Spring Hiking: Firetower 5.6.24

Bolton valley firetower view facing back towards the windmill

Early May at 2,100′ elevation makes for very interesting hiking. There is still (mostly man-made) snow clinging on in the nooks and crannies of the mountain even as the temps climb into the 60’s, and the natural landscape is changing dramatically by the day. Early-season plants like Springbeauties and dandelions have begun to cover large swaths of the hillside, stretching from patches around the base area almost to the summit of Ricker Mountain (Vista Peak).

The hike up to the firetower is about 1,100′ of elevation gain, up the Vista or Wilderness work roads. Today I followed the Wilderness route up until the intersection near Waterfall gap. From there I continued up the vista workroad to the top of the chairlift, and admired the beautiful day from atop the lookout tower. From this 360° vantage point, hikers can take in views of Bolton and the windmill, Camel’s Hump, Mount Mansfield, and Waterbury’s Little River State Park. In my opinion you would be hard pressed to find a VT hike this short with such a great lookout (honorable mention to Nichol’s Ledge in Cabot).

The trees are budding at a very rapid rate, and the wildflowers on the ground are coming in hot as well. Although ramp and fiddlehead season has come and gone, there are plenty of short-lived blossoms that are worth seeking out if you find yourself with the time. Early spring on the mountain is a great time to take in the natural scenery, and each time you go the plantlife is a little farther along!