Stratton Mountain is the highest point on the Long Trail in southern Vermont. There is a fire tower on top that offers hikers an opportunity to view three states, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Somerset Reservoir and Mt. Snow are to the south, Glastenbury Mtn. is southwest, and the Taconics, including Mt. Equinox, the highest peak of this range, lie to the west. Mt. Ascutney is to the northeast and Grand Monadnock in New Hampshire is to the southeast.
On clear viewing days, Killington Peak and the Coolidge Range are visible in the distant north. There is a seasonal caretaker at the summit. Stop and talk to these people...they have a great deal of knowledge about the history of the area.
This mountain is a relatively easy walk and so has a high degree of traffic on it especially during the summer and then again during the fall when the leaves are turning.
Best route to the trailhead is off Route 100 to the Arlington-West Wardsboro Road (AKA Kelly Stand - the street sign reads Stratton-Arlington Rd). From either the north or south watch for the sign (very small sign) for the turn to Stratton Village. A left if heading north and of course a right turn if going south.
Head west on Arlington-West Wardsboro Road for about 6.8 miles to a large parking area on the right and the trailhead. The Trailhead is at the north east corner of the lot.
Watch for the entrance to Grout Pond on the left and the Daniel Webster Memorial on the right. The road changes over from paved to hard packed dirt...you'll know you're close.
No permits are required on the mountain and no fee is charged to park your car. This parking area is one of the safest lots to leave your car overnight (very few incidents of vandalism). I have been frequenting this area for over 30 years without a problem.
When To Climb
Stratton Mountain can be hiked in all seasons. It is best in early spring and early fall when foot traffic is light. Vermont is notorious for it's "mud season" in spring when the rains come. Trails can often become streams.
Camping is prohibited on Stratton Mtn. to protect its vulnerable vegetation and soils.
There is camping available on the northern side of Statton Mountain at Stratton Pond. Tent platforms and a relatively new shelter are near or at the pond. A fee is charge in season and a care taker is in residence.
Stratton Pond is the largest body of water on the Long Trail. It also receives the heaviest annual overnight use of any location on the Trail, with over 2000 campers at the pond between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.
Camping is permitted all along the Appalachian Trail as long as you do not build a fire and locate your site 200 feet from the trail and all water sources.
The Green Mountain Club maintains a website:
This site is an excellent resource for trail conditions and updates.
Stratton Mtn. claims a unique role in hiking trail history. James P. Taylor was on the mountain when the idea of the Long Trail was born, and the Appalachian Trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye on it's summit.
Along the trail on the walk in are remnants of an old farming community. Cellar holes are still visible and the choked out remains of small orchards.
If you stay at Stratton Pond see if the caretaker can tell you the story of the suspicious way Willis Ross cabin burned or if he/she knows of the spirit of the lady that walks the south shore at nights and sings across the lake.
Appalachian Trail / Vermont Long Trail:
All Distances Here Are Measured From The Parking Area
From the parking lot on the Arlington-West Wardsboro Road (Kelly Stand Road) (0.0 miles), at the site of Grout Job, an old lumber camp, the Long Trail proceeds north into the woods and continues over gently rolling terrain towards Stratton Mtn. Soon after crossing the gravel International Paper Road (1.4 mi.), the AT/LT begins to climb gradually, then ascends switchbacks to pass a vista to the right(2.0 mi.).
Climbing to, then following, a level bench, the AT/LT reaches the col (2.7 mi.) between Stratton and Little Stratton Mtns., and then ascends another series of switchbacks. The trail passes a spring (3.2 mi.), and continues its ascent to the fire tower on the southern peak of Stratton Mtn. (3.4mi.).
The total elevation gain is 1706 feet.
At the summit, the AT/LT bears left just beyond the tower. Straight ahead, a wide, unblazed, old service road follows the ridge 0.7 mi. to the North Peak of Stratton Mtn. Descending a series of switchbacks, the Trail passes a short spur trail (4.0 mi.) to a spring and continues to a fine view (4.5 mi.) west to Stratton Pond, the Lye Brook Wilderness and Mt. Equinox. The LT continues downhill at a gradual grade to recross the IP Road (5.8 mi.). Beyond the road, the LT descends gently, soon reaching a woods road, which it follows for a short distance before crossing a small knoll and then a bridge over a brook (6.4 mi.)
Beyond the brook, the AT/LT levels out before reaching it's junction with the Stratton Pond Trail (6.9 mi.) The Stratton Pond Trail is an alternate route between the Arlington-West Wardsboro Road and Stratton Pond. This is where the new lean-to is located. Contrary to most of the trail maps of the area ALL the lean-tos on the lake are gone. There was a time when the pond boasted 3 lean-tos and a cabin. Fire claimed most of them if not all of them.
Descending, the LT shortly reaches Willis Ross Clearing at the southeast corner of Stratton Pond and the junction with the Lye Brook Trail at the shore of Stratton Pond (7.0 mi.). Willis Ross Camp, destroyed by fire in 1972, was located in the clearing to the right. This is a fantastic spot to sit and enjoy the pond. Loons are often heard on this pond and I've seen beaver here in the past. It's a very serene setting.