Camel's Hump State Park, Vermont
This climb to a magnificent summit is rightly considered to be one of Vermont’s best hikes. Many trails grant access to the summit, and several can be combined to make numerous loop possibilities. We decided to just take the Monroe Trail up and back, for a roundtrip hike of 6.8 miles. The trail to the 4,083 ft summit is classic New England hiking. Switchbacks are pretty much nonexistent, and rock hopping is the normal mode of transportation.
As you make your way through the open, deciduous forest, take note of the many shades of color found on the bark of the Paper Birch. From far away the bark appears to be only white, but as you get closer you will notice the various shades of pink, yellow, and brown intertwined below the surface. You might also notice, on some of the trees, rows of evenly spaced holes caused by the yellow-bellied sapsucker, a type of woodpecker. Even at foot level the scenery is gorgeous. Peeking out from the undergrowth you will see a variety of colorful mushrooms, ranging from yellow, brown, white, and red with spots, they put you in mind of a goblin forest. But the best views are yet to come! Once above treeline the views really open up, and on a clear day you can see for miles. Lucky for us it was just such a day, and the views were unlimited. To the west we could see the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain; to the south the Green Mountains; to the east the White Mountains were visible in the distance; and to the north Mount Mansfield dominated the skyline. It was awesome! We were now 2,600 ft from where we started and just one hour and forty minutes older.
The summit of Camel’s Hump is ranked as one of the finest peaks in Vermont, and we can see why! Besides it rugged trails and outstanding views, it even has one of the state’s few alpine vegetation zones. These tiny plants are threatened by heavy hiker use, so help protect them by walking only on the rocks. We enjoyed the windy summit for about 30 minutes and then made our way back down the mountain, ending our hike an hour and twenty minutes later, for a roundtrip hiking time of two hours and thirty minutes. If you can only do one peak in the Green Mountains, which was the case for us, make this hike your destination! Absolutely stunning!