Mount Pisgah is a great hike overlooking Lake Willoughby. The long, narrow lake looks more like a Norwegian fjord than a hidden corner of Vermont, and there’s no better place to see it than from the overlooks on Mount Pisgah. While the summit itself is lackluster, views from Pulpit Rock and the east, west, and north overlooks are worth the 1,300-foot climb.
Starting from the South Trailhead, hikers will cross a boardwalk at the southeast end of Swampy’s Pond. The trail register is located about 200 yards down the trail in the forest. Wildflowers dot the trail.
After the trail register the trail begins climbing at a moderate rate. A few large boulders can be seen before the trail turns to the left and begins climbing in earnest. Occasional glimpses of Lake Willoughby and neighboring Mount Hor can be seen through the trees.
A distinct gap in the trees at the cliff edge signals the Pulpit Rock overlook. The small clearing provides incredible views of the southern end of Lake Willoughby and Mount Hor. The deep blue water and stark cliff face of Mount Hor are hypnotizing.
Continuing up the trail, the steepness subsides momentarily. When it begins climbing steeply again, it does so over a bedrock slab that can be slippery when wet. Be sure to glance over your shoulder at this point to enjoy great views of the Burke Mountain Resort. The summit of Mount Pisgah is shortly beyond this slab.
The 2,751-foot summit is designated only by a small sign. There are no views. It is also the dividing point between the North and South trails. Continuing along the North Trail will lead to the east, west, and north overlooks. All of these are relatively small, but each provides a great view of Lake Willoughby and the surrounding peaks.
Continue along the North Trail until it reaches the North Trailhead on Route 5A then walk along the shoulder of the road back to the South Trailhead for a 6.9-mile loop. Alternatively, return along the North Trail to the summit and then follow the South Trail back to the South Trailhead. This out-and-back trip is about 4 miles long and reaches all the overlooks without the walk along the road.