Abandoned in the Mountains: Overnight Atop East Mountain

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to climb East Mountain in Vermont, and explore the defunct Lyndonville Air Force Station atop the mountain. I even wrote a blog about it. The second I saw the place in person, I knew I would have to return. I had no clue that it would only be a month until our next visit, and that we would be staying overnight.

Looking toward the other four towers from the north.
We began the journey driving through Victory State Forest, a very scenic area with views up to Burke Mountain and East Mountain. There are a few scenic stretches of road that pass through meadows along River Road. At one point, the radar towers can be seen.

Looking north toward East Mountain.
Zoomed photo of the towers.
Burke Mountain from River Road.

After the long scenic drive through Victory State Forest, we got to Radar Road, and eventually found ourselves at the base area, otherwise known as the Quonset Village. Since we've been here before, we didn't spend as much time exploring this section of the base.

Mysterious formation along Radar Road.
I've found this area on maps known as Moccasin Mill.
Inside a building.
The gymnasium, which shared the building with a movie theater.
The mess hall.
Looking through the mess hall.
There were several birds flying throughout the structure.
The garage.
The garage was trashed.

The road was the same as last time, easy to follow, winding, and gradual. Surprisingly, we ran into a truck descending the road, which we took as a message to be careful. Looking above the skies were blue, and it took no time for us to reach the summit, where we found the same excellent views from atop the tallest tower.

The blockage, known as The Boulders.
Looking up the road.
On top of the mountain.
Looking south from the tallest tower.

Eventually, we found our way to the northernmost tower, where we set up camp. After carrying everything up and setting it up, we waited for the sun to set. Almost the entire day was spent atop the tower. The views from here are incredible. If you are scared of climbing to the tallest tower, it's worth the little effort to climb this one.

Looking out the window toward the other towers.
The radar towers with the peaks of Nash Stream Forest visible.
Looking northeast toward Seneca Mountain.
Looking toward Burke Mountain and East Haven Mountain.

The horizon began to turn orange, and the sun began to set behind Willoughby Gap and the distant peaks of the northern Green Mountains. The sunset gave the place an eerie yet beautiful feel. The air was still, but even with it being so late, people were still arriving at the summit to explore the area. Once everyone left, the air went still yet again, and the sun slowly set.

Willoughby Gap area as seen before sunset.
The sun setting behind Bald Mountain.
Jay Peak is visible in the far distance to the left.
After the sun has set.
The towers after sun set.

We stayed up late as the skies darkened and all the stars came out. The moon shown brightly, and large distant groupings of lights could be seen from the small villages of northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Darkness fell over the towers and the wind stopped, giving a fearful yet one of a kind feeling to the place. It's as if the tallest tower was just standing there, waiting for the sun to rise, much like us.

The towers with the moon in the background.

After awaking early, we watched the sunrise, which brought life back to the mountain. The towers lit up, the birds began to sing, and the sky filled with light. The skies were a bit hazier than the day before, but we still had excellent views.

View of the sunrise.
The sun rising behind Mt.Blue and Savage Mountain.
The mountains during sunrise. The Percy Peaks are visible to the left,
and the Mahoosuc Range of Maine is in the far distance.

We spent the rest of our time up there walking around the summit area and going to all the other buildings. I hoped that we would be able to climb at least one of the three other towers, but we found that the floors of the others had begun to rot through and were very unsafe. Be cautious when visiting! From here, it was an easy descent.

The northernmost tower.
Another tower, the floor of which is completely rotted.
Looking north at the three towers.
The communications building.
Another building. For more photos, be sure to check out my last blog on East Mountain.

East Mountain is like no other peak in New England, or possibly in the world. The mountain is in the absolute middle of no where, giving the base an eerie vibe, even when other groups are around. I thought visiting the base was a once in a lifetime experience, but now, I've come to the realization that I will likely return numerous times to this location. It's so unique, beautiful and dangerous, all at the same time. There's nothing like it.


  1. Superb spot for a hiking exploration! What a phenomenal idea to camp out on top of the radar tower! Amazing views... you really know how to plan the most interesting, incredibly cool, wild, eerie, fun places to hike and explore... So impressive!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. It truly was an overnight hike like no other!

  2. Have you researched the original purpose of all this? I think you will find it as intriguing as the old buildings. Good job. John

    1. Hello John,

      The history of this place is truly fascinating, and I did write about some of it in my previous blog. There is still a lot of information on it that I'm unaware of, especially how the place worked, but I do know it would've been one of the first radars to pick up Soviet attacks. The place is truly interesting!

  3. Hi Evan,

    I have been to East Mountain, and totally agree with you that it is a truly a unique and amazing place. It was a brilliant idea to spend the night there, and is something that never would have occurred to me to do. By so doing, you were rewarded with some extraordinary sunset and sunrise scenes. I’ve come to expect the unexpected from your blog postings. Bravo!

    a.k.a. 1HappyHiker

    1. Thank you for reading John. East Mountain is such a unique spot. There are some peculiar spots that would make for excellent camping in New England. I always consider camping when visiting a place for the first time. It helps you visualize all the different possibilities!