Tucked back on a dirt road just outside of Norwich, Vermont, Gile Mountain offers a big reward for a little effort. This short and easy mountain hike is great for beginners, families, or anyone looking for a woodsy walk with a view. Ascend gradually on a well-maintained trail and witness the craftsmanship of the many stone steps built to prevent erosion and keep this trail in good shape.
As you cross the clearing under the power lines, look out over shoulder-height ferns for a view down the hill. As you ascend, you may notice a mountain bike trail winds back and forth and crosses the hiking trail several times. Keep an eye out for trillium, trout lilies, and other wildflowers along the trail. If you listen closely, you may hear the occasional woodpecker, too.
The observer’s cabin remains just below the fire tower and offers a great place to take shelter from the elements or sit down for a break. Climb several flights of stairs to the top of the tower and take in the 360-degree view, including Mount Ascutney and Mount Killington in the distance. Take a moment to imagine what it might have been like for observers in the early to mid 1900s, who lived in the cabin and watched for fires during the summer and fall months.
Dogs are allowed on Gile Mountain’s Trail provided they are leashed, which helps to keep wildlife and nearby livestock on private property safe. Each spring, Gile Mountain’s trail is closed temporarily for mud season, usually in April and May, to prevent damage to both the trail and the dirt road the trailhead that accesses the trail.