I joined the Green Mountain Club‘s Burlington Section for a hike of the Monroe Skyline, 11.6 miles from Lincoln Gap to Appalachian Gap, named for Professor Will Monroe who led the creation of this piece of trail. It’s a beautiful section and one that gets recommended a lot to folks looking for a ridgeline day hike. I’ve done this piece of Long Trail before on an overnight hike but was excited to do it as a day hike since I love one-day traverses.
We met at Appalachian Gap, left some cars, and drove down to Lincoln Gap to start hiking north. It’s a steep but not technical trail up the mountain so we made good time moving up. We stopped at Battell Shelter for a snack and were pleasantly surprised to see the stream flowing there since a lot of the water sources on the trail have dried up in the recent drought.
From Battell, we kept heading north and the trail got steeper and slabbier as we approached the summit of Mount Abraham at 4006′. We were leapfrogging other groups on the way up and there were already a bunch of people at the summit so we didn’t linger.
Just past the summit, we took a herd path to the west to see the remains of a plane crash from the 1970s. There was a surprising amount of the plane still there. Although moss was growing on it, there’s still seating and other fabric material that hasn’t decomposed yet.
The herd path made a little loop past more wreckage and then back onto the Long Trail. We made our way over Little Abe and stopped on Lincoln Peak at 3975′ where we took a break in the clearing to see gliders being launched overhead.
From there, we continued north, crossing Nancy Hanks Peak at 3812′ and Cutts Peak at 4022′ before reaching our next 4,000 footer – Mount Ellen at 4083′. There was another clearing and ski lift where we took a break for lunch just after the summit.
Heading down from Ellen, we exited the National Forest, stopped at Orvis Lookout but skipped the side trip to Glen Ellen Lodge, traveled over General Stark Mountain at 3662′ and then stopped for our next break at Stark’s Nest.
From Stark’s Nest, it’s the home stretch to Appalachian Gap. We stopped briefly at Theron Dean Shelter to enjoy the view and then started the steep descent to the road. There are several sections of rebar and ladders on both sides of the shelter to get you through the really steep slabs.
It was a beautiful and surprisingly non-buggy day for early July. This is a great day hike for the area. You have to stretch your legs a bit, and it’s steep to get up to Abraham, but once you’re on the ridge, it’s a relatively gentle walk.