Our Favorite Day Hikes

Our Favorite Day Hikes

Tucked between the Taconic and Green Mountain Ranges, the Manchester area offers a laundry list of outdoor opportunities. Our favorite day hikes will lead you to pristine ponds, pretty waterfalls, and jaw-dropping vistas. Perfect for this time of year!

Day Hike to Equinox Pond

“If it’s a rainy day go to the falls. If it’s a sunny day, get to the top of something,” says Anne Houser of Manchester’s Mountain Goat. “Bromley is one of our favorite destinations for its big open views. Good at sunrise, sunset, and everything in between. We love Merck Forest because there’s so much happening there. We love Lye Brook Falls, right here in town. It’s a woodsy trek with a beautiful waterfall at the end. North of Bromley, Little Rock Pond is one of the best kid-friendly hikes. High elevation path, easy walking. You can swim in the summer and play with frogs and salamanders.”

Mount Equinox.
At 3,825 feet, this is the highest peak in the Taconic range. This fairly strenuous hike includes some excellent vantage points. Trailhead is found behind Burr & Burton Academy. From RT. 7A, turn on Seminary Ave. Locate trail in upper parking lot. Follow the blue blazes; through orange gate, climb for 2.8 miles. At junction, follow signs to Lookout Rock or to the parking area at the top of the mountain.

5.8 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 2870 feet. 4-5 Hours.

Day Hike to Equinox Mountain

From the top of Mount Equinox

Bromley Mountain.
3,260 ft. with a 360° view. On the AT/LT. Park at the AT/LT parking lot on rt. 11/30, 5 miles to the east of Manchester. Follow the trail to the summit. A less traveled approach from the north is accessed by continuing to Peru on Rt. 11, turn left into Peru, left across from Hapgood store, left on north road, left again on Mad Tom Notch road, follow this dirt road up to parking area on left. Head south on AT/LT.

5.2 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 1460 ft. 3-4 Hours.

Day Hike Bromley Mountain

Bromley Mountain views.

Prospect Rock.
A quick hike to a rock outcropping with a great view of Manchester and Mount Equinox. From Rte. 11/30 east, turn right on East Manchester Rd. then take an immediate left onto Rootville Rd and follow it to the little parking area next to the water tower. Follow the open jeep trail up to the AT/LT crossing at 1.5 miles. Prospect Rock lookout is 40 yards off to the right just past this intersection.

3.6 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 1000 ft. 2.5 Hours. *Great Family Hike.

Lye Brook Falls.
A shorter hike to one of the highest waterfalls in Vermont. From Rt. 11/30, turn onto Richville road, turn left on East Manchester road at P.O, go under the overpass, turn right onto Glen Road, go over small bridge (excellent swimming hole here!) and go straight after bridge when Glen Road goes left, follow to end. Follow trail up next to Lye Brook, turn right onto spur trail to falls, main trail continues to Stratton’s Bourne Pond.

5.4 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 1000 ft. 2.5 Hours.

Day Hike Lye Brook Falls Manchester

Manchester, VT’s Lye Brook Falls . Photo by CrazyZouave.

Stratton Mountain.
3,936 foot peak. Reach the summit via the ski trails on the front side or the more remote hike from the town of Stratton. Drive west on Stratton Arlington Rd. to the AT/LT parking area. Follow the trail for 3.5 mi. to the fire tower. On the way out, loop past Stratton Pond and hike back on the Stratton Pond Trail. Hike one mile east on Kelly Stand Rd to return to the AT/LT lot.

11.0 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 1900 ft. 9 Hours.

day hike stratton fire tower

View from Stratton’s fire tower. Photo by Hubert Schriebl.

Baker Peak.
This loop hike offers great views from the open summit at 2,850 feet. Drive north on Rte 7 and turn right on South End Rd, four miles past East Dorset. Parking area on the left at .5 miles. Hike up the Lake Trail and turn onto the Baker Peak trail at 2 miles. At the LT crossing turn left (north) to the summit. Walk the LT south to Griffith Lake, if desired, then back on the LT to return via the Lake Trail.

9.0 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 2350 ft. 5-6 Hours.

View from Baker Peak. Photo © Jessica Quinn.

Little Rock Pond.
An easy Long Trail hike to a small pond with a trail around the shoreline. Access the trail on Forest Rd 10 at the AT /LT parking lot. Hike north 2 miles to Little Rock Pond. When you get there, you will find good swimming rocks on a little trail to the left. Hike back the same route or for a more strenuous hike with some great views, loop back on the Green Mountain Trail to finish on Forest Rd 10 just west of the parking lot.

4.0 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 350 ft. 2 Hours. *Great Family Hike

vermont wildflowers

Haystack Mountain.
A short hike to a beautiful 360° view of the Taconics. From Rte. 30 in Pawlet, drive 1.8 miles north and take a right on Waite Rd. Drive about 1 mile, look for Tunket Rd on left. Park on Waite Rd. Hike ½ mile up Tunket Rd. to Nature Conservancy trailhead on left. This moderate hike rolls gently up through the forest to a steeper section just before the summit at 1.5 miles.

3.0 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 1183 ft. 2 Hours. *Great Family Hike.

Day Hikes Merck Forest

Merck Forest views. Flickr Photo by Diane Cordell.

Antone Mountain Merck Forest.
Merck Forest & Farmland Center in Rupert is a non-profit environmental foundation. Admission is free. Donations are accepted! The extensive trail system is open for hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. From the nature center and kiosk at the front gate, there are several hiking options(maps available). Mount Antone is the tallest on the property at 2600 ft. and has a great view looking out towards the Adirondacks. The rustic farmstead at the base specializes in heritage breeds of horses, cows, pigs, and sheep and is worth a look. The trails on the preserve are predominantly old roads so the going is hilly, but not too rugged. The hike to Mt. Antone is 2.5 miles each way following Old Town Rd from the farm, to Antone Rd on the right at the top of the hill. Follow the same trails back or chose another route back to the farm.

5 Miles Round Trip. Elevation Gain 600 ft. 3 Hours. *Great Family Hike.

This roster of MVT’s Best Day Hikes courtesy of The Mountain Goat, our amazing outdoor gear and goods expert. Visit them at 4886 Main Street, across from the Northshire Bookstore and stock on hiking supplies, official trail guides, and more!

Equinox Pond Summer


Questions, comments, and suggestions welcome about anything and everything Manchester VT!

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