Hops & Hikes: Five Vermont Trails & Après-Hike Beers

This fall we’re celebrating Hops & Hikes! Because we believe every outdoor adventure should be rewarded with a cold beverage—after you’re done, of course! And whenever possible, we like to keep it local.

Here in Vermont, you can find a brewery near most trailheads. So it’s easy to pair local hikes with local brews. Read on for five Vermont day hikes paired with our favorite après-hike brews from the nearby area.

A big thank you to the Green Mountain Club, a nonprofit that maintains Vermont’s 273-mile Long Trail, for the trail suggestions—and for making these amazing hikes possible. This fall, when you buy any Hops & Hikes featured beers, we’ll donate 10% of your purchase to the Green Mountain Club, and Farrell Distributing will match the donation!

Stowe Area

Taylor Lodge via Lake Mansfield Trail, Stowe

  • 4.6 mi round trip, approx. 750 ft elevation gain 

The Lake Mansfield trail gradually rises near the edge of Lake Mansfield before turning away from the lake to ascend at a slightly steeper grade. The trail brings you through a gorge, past the piped water source, to a beaver pond and views of the north wall of Nebraska Notch. Continue until you reach Taylor Lodge, a 4-sided shelter with room for 15. There is also abundant space for tents if the shelter is full.

Pair with:

Burlington Area

Camel’s Hump Summit via the Burrows Trail

  • 4.8 mi round trip, approx. 2,461 ft elevation gain

Starting from the trailhead at the end of Camel’s Hump Road in Huntington, follow the blue blazed Burrows trail as it steadily climbs to the hut clearing. From the hut clearing, follow the Long Trail for the final push to the summit. The rocky, open summit provides breathtaking 360-degree views.

Pair with:

Killington Area

Pico Peak or Killington Peak via Sherburne Pass Trail

  • Pico – 5.5 mi round trip, approx. 1,860 ft elevation gain 
  • Killington – 11.6 mi round trip, approx. 2,085 ft elevation gain 

From the parking area on Route 4, the Sherburne Pass Trail gradually climbs 2.7 miles to Pico Camp, a small four-sided shelter. Ski trails allow for nice views along the way. From the camp, follow the Pico Link trail 0.4 miles up to Pico’s open summit. Continue on the Sherburne Pass Trail past Pico Camp to its intersection with the Long Trail at Jungle Junction. Follow the LT south as it gradually climbs for 2.5 miles to Cooper Lodge, the highest shelter on the Long Trail at 3,850’. From Cooper Lodge, take the 0.2 mi Killington Spur to climb steeply to the summit. This final spur trail is the hardest part of the whole hike, but leads to an open summit with 360-degree views so the reward is substantial!

Pair with:

Okemo Area

Ludlow Mountain (Okemo), Mount Holly

  • 6.0 mi round trip, approx. 1,943 ft elevation gain

If you are in the Rutland or Killington area but want to avoid the crowds around Killington and Pico, head just half an hour south to hike Ludlow Mountain, more commonly known as Okemo due to the ski resort on the eastern slopes of the mountain. Follow the blue-blazed Healdville Trail as it gradually climbs to the summit of Ludlow Mountain. At the summit, you will find a fire tower that provides 360-degree views.

Pair with:

Middlebury Area

Skyline Lodge, Ripton

  • 5.2 mi round trip, approx. 1,460 ft elevation gain

Follow the blue-blazed Skylight Pond Trail as it gradually rises and switchbacks to the Long Trail. Go straight onto the spur trail down to Skyline Lodge and Skylight Pond. The shelter is a lovely place to sit and watch the sunrise over the pond. The pond is also a great spot to see some wildlife!

Pair with:

A Good Honest Pint, an English-style ESB (“extra special bitter”) by Drop In Brewing in Middlebury, VT

Happy trails!

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