Mount Philo is one of the best resources for view-hungry hikers short on time in the Burlington area. Just 25 minutes outside of town, Mount Philo offers expansive views of the Lake Champlain Valley and Adirondacks beyond. The 1-mile House Rock Trail climbs 500 vertical feet through the woods and between boulders, requiring just enough effort to get the blood pumping. In the summer, Mount Philo can be inundated by large crowds, but winter weather can lend the mountain a sense of solitude...and visitors can avoid the $2.50 park entry fee.
From the parking area just inside the park boundary and to the left, the House Rock Trail begins its meandering ascent. The trail is well marked with blue blazes and occasional signage. Crushed gravel levels the path as the trail climbs steadily toward House Rock, an enormous boulder that forces the trail to turn sharply left around its base.
Beyond House Rock the trail steepens and footing becomes slightly more tenuous. About a half mile into the hike the trail crosses the state park access road, climbing some steps on what is now called the Summit Trail. Shortly thereafter a fork in the trail leads to Devil's Chair on the right, while the left continues up to the summit. Devil's Chair is a rougher trail that parallels a cliff band and leads to a gravel pit and the state park road.
Once at the summit, several lookout points become quickly apparent. The most favorable look west over Lake Champlain and into the Adirondacks, perfect for sunset. A large grassy area with several picnic tables sits at the top, as well as a shelter, and a small camping area on the north side of the summit. There are eight tent sites and three lean-tos. These sites can be reserved between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend by calling 802.425.2390.
Visitors can walk or sled down the access road in the winter, adding a quarter mile to their hike.
While Mount Philo is only officially open from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend, visitors are welcome to walk the road or hike the House Rock Trail in the off season. During the spring, summer, and fall, the access road is open to vehicular traffic and there is a $2.50 park entry fee for adults and $2.00 fee for children.