Skyline Trail

A committing traverse of the surprisingly rugged and varied peaks east of Stowe.

Hiking Severe

Distance
15 km
Ascent
1.1 km
Descent
1.1 km
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
386 m
High Point
1.1 km
Gradient
17˚
Skyline Trail Map

The Skyline Trail makes a partial traverse of the Worcester Range, which rises above Stowe Village to the east and south. These are the mountains that are most visible from town, even though the nearby Green Mountains are more famous. The Worcesters may not have the 4000-foot peaks or iconic skiing that the Greens have, but they are still an impressive string of mountains, and their bald summits are no less panoramic.

Description

Atop Mount Hunger and Worcester Mountain, you’ll get 360-degree views of surrounding summits, lakes, and the green patchwork in between. These mountains share a granite ridgeline that’s nearly devoid of trees at its high points, granting dramatic views but also inviting extreme weather. The Skyline Trail connects these peaks and includes two other prominent summits in between.

Skyline is a difficult hike and not very well known. Therefore, it gets less traffic than surrounding trails, making it an even more challenging and adventurous endeavor. The trail takes many ups and downs along the ridgeline, navigating especially rugged terrain like boulders, ledges, and bogs without the assistance of ladders or boardwalks that you might find on more popular trails. It travels mostly in the shelter of trees, but sometimes it crosses exposed bare rock. If you’re prepared to spend several hours at the mercy of the elements on one of Vermont’s lesser-traveled mountain traverses, Skyline Trail could be for you.

Skyline does not have its own trailhead but connects the highpoints of other trails that ascend the mountains. To hike the full Skyline Trail, you’ll have to hike these other trails as well–one to go up and the other to go down, with a vehicle shuttle in between.

The western terminus of Skyline Trail is atop Mount Hunger, with the Waterbury Trail coming up from the Stowe side and the Middlesex Trail coming up from the Worcester side. The eastern terminus is on Mount Worcester, with Worcester Mountain Trail providing access. The approximate midpoint of Skyline Trail is on Hogback Mountain, which can be reached via Stowe Pinnacle Trail.

Sources: https://fpr.vermont.gov/putnam-cc-state-forest https://www.greenmountainclub.org/hiking/day-hikes-summer/

Difficulty

Severe

Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area