|Hiking Trail Conditions Report
|Stratton Mountain, VT
|Date of Hike:
|Wednesday, October 25, 2023
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
|Coming from the east, you need to find Arlington-Stratton Road junction with VT 10 in Stratton. From this junction key benchmarks are 3.4, Stratton Mt Ski Area access road junction; 5.4 possible junction with forest road that crosses trail at 1.4 miles, 6.2 Grout Pond winter parking on right; 6.3 pavement ends and snowmobile trail junction; 6.4 apparent driveway (didn't explore); 6.8 trailhead parking on right and bridge. I used 1280 Arlington-Stratton Rd, Stratton and my onboard GPS took me to the driveway noted above.
Room for 10-12 cars, one deep. Parking lot is deep enough (at least in summer) to allow two deep parking, or other configurations, but that would require careful coordination.
|Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant
|Water Crossing Notes:
|10-12 stream crossings, all have stepping stones or planks to assist with crossing without getting wet feet
Mud pits are a different story.
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
|Trailhead sign is very worn and distances may not be accurate.
First set of bog bridges are significantly deteriorated and need replacing. Some are half their original size.
Trail generally is well blazed (in white), but footpath is relatively easy to follow despite leaf cover in some areas and several switchbacks.
Lower segment (prior to forest road intersection) has 2 deadfall lying on trail. Easy to step over, but they could be easily be hand sawn and trail cleared. Upper segment (after the forest road intersection) has 3-4 walk unders that are firmly supported and would be more difficult to remove.
There are many,many wet and muddy areas, some 10-20 feet in length, and others 50-100 feet. Most of the worst ones have adequate stepping stones to navigate without getting footwear wet or muddy, but others lack same (or I failed to find them). Several of these are due to lack of good drainage. Don't know if this can be corrected with trail maintenance.
|First 5-6 streams on segment between trailhead and forest road are low volume and some are stagnant at point of crossing. Second group of 5-6 streams have higher volume and flow rate. However, last significant one is over 1.5 miles from summit.
Trail is very muddy. You decide if this suits your canine. (Met two on today's hike. The white sheepdog had mud boots up to his knees and he was loving it.)
Grades are easy to moderate, end to end, a few rocky areas, but no technical features.
|Cool and windy weather, late October, not bug friendly conditions.
|Lost and Found:
|Grades are easy to moderate, with just a handful of short steeper pitches. Trail does dip down in a few spots, so there is some minor climbing on descent. There is one fairly long mostly flat, with a little rolling, as the trail skirts Little Stratton Mt. summit cone and traverses col between it and Stratton. This provides a bit of a break before the final push to the summit.
A forest road crosses the trail at approximately 1.4 miles. This is sometimes used as an alternative. I am guessing this is the forest road at the 5.4 mark in the access road notes, but I am not sure. My understanding that this serves as a snowmobile trail in winter and frequently winter hikers use this route due to easy navigation on packed snow. There is another trail crossing in the first .1 mile and I am assuming that is the trail that intersects A-S RD at 6.3. Mostly mentioning this for anyone planning to do this hike in winter. The first road could be used in non-winter months and this would shortens the hike a bit and maybe provides better footing than the numerous wet and muddy areas on the trail. However, I have no information about the road conditions, so it could be better or worse.
The major problem with this trail is the multiple wet/muddy areas. Most of the worst ones are in the segment prior to the forest road junction, but there are some significant ones on the upper section as well. The upper part of the trail is more rocky and sandy, rather than muddy and the collected water is lower than shoetop depth in most spots. Some of the lower areas without much mud or water had firmed up a bit on the descent, so conditions should be a slight improvement over the next few days, at least until the next rainstorm. Many of these areas appear to be chronic collection areas with little or no drainage. I would not want to see this trail in the spring after the snow melt and spring rains.
The fire tower at the summit is worth the climb. It looks terrifying, but it isn't too bad, just steep. There are wide and thick treads in good shape and very sturdy hand railings. Today winds were variable between 20 and 35 mph. The observation deck is surrounded by glass windows (with a few missing panes) so a good wind break. There is a cabin just shy of the summit, with piles of maintenance materials outside. Looks like it is undergoing major maintenance.
I got conflicting data on the distance. My wearables showed 3.6 miles from trailhead to summit, while the handheld showed 3.8. My calculations using topo maps and measuring features of the map software showed 3.8. My wearables frequently drop connections to the satellites and often come up short on distances. Close enough for most people for planning purposes. Total elevation change (including the short climbs on the descent) was between 1840 and 1880.
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.