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Green Highways
From roads to trails to Alpine slides, Vermont is a land of wild rides. By Cliff Ransom

Map: Vermont, U.S.
Click to Enlarge

DAY 1 The two-and-a-half-mile Burrows Trail leads up 4,083-foot (1,244-meter) Camels Hump, the state's third highest peak and the only one above 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) that's undeveloped. You'll chug through a tangle of hardwoods and conifers and then, 200 yards (183 meters) below the summit, break into an expanse of krummholz. The 360-degree view takes in the Adirondacks in neighboring New York. Later, cool down like a local with an icy swim at Bartlett Falls, off State Route 116 near Rocky Dale. End the day on the waterfront at the Half Moon Pond State Park campground.

DAY 2 Half Moon is one of the few ponds in Vermont where you canoe without an Evinrude soundtrack—no motorboats allowed. Take a morning paddle, then cruise down State Route 3 past sagging barns, covered bridges, and steeple-crowned villages to the South End Road trailhead south of Danby. It's a four-mile (6.4-kilometer) hike east to the tent platforms at mountain-ringed Griffith Lake, in the White Rocks National Recreation Area.

DAY 3 Begin the day with a swim in Griffith Lake, then hike north to the bald south summit of Baker Peak for views west into the Otter Creek valley. Back in the car, you have a scenic 50-mile (80-kilometer) drive along State Routes 11 and 100 to Killington. You'll need the breather: With 43 miles (69 kilometers) of gondola-served trails, Killington is the largest mountain biking resort in the state. At sunset take a car-commercial-worthy spin over the switchbacks of Lincoln Gap and Appalachian Gap roads to the village of Waitsfield, in the heart of the Mad River Valley. Check in at the charming Tucker Hill Inn, a 1940s-style ski lodge.

DAY 4 No northern Vermont road trip is complete without a day on the Lamoille River, near Stowe. The smooth water runs in the shadow of Mount Mansfield and underneath the 117-year-old Poland covered bridge. That afternoon, take a run on Stowe Mountain Resort's zany, sometimes terrifying Alpine Slide: you, a luge-like plastic sled, and 2,300 feet (701 meters) of banked concrete turns.

VITALS Camel's Hump State Park (+1 802 879 6565). Half Moon Pond State Park (tent sites, $16; canoes, $5 an hour; www.vtstateparks.com). Griffith Lake (tent platforms, $6 per person; www.greenmountainclub.org). Killington resort (bike rental, $35 a half-day; gondola tickets, $22 a half-day; www.killington.com). Tucker Hill Inn ($79 and up; www.tuckerhill.com). Umiak Outfitters (Lamoille River trip, $38 per person, including canoe and shuttle; www.umiak.com). Stowe Mountain Resort (Alpine Slide, $12 per run; www.stowe.com).

Map courtesy of Computer Terrain Mapping

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June/July 2004



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