I volunteer as the Vermont event coordinator for the Outdoor Women’s Alliance (OWA) New England grassroots team, but over the past couple of months, my events kept getting canceled due to snow storms. We finally got out this month for a hike up Mount Ascutney. Since it’s mud season, most of the trails are not in good shape, so we hiked up the toll road instead (still currently closed to vehicle traffic). I’ve been up Ascutney before on trails so I knew the views were good. Mud season hiking is hard since options are limited, but Ascutney’s toll road is a great option for gaining some elevation and seeing some views.
The road gains 2250′ in 3.7 miles so we started going up right away. We could hear, and usually see, a stream flowing nearby for most of the way up and we had to stop and sit by it for a snack, of course.
It’s still early spring in Vermont so the trees are just starting to bud. There were multiple picnic areas and some newly built cabins on the way up that we stopped to check out too. One spot was perfect for lunch, with a table and view.
When we got to the top of the road, the trail leading to the summit from there looked totally dry so we decided to check it out and see if we could make it to the summit with no mud. We took the Slot Trail .6 mile to the summit and encountered a little bit of hard-packed snow before the summit, but no mud in the transition from dry trail to snow. The soil seems to be fairly sandy so it must have good drainage.
The tower at the top has four signs that tell you what mountains you’re looking at so that was neat to see since I’ve climbed a lot of the mountains around. We enjoyed the views for a bit then had another snack before taking the Weathersfield Trail down to a hang glider platform to lay around and enjoy the sun some more.
Eventually, it was time to get moving, so we took the Hang Glider Trail back to the top of the road and started down. We saw a huge porcupine walking next to the road near the bottom. On the way up, we had seen a dead porcupine so it was nice to see one actually moving. It didn’t seem particularly threatened by us and just slowly wandered away.
It was a beautiful, warm day and Mount Ascutney State Park is a great park. I’d definitely recommend the new cabins we saw for rentals and the picnic pavilion for parties.