The Green Mountain National Forest hugs the ridge tops from the Massachusetts border to Bristol, Vermont and makes up about six percent of the landmass in Vermont. It has 900 miles of trails and eight wilderness areas; Aiken, Big Branch, Breadloaf, Bristol Cliffs, Joseph Battell, Glastenbury, Lye Brook, and Peru Peak that offer many backpacking experiences. Hikers in wilderness areas are encouraged to become familiar with wilderness survival skills and adhere to Leave No Trace Guidelines, such as Pack it in–Pack it out. There are many opportunities for overnight hikes that offer a variety of experiences for the hikers. The following are a few of the more popular multi-day hikes that are relatively easy to find and follow.
The Finger Lakes National Forest, positioned along the ridges between Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, offers scenic beauty and unlimited recreational opportunities any season of the year. Whether you are a hiker, cross country skier, camper, fishing or hunting enthusiast, snowmobiler, horseback rider, mountain biker, or wildlife watcher, the Forest can provide the recreational experience you are seeking!
The most popular season is autumn when the trees and pastures are ablaze with color. Hunter ejoy the woods and brush lands of the forest during this time. Summer is a popular time for camping, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, and fishing. Winter brings out cross country skiers, snowmobiles, and snowshoe enthusiasts. In spring, the Forest bursts forth from the grip of winter with emerging leaves on the trees, bird flyway activity, and numerous wildflowers that are visible along many of the Forest trails and pastures. The first fishing days are enjoyed by a lot of people.
Spring is also mud season, which is usually short but intense. Going "off-road" and hiking on wet trails is not encouraged during this time.
Finger Lakes National Forest - Hector Ranger District Office Information
The largest of the Wildernesses in the Green Mountain National Forest, Breadloaf takes its name from Breadloaf Mountain, the highest point in the area at 3,835 feet. Within the boundaries you'll be able to climb Vermont's Presidential Range: Mounts Wilson, Roosevelt, Cleveland, and Grant.
Although evidence of past logging operations can still be seen, the forest is quickly regenerating and numerous wildlife species take cover in these cutover sections. Moose and black bears live here in considerable numbers.
Breadloaf contains the headwaters of the New Haven and White Rivers, both well stocked with small brook trout. The Norske Trail provides a primitive cross country ski or snow shoe experience.
The East Dorset trail follows portions of a historic road along Mad Tom Brook, a scenic brook originating in the Peru Peak Wilderness. Remnants of the original road including an impressive retaining wall and other signs of yester-year are visible to those on the lookout. This trail provides a connection from East Dorset to the Appalachian/Long Trail (AT/LT).