Trip report

Glastonbury Mountain Backpack

Backpacking DATE: 06/21/2014 - 06/22/2014

Trip/Event Location: Bennington , VT

Trip Leader(s): Gandalf , JDNnh

Max # People: 6

Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Join us for an overnight at the Goddard Shelter on the Appalachian/Long Trail, below a summit fire tower with spectacular views! It’s a 21.5 mile, two day backpacking trek. We will be hiking

Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:

The trailhead is on the north side of VT 9, 5.2 miles east of Bennington and approximately one mile west of Woodford. We are going to spot a car on Hollow Road where we finish on the West Ridge Trail so we don't have to do any road walking. 

Trip Report/Photos
Featured Photo

Jon, Rick and I met 2 other GO members at the trailhead, Dan and Kevin, near Bennington, Vermont for an overnight hiking trip on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail to Glastenbury Mountain. After waiting 30 minutes for Jim, we left without him. Come to find out, he was running late due to incorrect information given to him by the motel owner as to how far the trailhead was from the motel. He caught up to us at the shelter. 

It's been quite a few years since Jon and I climbed up to Glastonbury Mountain on the Long Trail. However we can't beat Dan who's been up here for an overnight: nine times! It was easy to default to his experience as to running the trip.   

Apparently, I didn't remember the trail too well, since the hike was much more relaxing, much less steep than I'd remembered. And that was just fine. All of us cruised up the trail.

About a couple miles in, we ran into the first of what turned out to be many AT thru and section hikers. The first person we ran into appeared to be in his late 20's and started on Springer Mountain, Georgia on March 9th. He was already in Vermont on June 14th. Wow...he was flying!

We filled up our water bottles at Hell Hollow Brook. Their was a sign that said Bridge Out but after watching the thru hiker use it without a problem, we crossed one at a time. Kevin remarked that the bridge outed itself. All it needed was to change the color from orange to pink!

The easier hiking and gorgeous day was enough to remind me how much I love Vermont. We took our lunch at Porcupine Lookout with views to the east and south. The hike into the Glastonbury Wilderness continued to be easy.

Except for the first thru hiker, the only people we ran into was a couple hiking back to their car when we were nearing the shelter and an older couple thru hiking passing us by. The older couple started hiking the AT last year but had to stop in Duncannon, VA when he injured his back. They were picking up where they left off this year and it appeared his female companion had enough based on a couple remarks she made. Wait until she gets to the Whites!

After one last steep pitch we arrived at the Goddard Shelter around 4pm. Thankfully, there was room for the six of us, including Jim who arrived a bit later. Our one big, happy gay family, ended up sharing the shelter with two other thru hikers. Based upon our conversations and that we stayed up way past their bedtime, I'm sure we gave them a few stories to tell to other thru hikers for the next few days!

Goddard Shelter is one of my favorites on the Long Trail. It's so close to the summit of Glastonbury Mountain that is would be foolish not to hike back and forth to the fire tower on the peak for our arrival and sunset, which is exactly what we did. With this being the longest day of the year, summer solstice, we had plenty of time to enjoy dinner first and then hike to the fire tower for the sunset.

We watched the sun set in the distance, casting shadows on the large handful of summits that I recognized and could name: Greylock, Equinox, Stratton, Bromley, Killington, Snow. We also looked down on the next day's route, the West Ridge, entirely visible from the fire tower. The mountains all around, while so much easier to hike than those in the northern half of Vermont, looked much more imposing than I'd remembered them. Stratton and Bromley, especially, looked liked behemoths amidst the dense forests. We could even see the Adirondacks out in northern New York!

There was some wood lying around so Kevin and Dan decided to try to light a campfire. After multiple attempts, including resisting using my firestarter, they got it going on their own! The fire helped take the chill out of the air since temperatures were dropping to the mid-40s. The whiskey came out and we started telling stories. Some of which I don't remember but I know that the couple of thru hikers trying to sleep in the tent next to the fire certainly remembered. The Vermont section of the Appalachian Trail must be burning up with stories about us by now! All good, of course!

The next morning we woke up around 6:30AM, cooked breakfast, and then launched into the second part of our trip. At first glance, one would expect the West Ridge trail to be a boring, uneventful walk back to the car. The map shows no features on the 8 mile trek from Goddard Shelter to Bald Mountain.

Technically, this was mostly true. There were no major views, no major peaks...the only interesting landmark was the beaver pond where we saw some ducklings. But the trail was very relaxing and pretty. It continued through a lush hardwood forest with bright green colors and easy grades the whole way.

Once we passed the summit of Bald Peak and reached the junction of Bald Peak Trail, we had lunch to enjoy the views of Greylock as well as many southern mountains. At this junction, we took what the guidebook calls the eastern branch of the Bald Peak Trail but the sign said Bear Wallow Trail. After a couple of miles of descending, we were back to my truck by early afternoon.

Before starting on our hike, we spotted my truck at the finish to prevent a two-mile roadwalk back to the start. There are very few places in Vermont where you can make any kind of backpacking loop. It's been a good long while since Jon and I have backpacked in Southern Vermont, but this experience is reminding us just how much we can't wait to get back. Maybe next year we'll have a backpacking trip further north to Stratton Mountain!

The Glastonbury Mountain backpack was tons of fun with great weather, fantastic views from the fire tower and lots of AT Thru-Hikers in the area.

~ Mike Boisvert


What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event

  • Thank you for a fun time Mike and Jon. It's amazing how much easier it is when carrying less weight ;) - HikerBiker

Members That Participated


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Very Strenuous

Thornton, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Londonderry, NH

United States


Outdoor Fitness Level: Moderate to Strenuous

Harrisburg, PA

United States

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