|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Dorset Peak, VT|
||Logging roads, herd paths|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, September 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I used 548 Tower Road, Dorset, VT for my GPS and had no trouble arriving at correct trailhead. There are many twists and turns over various Dorset Hollow roads (Upper, Lower, etc) and posted speed limit is 25mph due to many residences in the area. Just go slow and follow your GPS directions. (This would be a royal pain to do with printed directions.)
Parking area is fairly large, but overgrown, so there may not be room for many cars if people want to avoid scratches. I was the only one here today.
I did take a detour shortly before the turn onto Tower Road as there was a hiker sign and another sign indicating direction to hiker parking. It was not along my planned route, but not having very recent trail info I followed it to a trailhead with kiosk for a maintained trail (Dorset Hollow Trail). The kiosk map showed the trail ending at what appears to be the South summit (not labeled on trail map), so this might be an alternative route of interest to some. At 3.9 miles, then the herdpaths to the North peak, this would be a longer hike than the "traditional" route. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Only one significant water crossing about 1 mile in from trailhead. Feeder stream was running high due to overnight rain and a torrential downpour early morning (over an inch in an hour). Several rock paths, but nearly all submerged in at least 1 to 2 inches of water on ascent. Water level a bit lower on descent but rocks still submerged about an inch. These water depths were for the crossing I did and only took 4 or 5 steps. Other paths had rocks with much higher water covering them. Other minor crossings were easy stepovers and were probably just runoff and not regular streams. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||This is an unmaintained trail, but was in reasonable condition for such. There were many wet spots today, with some of them having rocks, branches or solid ground to hop through, while others had no easily path through them and contained ankle deep water and/or mud. There are some erosion mitigation logs on the lower section. There is a sign marking the trail to the South Tower and another identifying the summit path to Dorset, both at intersections. There is blue flagging and some paint marks on trees up to the doorknob junction and yellow flagging on trees to the Dorset summit. There are a few forks, junctions and tricky turns where the markers are helpful, but while the rest provide some reassurance, they aren't really necessary. There are many leaves, small branches and other debris that would be cleaned from a maintained trail, but are mostly annoying, although the leaves on steep pitches make for sliding conditions. |
||Stream within easy access at some spots on lower section. No streams on upper section, but several boggy spots with water. No tricky or technical terrain. Many wet spots, so your dog will get mud boots. Should be a doable trail for all dogs. |
||None today. |
|Lost and Found:
||The trail is in two main sections. |
Due to heavy clouds, I went directly to north peak and skipped the south peak and tower. Visiting this area requires about .2 mi side trip up and back (.1 up, .1 down), perhaps a bit longer.
The lower section follows an old overgrown, rough in spots, road of some sort for about 2 miles to a T intersection with another road. Turn right and head uphill here. This section starts out with some climbing, but at easy grade. At about the 1 mile mark is the stream crossing and a bit further along the trail is the old cabin referred to in many reports. The cabin is collapsed and vegetion at trailside is high, so I did not see it on ascent (but did get a glimpse of the roof on descent.) After this point the trail steepens significantly, but still at a mostly moderate grade, with some steeper and some flatter breaks in the trail. There are several puddles and mud spots on this section. These are mostly relatively small and easy to avoid. A few are larger and require a little effort to keep feet dry. There are some forks or alternate paths, but I belief if you stay right at every one, you stay on the correct path, but as mentioned there is also flagging to assist you at most of these spots.
The upper section is steeper and steady with very little relief up to the junctions with the paths to the south peak and tower. There are a few wet spots and areas of running water on the trail, but these are easily avoidable. There is a cairn at the first herdpath on the right side of the trail (about .6 from the lower junction) and I believe there is some flagging just beyond this on the main trail. From maps it appears this path with save you a bit of mileage if you are going to visit this area. Another .1 along the main trail brings you to the doorknob junction. The first thing you find is a sign (Tower) and trail going to the right and up. If you took the first side path, you may come down on this one. Just a few feet towards the North peak is another trail entering from the right and a tree with 2 doorknobs on the left side of the trail. Take the left most and downward path here (now flagged in faded yellow) down a muddy descent to a very boggy col. This was probably worse than normal due to the recent rain, but it appears to be a very wet area in general. Once through the boggy area, the path climbs, moderately steeply and meandering a bit, to the summit with sign and canister. The distance from the doorknob junction to the summit is approximately .4 mile, but slow going through the boggy section. There is an intersection just below the summit of north peak where another trail crosses the main trail. There is a sign (Dorset Peak) on a tree on the right side of the trail near the intersecting trail. This could be mistaken as labeling the right hand uphill trail as the summit path, but the one on the left (straight across on the trail you came up) is flagged in faded yellow. Also the sign is very weathered and the lettering barely legible, so you may not even see it.
A strong hiker, with an early start, could probably pair this with one of the other shorter hundred highest in the area (Mendon, Equinox, Stratton).
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.