Equinox Mountain is actually the highest point in the Taconic Range and the most prominent mountain in the Appalachian Mountains under 4,000 feet. The name of the mountain is commonly thought to be from Captain Partridge leading his cadets to march to the top of the mountain for barometric observations during the autumnal equinox. The name could also be a corruption of the Native American name "Ekwanok" which means "the top of the place" when translated.
The Red Gate Trail is likely an old logging road. The lower parts of the mountain were completely covered in trails leading to other lookouts and a pond, but we were interested in getting to the top. The Blue Summit Trail was an old road for most of the way as well, but it still got steep in some places. A perfect word to describe the lower portion of the trail is strenuous. After following the old road for a while, you come to a junction where the Blue Summit Trail leaves the road. A side trail leads to a small spring which still had plenty of water. There was a bench and sign explaining the habitat of the American Marten.
As I said, we left the road and followed an actual trail for the rest of the hike. It started to get icy, but not icy enough for crampons. It flatten out once we reached the boreal forest and we got to the junction for Lookout Rock. We continued to the summit and saved Lookout Rock for later. We reached the summit which is home to the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center. The building was closed so we couldn't reach the upper decks which offered better views. Even though we couldn't reach the the upper portions of the building, we still got some great views. We could see Killington Peak and Mt.Greylock.
|The plaque for the Saint Bruno Viewing Center|
After being on the summit for a while, it started to get cold so we headed to Lookout Rock. On the trail to Lookout Rock, there is a memorial for a dog and a bench. We found a viewpoint thinking it was Lookout Rock but we were wrong. The trail kept going until it reached a rock with a bench which had to be it.
Overall it was a good day and a good choice. It's definitely one of the better mountains in Vermont. I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants a quick hike with great views. If you decide to climb be sure to head to Lookout Rock. The whole hike was under 8 miles including the side trip. I'll be coming back when the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center is open and running.