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Five Short Walks with Big Views at the End of the Trail

Animal tracks under fallen leaves. The solitude of a clear mountain tarn. A jaw-dropping view. If you yearn for the beauty of the backcountry, but are not up for an epic day on the trail, there are many short hikes in Vermont that offer gentle backcountry adventure with a big reward at the apex. 

Here are five hikes that offer big rewards for two miles or less of walking one-way.

Mount Olga

The hike is an easy loop but with a big payoff — a fire tower with a 360-degree view of southern Vermont and northern Massachusetts.

Knight Point

A trail loops around the point and offers scenic lake and shore vistas, plus intimate opportunity for close-up nature and forest viewing. A connecting path cuts through the meadow for those wishing to shorten the walk.

Mount Elmore

Mount Elmore is a favorite among local hikers because of the view from its fire tower. With the Lake Elmore beach at the base, it is a perfect destination on a summer day.

Mount Independence

Mount Independence has four hiking trails, designated by color and ranging from 0.6 mile to 2.5 miles. By making a loop from the Blue Trail to the Orange Trail, you can pass most of the landmarks and enjoy views across the lake from several angles.

Mount Philo

Mount Philo is the centerpiece of Mount Philo State Park, Vermont’s oldest state park. It is a midget of a mountain, but it towers over the middle of the Champlain Valley, offering exceptional views of the lake and the Adirondacks beyond.