Opt Out: Make it a New Year’s resolution to summit the 4,000-foot peak of Mount Abraham

LINCOLN – Named after President Abraham Lincoln, Mount Abraham is a challenging, yet doable day hike for those looking to start 2021 at higher elevation.

Mount Abraham is located in the Green Mountain National Forest and is part of Vermont’s presidential range. It is the fifth tallest peak in the state.

Vermont’s famous Long Trail, a 272-mile trail that extends from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border, traverses the top of Mount Abraham, making it one of the most well-traveled and accessible peaks.

Mount Abraham - summer

View from the Long Trail on the way to the summit of Mount Abraham in September 2020.

Rick Hopkins, the Green Mountain Club’s Visitor Center Information Specialist, said the hike is a popular one year-round.

“At 4,006 feet, the top is right at treeline,” he said. “It’s a great peak with 360-degree views, and it’s easy to get to.”

The Green Mountain Club, which manages and maintains the Long Trail, reported the trail saw increased use this season — about 35 percent more hikers.

“It was a combination of COVID and people just wanting to get outdoors in a safe, socially distant manner,” Hopkins said. “We had great weather this summer, which was perfect for dispelling a lot of pent up energy.”

Where to hike

While there are a variety of trail combinations and loop varieties in the area, if you are looking for a manageable single-day hike, two of the options are more direct than others.

Both hikes are out-and-back routes that are about 5 miles round-trip. Even in colder temperatures, be sure to bring plenty of water as this hike can take three to four hours depending on your hiking speed. 

Option #1: Hike to the summit by heading north on the Long Trail for 2.6 miles from the entrance on Lincoln Gap Road.

Hopkins said it’s important to remember that Lincoln Gap Road is closed during the winter.

Mount Abraham - Mount Ellen view

View of Mount Ellen, Vermont’s fourth tallest peak, as seen from the summit of Mount Abraham during a mid-November hike. 

“You can certainly drive as far as you can on Lincoln Gap Road, and then hike up the road to the Long Trail,” he said. “Otherwise, you can go up the Battell Trail.”

Option #2: Park at the trailhead on Elder Hill Road and take the Battell Trail for 2 miles to the Battell Shelter. From the shelter, merge onto the Long Trail for the final 0.9 miles to the summit.

If you want to extend your hike, it’s easy to continue on the Long Trail for another 0.8 miles to the top of Lincoln Peak, or the top of Sugarbush Ski Area.

Mount Abraham - winter 2

One route to the summit includes hiking the Battell Trail for 2 miles to the Battell Shelter. 

Advice from an expert

If hiking in the winter, Hopkins said the key to staying upright on snow and ice is appropriate footwear.

“This time of year, it’s important to have foot traction on the soles of your feet,” he said.

Traction can range from microspikes and crampons which attach to your hiking boots and can be kept in your backpack until needed, to snowshoes.

Microspikes are best used when walking on compacted snow and light ice. Crampons, which have sharper spikes, are better on steeper surfaces and on ice-covered rock.

Snowshoes, which are heavier and require more effort to walk in, should be reserved for hiking in deep, powdery snow.

Hopkins also suggested bringing hiking or ski poles, which can help you maintain your balance in wintery conditions.

Where is Mount Abraham?

See the map to view two parking areas nearby. 

Want to recommend an outdoor space to be featured in Opt Out? Send an email to bhigdon@orourkemediagroup.com

Colchester Sun

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