|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Abraham, Lincoln Peak, Nancy Hanks Peak, Cutts Peak, Mt. Ellen, VT|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, June 21, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Lincoln Gap Road approached from east 4mi from junction with VT100 in Warren. Can also approach from the West. Road is mostly paved with a few gravel sections. Starts out at easy grade and gradually increases to very steep grade approaching the gap and trailheads.
Two parking areas on either side of the road. North side has room for 8-10 cars but narrow space from edge of road to edge of forest. South side more spacious, 10-15 cars and more room for larger vehicles. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Only minor streams, some barely flowing, easy walk through/stepping stones without getting feet wet |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Well blazed throughout. All significant blowdowns cleared and remaining are easy step over/straddles with the exception of one or two leaners that were difficult to duck under with pack while avoiding limbs or adjacent rocks, but even those were ok if pay attention to the hazards. |
||Only a few minor streams crossing trail. Water source at Battell Shelter and one or two other marked side trails with "water" signs between Abraham and Ellen. Have no idea how reliable these sources are. Many rock slabs and some scrambles that could be problems. Evidence of prior canine visits and purple leash on signpost by shelter. |
||A few buzzing and landing on trail, mostly when stopped at view points, shelter and Ellen summit. Abraham summit was a little chilly and breezy, so not bothersome there. Mostly black flies, deer flies and mosquitos. |
|Lost and Found:
||Purple dog leash is draped over signpost at Battell Shelter. ||
||Since most Vermont hundred highest peaks (including 4Ks) are 4 hour or longer drives for me, I try to combine as many as reasonable, hence doing this longer hike to get both Abraham and Ellen on some trip. Each can be done individually in two much shorter hikes.|
Starting at Lincoln Gap, Long Trail to shelter is rocky and climbs at moderate grade with a few steep pitches and many rocks and slabs. Several small descents adding a little more than 100 feet in elevation. Some flatter and smoother sections (brief) and some muddy/wet sections. This 1.8 mile segment contains about half the elevation gain from trailhead to summit.
From shelter to summit of Abraham is only .8mi and gains about 800 feet, mostly in second half. Many more rocks, boulders, slabs and a few scrambles (nearer to summit). Scrambles are easy to moderate, but could be difficult for less experienced hikers. Mostly dry today and those that were wet were not too slippery, but may be difficult in rainy conditions.
From summit of Abraham to Ellen trail is up and down over at least 5 unranked peaks, with various trail conditions, but mostly rocky. Total elevation gain in both directions is about 800-900 feet, mostly in 100-300 foot chunks. Mostly moderate grades with a few steeper pitches and occasional flatter sections. Trail breaks out of woods at two ski areas and follows open area to the left in both cases before re-entering woods. At Lincoln, trail jogs left and crosses open area to continue into woods. At Sugarbush (right after Castle Rock summit), trail turns left and goes downhill .1 mi before re-entering woods on same side of trail. Re-entry points marked with signs and/or blazes. Lincoln area more difficult to locate going southbound, as there are alternate trails. None of the unranked peaks have any markers, but several have rather obvious high points. Ellen is marked with a small cairn. Abraham has a wind break circle of 3 foot high rocks surrounding a rock with a USGS summit benchmark.
While there are varying trail conditions and types, I would say that at least half of this hike is on rocks of some type: smaller rocks embedded in trail, stone steps, stepping stones through muddy sections, exposed slabs, larger rocks and large slanted slabs/scrambles.
There are 4 common approaches to combining these peaks. From the south doing Abraham first - the route described here and an alternate using the Battel Trail (joins Long Trail .1 south of shelter). The other two start on the north or west and climb Ellen first. I do not know the trail conditions of the Ellen approaches, but it those options would avoid the steep climb and scrambles going up Abraham. (Ascent of the northern side of Abraham is far easier.) There may be other options, such as using the ski slopes.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.