Elmore Mountain
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:856 VT 12, Lake Elmore
Hours:9 a.m. to sunset, Memorial Day weekend–Columbus Day weekend
Fee: $3 adults, $2 children ages 4–14

Elmore State Park, 802-888-2982, vtstateparks.com/htm/elmore.htm

Bathrooms: Available at Bath House
Water/Snacks: Available at Bath House

USGS Morrisville quad; vtstateparks.com/pdfs/elmore.pdf

Hike this moderate ridge-top loop to a fire tower with open ledge views, boulder caves to explore, and a balancing rock.

The five-story fire tower that is perched on the summit of Elmore Mountain offers exhilarating views!

The trails to Elmore Mountain have been upgraded into a fun 3.2-mile loop,
with ledgy views and a five-story fire tower to climb! While hikers of most ages
will enjoy the trail, parents with toddlers may find reaching the summit a challenge as there are steep, wet sections of trail and because the fire tower has very few safety railings. This trip describes a clockwise route up the steeper, wetter sections and down the more gradual sections.

From the trailhead parking, continue past the gate along the hiker-only road that switchbacks gradually up the east side of the ridge. At 0.3 mile, the trail intersects Elmore Mountain Trail; continue straight through this intersection, following signs for Fire Tower Trail.

Continue up Fire Tower Trail for 1.0 mile to a rocky ledge viewpoint to the east. This is a great spot to eat lunch as the fire tower itself has limited space picnicking. Families with toddlers may choose to turn back at this point.

The next 0.25 mile to the summit is the more challenging part of the loop. The route climbs over some steep, rocky sections, some with hand and foot-holds carved into the rock itself. Past these, the trail reaches a T intersection with Elmore Mountain Trail; continue straight to the fire tower on the left. From the top of the tower, look for the Worcester Range to the south and Mount Mansfield—the highest point in Vermont—to the west.

To descend, hike back down Fire Tower Trail to the T intersection with Elmore Mountain Trail. Veer left here to continue your clockwise loop. About 0.5 mile down the ridge, an interesting boulder field on the right begs to be explored. Our family spent a good part of an hour playing and hiding in its shady grottoes. Continue on down the trail to the aptly-named Balancing Rock, a great example of a glacial erratic.

The blue-blazed trail winds its way down the spine of the ridge, through soft hemlock forests and several mossy glens and wetlands. Eventually it reconnects with Fire Tower Trail at the intersection you passed on the way up. Turn left here and continue down the road to the trailhead.

Plan B:

The grassy campground at Elmore State Park makes a wonderful place to stay and explore, with swimming, waterfalls, and hiking nearby. (Note: Dogs are not permitted on the park’s beach.) The nearby Cabot Creamery in Cabot offers fine factory tours with unlimited free samples of delicious Vermont cheese at the end. Numerous waterfalls and swimming holes are within a 20-minute drive: Terrill Gorge in Morrisville and Jeff ’s Falls and Brewster Gorge, both in Johnson.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Nearby Morrisville is full of restaurants and stores mostly within a stone’s throw of VT 100, including the Bee’s Knees, which serves locally sourced foods from its own farm, along with live music and children’s sing-alongs.


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