Casavant TrailsBack to Top of List
Walking here is like flipping through a storybook of Burlington's rich history. The Winooski River, above the Winooski Dam turns against remnants of old mills and offers an accessible walking path along the banks of the Winooski River. With urban views of Downtown Winooski on one side and wooded forests on the other.
Ethan Allen Park: The Pinnacle and Ethan Allen TowerBack to Top of List
This isn't just a trail; it's a trip back in time. Named after Vermont's Revolutionary hero, the park leads you to the Pinnacle, a stone structure that offers a panoramic views of the Champlain Valley. If you happen to stroll through in the summer months, you can access the top of the Ethan Allen Tower for 360 degree views of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains.
Centennial WoodsBack to Top of List
A microcosm of Vermont's varied habitats, from wetlands to evergreen forests. Even in this downtown escape, there are trails to explore. An excellent morning stroll or destination for your pup.
Colchester PondBack to Top of List
Colchester Pond, set amidst Vermont's rolling hills, is a must-visit during Fall. This 3.1-mile moderate loop trail, has diverse terrain from packed earth to bog bridging. Perfect for hiking, paddling, and birding, and for those with four-legged friends. They're welcome too, as long as they're leashed.
- Pack a map. Because getting lost should be a choice, not an accident.
- Dress with flair, but with the weather in mind. Mountain tops have their own climate parties!
- Basic first aid, water, and snacks — as essential as a good tune on a long drive.
- Share your adventure plans. In Burlington, we look out for each other.
- Embark and return as one. Together, we shine brighter.
- Know when to turn back. Every path promises a new story, and we’d love for you to tell them all.