Grass Mountain: Bushwacking In The Green Mountains of Vermont

January 11, 2018

 

 

Grass Mountain is a peak located in southwestern Vermont in the town of North Bennington. The mountain is a part of the New England's 50 Finest list and involves a trail-less hike to the top. With good map and compass skills and terrain reading, this hike can be a fairly easy bushwack.

 

The route I took, began near the end of Shatsbury Hollow Rd after traveling down a network of well-maintained old country gravel roads.

 

I parked on Shatsbury Hollow Rd, where it appears to fork, the left is a private driveway and the right is an old logging road (pictured below, logging road is to the right).

 

 

My hike began on the old logging road as I walked Northeast and along Little White Creek.

 

 

Shortly after entering the woods, I came across a wide open space and what appeared to be a vacant cabin near the creek.

 

 

Continuing on the old logging road and away from the cabin, I approached what would be the first of five water crossings for the trip (first pictured below).

 

 

Despite it's look, only two of the five crossings took a bit of terrain reading. The last thing you want is to start a winter trip off with wet feet. The crossings would most likely be even easier at specific times of the year (dependent on the weather), but I can also see them being slightly more difficult due to snowmelt (second crossing pictured below).

 

 

After passing a small ravine to the right and what looked to be a dam, I made my way to the third and fourth crossings.

 

 

After passing the last crossing, I chose to stick right to the creek and begin my ascent to Grass Mountain. A short climb, led me to another path offering more than one option. This is often the case when you are bushwacking and using old logging roads and snowmobile paths. According to the USGS Topo maps I printed for the area, I felt that by taking the right (heading east) at the fork (pictured below) would have led me to Spruce Peak. I opted to go left (north) and continue my way up through a col between Grass Mountain and Spruce Peak.

 

 

The path I chose continued to stay wide and clear as I continued my climb. This also led to knee deep snow and taking a break as an unexpected snow squall passed through with brief whiteout conditions.

 

 

Once the climb between the two peaks plateaued, it looked like you could continue straight and go down the other side or make a 400-500ft ascent and bushwack to Grass Mountain (left, northwest) or Spruce Peak (right, southeast). The brush to the summit of Grass Mountain was pretty thick in some spots, but manageable. 

 

 

Eventually, I came to a clearing which offered a beautiful view of surrounding peaks and the town of Bennington below. Despite the snow, Grass Mountain still lived up to its name as tall grasses poked from the snow coated area just 50ft from the true peak. The summit register of Grass Mountain is a yellow PVC pipe that can be found in a clearing.

 

 

The out-and-back hike for the route I took to Grass Mountain ended up being a total of 6.3 miles and an elevation gain of around 1,905 ft (my mapped route below).

 

 

As far as bushwacks go, this was a pretty easy one by New England standards. Even more so compared to trips further north.  It's a fun hike that will most likely offer you solitude, a rewarding view and a little bit of a challenge. 

 

Have you made the bushwack to Grass Mountain? What route did you take and what was your experience? Have you hiked here in an effort to complete the New England's Fifty Finest list? Share in a comment below.

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