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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Risitano

Mount Elmore | 3/3/2024

Situated at the North end of the Worcester Range, Mt. Elmore stands at 2,608 feet on Mt. Elmore’s west shore. I’ve been looking to get out to the State Park for a while, as it’s one of the few places in the Adventure Sports Center’s hike book I hadn’t been to. I mainly selected Elmore for the sunny day ahead of us, as the massive fire tower provides views across Kingdom to the north and Mansfield to the South. Unfortunately, however, the clouds stayed put until we were driving home.

Mt. Elmore Fire Tower

After a quick 1:10 drive from campus, we parked in the winter lot off Beach Road. The lot had room for plenty of cars but was highly saturated as Vermont’s early spring is nearing. I was surprisingly the only NH plate in the lot, a rare occurrence for me when in Vermont. This sentiment was represented all day by every party having at least one dog- perhaps my favorite trait among Vermonters!


We began the day with a mile road walk up past the lean-to’s, campsites, and summer parking lot before coming up to the base of the loop formed by Firetower and Ridge trails. We opted to take the steeper fire tower trail up. The trail took the form of a fire road until the junction of the fire tower and Catamount trail. As we turned right towards the summit of Elmore, the trail grew substantially steeper and the snow more rotten. As temperatures continue to increase, microspikes will become an annoyance where snowshoes are necessary for enjoyment and trail preservation.

Road portion

Chimney at the beginning of the loop

Just past the first vista point, where we saw nothing but clouds, we were greeted with a ridiculous amount of spring ice. Though I did not take photos of the steeper parts, I can humbly say I was very uncomfortable going up some of these sections. I wouldn’t go as far as to say you need crampons for it, but my rock spikes were not up to the challenge at all. The ice was grippy today, but upon a flash freeze, I would imagine needing an ice axe to comfortably ascend.


Thankfully, the fire tower and summit were just past this section, making for a great reward with friendly dogs to greet. We didn’t bother going to the top of the fire tower, as I will only challenge my fear of railing-free heights when there is a view on the table.


Descending Ridge Trail was more gradual, as expected, but had its fair share of “whoa” moments as well. Two of them, pictured below, required some creativity and cold butts, but otherwise, this was the less treacherous route up Elmore for the day. There were a handful of viewpoints on the way down, which I’m sure would be a delight on a clearer day. One highlight that wasn't afflicted by the weather was the beaver ponds near the junction with the fire road. After descending the last steep pitch, we were greeted with flat and completely open woods that gradually led us into three main beaver ponds, one of which had a cute bridge over it. One of the ladies we encountered at the summit had told us the ponds are her favorite part of the hike in the summer, but I would argue they’re a great part of the loop in the winter as well!

Viewpoint


Ice

More creative ice

Beaver Ponds

When we got back to the road, we cut through the woods and across the stream to avoid walking the whole hairpin turn (it’s not long, we just thought it would be more fun) and headed back to the mud pit parking lot.

Totaling 5.92 miles with 1,417 feet of elevation gain, this hike was fantastic and I look forward to camping at Elmore State Park in the future as well! I have enjoyed this little era of hiking just to hike, especially in new places around Vermont. Just the ride over was beautiful and showed me a couple of downtowns I’d never been through before!

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