This trail is lovely, easy and suitable for most ages and fitness levels. The views are great at the top and in the warmer seasons a great place to catch a sunset. You can see Monadnock if you're standing where the old cabin used to be. I did see that several people thought the views weren't that great. I completely disagree and I recommend walking around the rocky areas at the top for some less obstructed views. A little exploring goes a long way!This is a place where the Leave No Trace principle is sometimes ignored. Lots of carins in one spot along the trail and on our most recent hike we saw an "art installation" that an artist hung from a tree. This can be harmful to wildlife and it takes away from the being in nature experience for many. I'm all for expression through art, but please leave your "stamp" out of Mother Nature and let her show you her artistry.
This is a good hike and a good cardio workout, whether you climb straight up or enjoy the switchbacks (which is what we did). The views from the top are great, with down-town Brattleboro and beyond below. Park at the old Walmart closer to the stores that are still in business as car break-ins are common. Don't leave anything valuable in your car and don't leave any change in your ashtray or console visible.
There are two ways to access Black Mountain and it seems like some people are reviewing the shorter trail, while some people reviewing the trail listed here. Black Mountain is a horseshoe shape, with a peak at each end. The trail that is listed here (starting at Rice Farm Rd) is progressive for the first half, but pretty steep until it levels off on top. They are beautiful boulders everywhere and the trail is maintained very well. You can see Mountain Laurel and all different colors of granite on the way to the top. Black Mountain is a very unique environment to southern Vermont. In the summer there are blueberries and newts, and all sorts of fun things to see.The peak for the trail that is it listed on this site is rocky and surrounded by trees, but there are some very nice views of Mount Monadnock and of the other side of Black Mountain.
At the top if you look around you'll find a trail that goes to the other side of the mountain and there is smaller peak along the way. This is a very nice trail. It will eventually connect with the other trail which is wider and more groomed, and is more traveled. You can access this from Black Mountain Road. This trail is shorter and can be done in about 30 minutes from the trailhead to the peak.The views here are very nice as you can see Mount Monadnock and all along the West River. There are also a lot of ways to bound down the giant rocks and boulders and do some fun exploring here.
Where the Black Mountain Road trail takes a sharp turn toward the peak, there is another trail off to the right (facing uphill). This is also where you would connect if you came from the other side. If you take this trail and keep left it will go down a steep incline and will travel basically down through the inside of the horseshoe shape. There are fern forests, streams and waterfalls, old quarries with giant granite boulders balancing on one another, and ponds along this trail. It's very beautiful. Eventually this trail will meet up with the trail that is marked on this map (Rice Farm Rd), at the sign-in booth.
If you do this entire loop, it will take a few hours but it is very fun and worth the trip. It is a good hike for people of all skill levels, and the trail leading off Black Mountain Road can be a very fun one for kids and families.