Alone on Burke Mountain

Burke Mountain stands tall above the nearby villages in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The mountain, at 3,260 feet, is an active ski area today, but I climbed it off season. This hike is important to me, as my dad was taking part in a bike race in the area at the time, and Burke Mountain is the first mountain I've ever climbed alone. It was just me and my dad's friend's dog, Owen, who climbed the mountain.

The snow-dusted summit of Burke Mountain.

Me and Owen took the Red Trail to the summit. The deepest the snow got was about 3 to 4 inches deep. Most of the Red Trail was easy to follow, except for the very beginning after I left the snowmobile trail. The path turns up the mountain until it reaches a CCC Road. This road leads from the ski slopes to a shelter behind the mountain. The Red Trail continues past this road and ends at a shelter.

The shelter atop the Red Trail.

This shelter marks the sight of where the trail splits into two blue-blazed trails. I took the longer West Summit Trail for the views. This portion is steeper and icier, and most of the blazes are faded, which makes it hard to follow. When I lost the trail in some spots, Owen was able to guide me back to the trail. Soon, the trail began to rise above the trees where it reached a ledge looking over to Mt.Mansfield.

Looking over to the Green Mountains with Mt.Mansfield in the background.

The trail wraps around the West Peak and soon reaches another view looking south at Kirby Mountain and Franconia Notch. Mountains that I could see from here included Mt.Garfield, Mt.Lafayette, Cannon Mountain and Miles Mountain.

Looking at the White Mountains with Cannon Mountain to the right.

The trail reaches the Upper Willoughby slope where Willoughby Gap can be seen. Willoughby Gap includes Mt.Hor to the left and Mt.Pisgah to the right, with Bald Mountain towering over both.

Willoughby Gap to the right with Bald Mountain to the left.

Me and Owen climbed the slope to the Ski Lift and the rest of the trail which leads to the fire tower. I decided not to climb it due to all the large chunks of ice falling off the tower. I didn't need to climb it to still achieve some great views.

The icy fire tower.

The Profile Trail leads to the open summit with views looking out to the White Mountains and East Mountain in Vermont. From here, I got the best views from in between the trees. Franconia Notch, The Twins, Cannon Mountain and the Presidential Range can be seen. It was actually warmer on the summit than it was at the base lodge.

The Presidential Range through the trees.

After taking more photos and exploring the summit, I decided to head down the Willoughby slope due to the trees starting to drop large chunks of ice. I feared one could fall on me or Owen. Down this trail, I got a great view of Willoughby Gap and East Mountain, with the abandoned Lyndonville Air Force Station atop it. 

East Mountain with the air force station on the summit.

We reached the base lodge where the bike race started to end. Let's just say that Owen was very tired once we reached the lodge!

The profile of Mt.Mansfield, with The Chin to the right.
Owen on the open trail.
Looking at the White Mountains with Kirby Mountain in the foreground.
Lyndonville Air Force Station atop East Mountain.
The top of the Ski Lift.
The White Mountains from the summit of Burke Mountain.
The Lowell Mountains with Jay Peak and Big Jay in the background.
Willoughby Gap with the Green Mountains in the back.
The Ski Patrol hut with Bald Mountain in the background.
More distant peaks.
Burke Mountain from the base.

Burke Mountain was a great hike for me. Being my first hike to do alone completely, I felt pride and confidence at the end. Me and Owen helped each other equally. I lost the trail and he helped me find it, and I helped him up steep icy slopes where he needed to be pushed up. It must be fun to ski Burke Mountain, but it's a different story when you climb it!

1 comment:



    Looking forward to your next adventure...!