At 4,081 feet, Camels Hump is the third tallest peak in Vermont. The Burrows Trail is one of the most common routes to ascend the iconic peak, and it winds its way up the western face. Popular throughout all seasons, the Burrows Trail is an excellent snowshoe adventure on a clear winter’s day. The trail is also popular with backcountry skiers and splitboarders because it provides access to Bald Hill to the north and tons of terrain on the flanks of Camels Hump itself.
The Forest City Loop Trail intersects at the trailhead, offering a short diversion for hikers unable to commit to the full climb. Follow the blue blazes to stick to the Burrows Trail as it begins climb gradually. After paralleling a narrow ravine for a few hundred yards, the trail crosses that ravine and levels off for a short bit. In the winter, a well defined skintrack continues straight along the ravine leading to Bald Hill.
The next ascent brings hikers into a band of birch and then spruce, where snow collects in thick swaths on the branches. The forest thickens as the trail climbs, and heavy snow in the branches can blot out the sky above. At times it feels as though you are burrowing into the mountain itself, but the climb continues.
Just below the summit the trail levels off and drops into a clearing where the Long Trail and the Monroe Trail meet. Turn right to follow the Long Trail south in a final steep climb into the alpine zone.
The summit of Camels Hump is bald, windswept, and often very icy. Be sure to add an extra layer before breaking above tree line, and be careful not to get disoriented. The weather can change quickly, and a dense fog could erase any of the far off landmarks. On a clear day, however, visitors will enjoy spectacular views of Lake Champlain, Mount Mansfield, and Mount Washington, as well as several ski areas.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.