Hikes on the Appalachian Trail look so adventurous and appealing in movies and on television that I just want to strap on my backpack and get the adventure started. I think hiking is one of those things that everyone thinks they can do, but soon after starting on the hike they figure out that it is a bit more challenging than first imagined.
I researched the best day hikes on the Appalachian Trail and was in awe of the spectacular beauty in southern Vermont. My goal is to get a few day hikes under my belt and slowly progress to the more extended hiking adventures. Check out the six must-have ingredients for a great hike.
Hiking is not only a great way to connect with nature, but it is an excellent way to stay physically active. Click here to learn about a few other health and wellbeing tips to incorporate into your daily routine to stay healthy.
Best Day Hikes on The Appalachian Trail
#1 Bromley Mountain (Manchester Center)
The Boswell Botany Trail at the Southern Vermont Art Center in Manchester Center appeals to me because I love to look at and learn about different plants. Before starting the hike, you may take a stroll on the pathways lined with over 30 types of ferns, and 80 varieties of wildflowers. The plants are labeled for identification for those of us that like to take ideas back home. Also, don’t forget to visit the 250-year old sugar maple in the art center’s sculpture garden.
The hike starts about six miles east of lively Manchester where you will find a vast array of designer outlets in the village. Pick up Green Mountain National Forest maps and get advice at the US Forest Service Information Center.
#2 Clarendon Gorge & Cold River
This trail runs from Wallingford Road to Clarendon. Moreover, it seems like a good option because it offers several different landscapes without having to do any significant climbing. The elevations are low enough that you avoid the unpredictable weather that sometimes comes with the higher elevations, and you don’t have to navigate over rough terrain.
I love the idea of getting to walk in and out of wooded areas, through grassy areas and on actual roads. It is suggested that you bring along an identification book to help you recognize trees and flowers that you come across. Also, bring a camera and a sketch pad if you are artistically inclined.
#3 Little Rock Pond & White Rocks (Danby VT)
This trail begins in Danby Vermont. It is about nine miles long and may take up to six hours to complete. I like this trail because it is one of the more popular sites on the Appalachian Trail in southern Vermont so you will have the opportunity to meet lots of other hikers. If you are seeking solitude on your day hikes, then this in probably not the trail for you.
The walking is not difficult, which is good because it allows you to observe and immerse yourself in the wooded environment and the geology that is stunningly exotic and beautiful.
#4 Stratton Mountain & Stratton Pond (Between Arlington and Manchester)
Stratton Mountain is the tallest peak in southern Vermont. Both day hikers and backpackers can find multiple hiking options on the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail section between Arlington and Manchester. Stratton Mountain and Stratton Pond are two gems you will discover during your hike.
A classic day hike will take you to historic fire tower views on the summit of Stratton where you will marvel at sweeping 360-degree views! Moreover, if that does not sound spectacular enough, prepare to gaze upon the sparkling waters of Stratton Pond. This remote pond is a welcome site after you enjoy a leisurely walk through gently rolling woods.
Preparing for Day Hikes on The Appalachian Trail
Mount Stratton is where the ideas of the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail originated. Both of these trails are considered to be two of the country’s most famous long-distance hiking trails. Learn about the history and overview of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.
Before you start your adventure, here are some tips for beginner day hikers.
The Green Mountain Club offers wonderful resources to plan your trip. Please plan ahead and prepare when going for any hike, and always carry a guidebook and map when heading out to the trails. Happy Hiking!