Grass Mountain is a trail-less hike in southern Vermont and a P2K. It is on New England's 50 Finest list and is an interesting wilderness hike/bushwhack.
A nice view near the summit of Grass Mountain
Continuing with the attempt to climb New England's 50 Finest, I headed out to the very southwestern-est corner of Vermont to climb Grass Mountain. Unlike many of the other summits on NEFF, there's little reason to visit it other than to finish the list. Well, the hike actually was quite pleasant and there was a nice view from the top so it's not entirely pointless. Nevertheless, there's a scarcity of trip reports (or any information, for that matter). Fortunately, I found a few who were from other NEFF questers. Here's the route I took-
To get to the "trailhead", I basically plugged in the GPS coordinates of the end of Shatsbury Hollow Rd to my maps and took a network of paved and unpaved roads to the end. None of them were 4x4 roads, just well-maintained gravel roads. I pretty much parked at the end of the road where it forks into a private road and an unmaintained logging road. Nobody gave me any trouble. The unmaintained logging road which I walked along basically paralleled Little White Creek and came alongside an apparently vacant hunter's cabin. From here, it criss-crossed the creek about 5 times before staying to the right of the creek and ascending to the col. It does appear that there is a completely run-down road that keeps to the left of the creek as well but this option is less-preferable. The road I took diverts substantially from the creek while ascending and I almost thought I had taken the wrong route. However, it eventually met back up with the creek just below the col. At this point, the creek was a mere trickle.
Walking along the road that parallels the creek
Grass Mountain's location in Southern Vermont and relatively low height made for a different hike than what I'm used to in New England. Almost the entire walk up to the col was through broad-leaved forest which was fantastically green this time of year. Even towards the summit, there were very few conifers. Again, quite different from the thick krummholz which is usually seen even at low summits. At the col, many have noted the presence of a broken down Subaru. Well, I'm sure it was once a car, but now it is simply a pile of rocks and debris. However it does mark the point where you begin to cut through the forest to reach the summit. In the way of New England Bushwhacking, this is about as easy as it gets- the whack is just a straightforward walk-up through some mild brush and trees. Its pretty easy to know where you're going although the summit itself is a broad plateau with multiple high-ish looking points. After it became apparent that I had gained all the elevation I could, I scouted out about 3 points within a 15 minute radius which all seemed about the same. Regardless, the summit canister itself is a yellow PVC pipe at the end of a decrepit ATV trail with a small clearing. There are fleeting views.
The col and the Subaru. I'm pretty sure the road continues to the summit, but I elected to do the bushwhack from here
The summit area
There wasn't a whole lot to see at the summit, but as I continued down, I came to an expansive clearing which served as a great lunch spot-
Great barren spot near the summit
I believe the total out-and-back distance was about 6 miles and it was not a difficult hike, by New England standards. Certainly it has more in common with hiking in the Berkshires than it does the Green Mountains. It was a nice change in scenery and a great opportunity to get some more bushwhacking in. So even if you're not a compulsive peak-bagger, its a nice hike. Read. Plan. Get Out There!