Five Family-Friendly Hikes

View from Owl's Head in Vermont

A great family outing is to take a hike on a shady Vermont trail. We have compiled a list of five family-friendly hikes in Northern Vermont that Blue Cross employees recommend.

View from Stow Pinnacle
Stowe Pinnacle
View from Owl's Head in Vermont
Owl's Head
View from Mt Pisgah
Mt. Pisgah

In the dog days of August, a great family outing is to take a hike on a shady trail that leads to a summit with cool breezes and a spectacular view. Here are five family-friendly hikes in Northern Vermont that our employees recommend.

  1. Stowe Pinnacle: This short hike (2.8 miles roundtrip) rewards you with a panoramic view of the Green Mountains with Mt. Mansfield and the village of Stowe at the center. From Vermont Route 100 south of Stowe, turn onto Gold Brook Road. At the fork, keep left to stay on Gold Brook Road. Continue straight on Stowe Hollow Road, then turn right on Upper Hollow Road. Parking and trailhead are on the left just past Pinnacle Road.
  2. Owl’s Head: Out of all the hiking trails in the Groton State Forest network, the .25 mile trail up Owl’s Head is probably the shortest and results in a grand view that includes Kettle Pond. From Barre, take Route 302 East and turn left onto Route 232 just before reaching Groton village. Go 8 miles and turn right onto the Owl’s Head access road. From the picnic area at the end of the road, an easy trail scrambles up through the woods to the overlook.
  3. Spruce Mountain: From a distance, Spruce Mountain (4.2 miles roundtrip) in Plainfield looks similar to an Egyptian pyramid, with a wide base and a steady, gentle ascent to a small summit. At the summit there is a fire tower, which you can climb to get above the trees for a 360-degree vista. From Barre, take Route 302 East and turn left onto Reservoir Road. Continue on Brook Road, then at a fork bear right onto East Hill Road. Turn right onto Spruce Mountain Road and follow to the trailhead at the end.
  4. Elmore Mountain: The trail up Elmore Mountain (3.2 miles roundtrip) leads to a fire tower, which provides unobstructed views of the Green Mountains to the west and Lake Elmore below. After your hike, you can take a dip in the lake from the sandy beach at Elmore State Park. From Morrisville, take Route 12 south to Elmore State Park on the right. The trail begins in the park.
  5. Mt. Pisgah: The jewel of the state’s Northeast Kingdom region is undoubtedly Lake Willoughby, a long and deep lake carved out by glacial activity with a distinctive two-mountain gap at its south end. The South Trail up Mt. Pisgah (3.4 miles roundtrip) leads to several overlooks of steep cliffs down to the water. From Lyndonville, take Route 5 north to West Burke, and then continue on Route 5A about 6 miles to parking and the trailhead on the right, just before reaching the lake.

If you are looking for additional hiking information, an excellent resource is the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont, published by the Green Mountain Club.