Home Β» 10 of the Best Hikes in Manchester, Vermont; All Levels!

10 of the Best Hikes in Manchester, Vermont; All Levels!

As an avid hiker living in Connecticut and New England all my life, I always love weekend trips to Vermont whether it’s for a cozy winter weekend, a fall foliage tour, or a summer getaway. While there’s a lot to hike in Vermont, I’ve found myself returning time and time again to the town of Manchester, where I find more and more trails to explore.

black dog on rock in front of lye brook falls in manchester vermont

This list of 10 best hikes in Manchester, Vermont, could be even bigger (and will be expanded on someday!) because of Manchester’s location right in Vermont’s special Green Mountain National Forest.

And as if the 400,000 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest isn’t enough – you’ve got Glastonbury Wilderness just below Manchester and White Rocks National Recreation Area above.

woman and black dog on snowy hike at prospect mountain in manchester vermont
woman in blue winter jacket looking out from antone mountain in vermont

Needless to say, there’s a plethora of trails to choose from and if hiking in Manchester, Vermont, you will not get bored or run out of ideas! The hikes on this list are are either in Manchester or within less than a 20 minute drive and if you are willing to explore further, you will find no shortage of beautiful, classic Vermont hikes.

Come explore this Vermont town that has it all; cafes, a quintessential and charming downtown, unique shops, art galleries, and white-steepled churches, nestled at the base of the Green Mountain National Forest and incredible hikes.

(And if you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to stay – check out my favorite Airbnb cabin with mountain views!! β›°β€οΈπŸ‘)

This hiking list is organized from shortest (mileage-wise) to longest. There is a trail for everyone visiting Manchester here!

β›°10 Must-Do Hikes in Manchester, Vermont πŸ₯Ύ

1. Emerald Lake, 1.5 miles

A special 20-acre lake with an emerald green tint! And you can take the Emerald Lake Trail linked above that hugs the western side of the lake.

Emerald Lake State Park is nestled in a deep valley between the Taconic Mountains to the West and the Green Mountains to the east, rising up steeply on either side of Emerald lake. I want to come back and visit this one in the summer and see the green waters for myself as it was winter and covered in snow when we were here.

  • Miles: 1.5 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 26 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Easy
  • Parking: Click to navigate here: 43.28044, -73.00487, Parking in Emerald Lake State Park off Emerald Lake Lane
  • Special features: Easy stroll along Emerald Lake, take in the reflections in early morning! πŸ’¦

2. Equinox Pond via Flatlander Pass, 2.5 miles

equinox pond hike in winter in manchester vermont
black dog with winter coat in front of equinox mountain in manchester vermont

What a perfect walk to stretch the legs after a long drive (or we did this hike before having to drive home for hours!) and to let the dogs have some exercise.

For the first 0.9 miles, you’re walking through a beautiful forest setting on a not too technical and mainly flat trail.

Then you’ll come upon Equinox Pond, which, I thought was much more beautiful and impressive than the pictures on AllTrails made it look!

Stop and take in the scene as the forest opens up and reveals the beauty of Equinox Pond and the mountains (Equinox Mountain) as its backdrop. You can then do the loop around the pond (0.7 miles total) or turn around and head back.

  • Miles: 2.5 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 196 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Easy
  • Parking: Click to navigate here: 43.16273, -73.07891, Small parking lot off W Union St
  • Special features: Walk along Equinox Pond with Equinox Mountain in background! β›°

3. Styles Peak via Long Trail, 2.9 miles

I haven’t done this trail yet but at just 15 minutes from Manchester Center and only a few miles to the view, I wanted to include it for you to try!

Located in Peru Peak Wilderness, this trail runs along the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail beginning from Mad Tom Notch Road. According to AllTrails, the top is partially wooded but there is a nice rocky outcropping you can walk out onto that has a nice view.

And an AllTrails review I liked: “One of my favorite hikes. Steep ascent to Styles and then enchanted boardwalk through to Peru Peak. Bathed in golden foliage this evening. Stunning.”

  • Miles: 2.9 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 941 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click to navigate here: 43.25767, -72.93865, Parking spots along Mad Tom Notch Road by the Appalachian Trail
  • Special features: View from Styles Peak

4. Prospect Rock Trail, 3.1 miles

woman and black dog on snowy hike at prospect mountain in manchester vermont

A shorter hike that packs a lot of elevation! I found this one challenging particualrly in the winter in the snow with spikes on.

But what is great or unique about this trail (aside from the view), is that the path follows the track of an old road (Old Rootville Road). So while it’s steep it’s not technical and is more like walking at an incline on a treadmill!

It’s a nice break to not have to pay so close attention to your feet and rocks and roots that you don’t want to trip over.

The view at the top of Prospect Rock overlooks the town of Manchester but don’t miss this little trail on the right about 0.9 miles in. After just a few minutes of walking on it, you’ll come upon another view! I am not aware if this one has a name but I think it’s worth a detour!

  • Miles: 3.1 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1026 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click to navigate here: 43.17226, -73.01215, Medium lot on right just before start of trail on Rootville Rd (Note; there is a house where trail starts. This is not where you park!)
  • Special features: 2 views with main view at top of Prospect Rock

5. Flatlander, Equinox Pond, and Mount Bluff Trail (Deer Knoll View), 3.2 miles

sunrise on deer knoll hike in manchester vermont
equinox pond preserve hike in manchester vermont

This was the perfect afternoon hike right in Manchester though we hiked this one early in the morning as the view from Deer Knoll faces east!

