Each year since I’ve been here in the Northeast Kingdom much of the hiking season goes by before climbing to one of the prettiest views in New England, the lookout from the cliffs on the southern side of Brousseau Mountain. This is a protected nesting area for peregrine falcons, so the trail is closed each year until August 1st. I decided to give it another go on Sunday, August 7th, and arrived at the trail a bit after 9AM. The day was warm and sunny, with occasional clouds. There was a warning of thunderstorms for later in the day.
Brousseau is located just about on the US-Canada border, not far from Norton, VT. While the mountain’s summit is over 2700 feet above sea level, the hike is a short one, listed at 2.2 miles round trip from the trailhead. Elevation gain is about 650 feet, so, while it’s a short hike, it’s steep. The trailhead signage is not very evident, so look for the big yellow gate. There’s parking enough for several cars; make sure not to block the road!
To access the trail, walk around the gate and up the two-track for a hundred yards or so, and there’ll be a sign on the left marking where the trail heads into the woods and up the hill.
The short trail was damp that day, and the early section fairly tight, evidence of the light traffic so far this year. Pretty quickly the terrain transitions to rock face, either exposed or lightly covered with moss and soil.
About halfway up the trail you come upon a sign announcing “The Old Toad”. The sign is a little faded, and refers to a large glacial irregular located to the right of the trail. Some think it looks like a giant toad. I’m not sure, but someone thought enough of it to paint a sign!
It took me about 30 minutes to get to the top of the trail. There is no marking that you’ve reached the summit, and I’m only assuming that it is the summit as the trail breaks to the south and down hill at this point, heading for the cliffs.
A short walk along this spur and you’re presented one of the prettiest views in New England.
I spent at least twenty minutes standing on that rock, taking in the views to the south. It was a little hazy that day; there have been days where I could see clearly down to the Presidential Range and Franconia Notch in New Hampshire. Not quite that clear today, but the vistas were satisfying, as was watching the many falcons, adult and juvenile careen through the sky.
There are trails that meander around the tops of the cliffs. I spent some time following them around. If you do this, be careful, as you are actually walking on top a pile of rocks, and some of the gaps and crevasses between the boulders are hidden by loose dirt and leaves. What looks solid may not really be there at all. Also, humans aren’t the only ones that explore the cliffs. Be alert!
Heading down the hill was quick, and I met about a dozen folks heading the other way. The clouds were stacking up, and they were pretty dark. I hope they finished their hike before the rain arrived.
Here’s a link to more information about Brousseau Mountain in case you’re interested in checking it out. Thanks for stopping by!