Long walk with just a little elevation under a canopy of trees, this is a great hike in Manchester for more of a beginner or intermediate hiker.

  • Miles: 3.2 mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 577 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.16245, -73.08242, Small lot off W Union St
  • Special features: Check out Equinox Pond and the view from Deer Knoll (faces east, great for sunrise!) πŸŒ…

6. Gilbert’s Lookout and Owl’s Head, 3.7 miles

Aside from the view, one of the other highlights of this hike is the Gettysburg Quarry. According to AllTrails;

“This quarry is one of several historic quarries in Dorset, VT. This quarry is known as the Gettysburg because, from its tunnel-like cut, were taken marble blocks fashioned into 5000 or more gravestones for the cemetery on the Civil War battleground of that name.”

At the top, you’ll find a bench and view at Gilbert’s Lookout and then Owl’s Head. There is a bit of a steep scramble section at the top so exercise caution! Several comments noted that due to the scramble, this trail is not a good fit for young kids.

  • Miles: 3.7 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1535 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.2398, -73.07595, parking off Raptor Lane
  • Special features: πŸͺ¨ Quarry and view from lookout

7. Lye Brook Falls Trail, 4.5 miles

woman sitting on rock in front of lye brook falls in manchester vermont

This was our first hike after arriving in Manchester after the multi-hour drive from CT. I was amazed that just after passing through Manchester’s downtown of shops and restaurants, you’ll find the Lye Brook Wilderness Area.

With its convenitnet location so close to downtown Manchester and its almost 3,000 reviews (total of 4.6 stars) on AllTrails, you would think that it’s probably a pretty popular trail.

But we only saw a few other people on oour multi mile walk to Lye Brook Falls and unlike other waterfall trails, this is a longer one with almost 1,000 feet of elevation!

The route is mainly up a wider path that’s well-marked and easy to navigate.

The views of the 125-foot waterfall, one of the highest in the state of Vermont, is a real treat!

  • Miles: 4.5 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 921 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.15918, -73.04141, large lot at end of Lye Brook Falls Access Rd
  • Special features: Slight views along ridge at top plus the enchanting Lye Brook Falls waterfall! πŸ’¦

8. Merck Forest Trail, 5 miles

woman in blue winter jacket looking out from antone mountain in vermont
woman and two dogs on best hike in manchester vermont

The 3,200 acres of Merck Forest & Farmland Center is home to 30 acres of classic Vermont hiking trails and one with exceptional views from the top of Antone Mountain.

Most of the trail is a wide path that winds through the woods but because of the other trails to hike here, it would be good to download the AllTrails map before you start.

I loved the views just from the farm center below before you even start the hike! Open free from dawn to dusk, keep dogs on leash!

  • Miles:  miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1000 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.27434, -73.17296, Large parking lot at end of entrance to Merck Farm off Route 315
  • Special features: Mountain Valley views shortly into the trail plus big view at summit of Antone Mountain

9. Bromley Mountain via Long Trail (Appalachian Trail), 5.7 miles

Just 15 minutes outside on Manchester Center in Peru, VT, you’ll find Bromley Mountain.

Hike in the lush Green Mountain National Forest and experience a great day hike with wide-open views at the top. You’ll be able to pick out Stratton Mountain to the south and Mount Equinox to the west.

The route up to Bromley is a popular trail as you’ll be walking up the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail (follow the white blazes!) the whole time. Follow the white blazes to the top!

Note, there is a road that’s open to the top of the mountain so while the walk up in the woods will be quiet, there might be more of a group at the top!

  • Miles: 5.7 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 1,420 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.20713, -72.96995, Parking right along VT Route 11/30
  • Special features: Bromley Shelter plus summit views from top of Bromley Mountain

10. Equinox Mountain and Lookout Rock, 6.3 miles

A must-hike in Manchester, VT, if you’re looking for a big one! 😍

Equinox Mountain is the highest mountain in the Taconic Range and while it has exceptional views at the top – you will work for them!

AllTrails calls the climb to the top of Equinox Mountain “steep and unrelenting”.

At the summit, you’ll find a visitor’s center and a monastery that can also be accessed by car. Lookout Rock is another two-tenths of a mile from the summit, which has views of nearby Manchester Village, as well as a unique and beautiful marble bench.

And according to one AllTrails reviewer; “Very difficult trail; elevation gain is 2800 in ~3 miles. From the beginning it just goes up up up, and there are very little flat areas. I went at a grueling pace and managed to summit in 85 minutes but I anticipate most people would take closer to 2 hrs up. Bring poles for the descent down! Very slippery and rocky.”

  • Miles: 6.3 miles out & back
  • Elevation Gain: 2,969 feet elevation gain  
  • Level: Moderate
  • Parking: Click here to navigate to: 43.16323, -73.07881, Parking off West Union Street
  • Special features: Highest mountain in the Taconic Range! Big views at the summit, plus a visitor’s center and a monastery. Lookout Rock is another two tenths of a mile from the summit, which has views of nearby Manchester Village, as well as a unique and beautiful marble bench.

🌟And if you didn’t find the right walk on this list check out a couple shorter walks below! These would be great for all ages and levels.

I hope you enjoyed this list of 10 best hikes to do when visiting Manchester, Vermont!

For a more serious hike in Vermont check out the following posts for hiking Vermont’s tallest mountains!

Click here for post about hiking Mount Mansfield, VT’s tallest!

Follow:
EarlyBirdontheTrail

Find me on: Web

Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *