Explore the most popular birding trails in Ascutney State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I found this to be a pretty strenuous hike, fairly steep all the way to the top. I agree with others that it’s on the harder side of moderate, because there are some tricky spots. I definitely felt that I got a good workout! Today was a pretty cloudy day, so there weren’t really views to enjoy. I imagine that it would be spectacular in better weather. If you enjoy waterfalls, this is the hike for you.

16 days ago

A beautiful view! One of the best I’ve seen so far but you definitely have to challenge yourself to make it to the top! Following the previous comment - I definitely questioned my life choices during this hike! Bring lots of water and wear some good gripping shoes for the slippery rocks! I did a lot of researching before doing this hike I will say all of these reviews have nailed it on the head!!!

Great hike. I would rate as moderate-hard due to steepness in sections and need to scramble over rocks at times. But very easy to follow and lots of variety of terrain-soft forest floor, rocks, tree roots, etc. I agree that Gus’ Lookout and West View the best places for views but Observation Tower also worth it. Overall I really liked this hike and would do it again. But I would say to expect a good workout. It took me and my husband about 5 hours but we took it easy going up, making frequent stops ;and going down, although taking less time, requires attention to footing and I always find down harder.

This was the third time I have hiked this trail. The lower section is moderate with some really neat rock ledges and the cascade falls is definitely worth going to see. There are a couple of waterfalls in this section. The falls are mostly runoff so if the season is dry there may be no water running. As the trail climbs the mountain it gets more rocky and root covered. As you near the top the lookouts to the west as well as Gus' Lookout are worthwhile stops. The observation tower at the top offers 360 degree views and there are plaques that show the distant peaks and towns nestled in among them. The descent is tougher than the ascent for me and careful footing is key. Overall I really like this trail. It is well marked and easy to navigate.

Great trail. Very well marked and maintained. Steady ascent to summit. Observation tower at top offers good views. Some traffic noise on a stretch of lower middle of the hike, but otherwise quiet. I’m 51 and in reasonably good shape and got to summit in 2.4 hours, skipping the waterfall via the bypass. It took 1.5 hours from summit back to car on same route.

1 month ago

Great views. Trail well maintained and well marked. Easy hike and goof for kids...

Some rock scrambling, but nothing too challenging. Great 360 degree view from the tower at the top. Be sure to stop at Cascade Falls and Gus’ Lookout on the way. Took us 3.5 hours with short stops.

One of my new favorites ... nice variety of terrain that makes it challenging but not grueling. Great views from several locations, and some nice water features and rock formations. Took me 2 hours up and 1.5 hours down.

I enjoyed the many different view locations on the trail. it really made the hike worth it. though it wasnt too far up to the summit it felt like forever. the farther up you got the more difficult the terrain was. the trail was marked very well. I spent a total of 5 hours on the trail I'm sure some may have better time I found myself having to stop often to continue motivating myself. the likelyhood of me doing this trail again is very unlikely only because it kicked my butt.

Amazing views! Lots of stops with water ways if you have a pup in tow. Quite a few off-leash dogs though, just something to watch.

only went the 1.1 miles in. stopped at the falls. a lot of up. good for active people. beautiful views

I hiked this on a Wednesday and saw a total of about 10 people. I had the west view to myself for a good thirty minutes. I’d agree that this is definitely on the harder side of moderate...perhaps just hard. The cascades were beautiful and perfect for my pup to cool down in. I only went to the west viewing platform, as I had read that the summit’s views were not as stunning. So many mushrooms!! I have never seen so many mushrooms of different shapes, sizes, colors. I found the trail to be very well marked and easy to follow. I highly recommend this beauty of a hike!

This trail is amazing, with several small cascades and one very tall one before turning right to keep climbing up. The west view is the ticket, and the summit is less so, but there is a view if you climb the tower. I would not rate this trail as moderate, but hard. I am comparing this to WMNF trails labeled moderate which are significantly easier, as well as comparing to Catstill mountain trails labeled hard and rightly so. Just be prepared for a big workout.

Nice trail, took side trip to fall. Total time 5 hours. Trail was wet and slippery after heavy rain for a few days.. Saw group with young children going up.

2 months ago

First of all, it should be said that it rained much of our hike, which we knew was going to happen going into it. It may have been a five star hike otherwise... It’s a beautiful trail with lots of relaxing waterfalls and streams and it smelled like Christmas trees, which was great even in the rain. And, yes, it was a butt-kicker. The other reviewers got that right. But it’s not scary rock face, scrambling kind of hard (which is always what I envision when I see a trail rated as “hard”). It’s just the huffing, puffing kind of hard on the way up and sore knees kind of hard on the way down. I definitely will try it again when it’s nicer out and I can actually see something from the summit.

Amazing 360 view from the top. Could see many mountains we have hiked in New Hampshire and Vermont. There was a picture that listed the mountains on the observation tower. Hike was very doable for a couple experienced hikers. The only challenge is the continued steepness. There were some slippery rocks but nothing that couldn’t be handled. I’d say most people other than beginner hikers could complete the hike. Can’t speak for the other trails that take you up to the top but will definitely be visiting again.

Views are SPECTACULAR! This is going to be a little challenging if you aren’t an experienced hiker or in good shape. Gets steep quick after the mini falls. No water running down the mini falls, and just a little trickle running down the big cascade falls but it’s very pretty if you hike around to the bottom and look up! The rocks on cascade falls are very slippery and steep please use caution if you look over the edge. Personally I didn’t even get close enough to look over and I was slipping, so I just walked around to the bottom. Best view was west peak for sure. Beautiful platform to enjoy the view from and eat lunch. Also Gus’s lookout and the other west lookout are just as rewarding, I recommend hitting them all!! You have to go up The tower at the summit to get a 360 degree view- I will definitely do this hike again!

My sister and I hiked it and we had a great time. We got caught in a thunderstorm which was pretty awesome/scary with lightning flashing right above your head. Definitely recommend bug spray, don’t really need sun protection with the trees around. The trail is very well marked and maintained. We made it to the top and back in about 5.5 hours. The way down was slow going in the rain and my sisters knees were bothering her. The waterfall was more of a babbling brook but the view was nice, I imagine it would be a lot better with the snow melt off in spring. The observation tower was cool too but the best view of the valley is from the Wester Vista where there’s a wide open clearing. Didn’t see too many people, just a mother daughter who had driven up to the summit parking lot and walked over to the summit. I would recommend it!

3 months ago

Hike is moderate to difficult. Plan for the day. Trail does not offer any views but panorama at the Summit makes it worth it! Lots of friendly dogs.

3 months ago

wow. nothing like hiking in the northeast. aside from the bugs buzzing around my head, super beautiful. almost all shade. waterfall was awesome. good workout lots of elevation gain. saw some Hawks nests... no inhabitants that i could see. as a lone hiker today, pretty isolated, might consider traveling with someone.

It was a pretty good well managed trail but still very challenging. Not only was it very steep but the rocks were slippery. Still a fun trail with great views and things to see on the way.

We chose this trail as it was on our way from the Hudson Valley to Hanover, NH. And we are training for a backpacking trip. This hike was a good 5 miler with lots of elevation gain. And it was beautiful. The view from West Peak Vista was quite good. Footwork is key on this trail. ESP if you are carrying weight. Since it is heavily travelled with resulting erosion. It’s mostly rocks and roots. But lots of fun! The climate may change a bit between bottom and top. Nice trail. We highly recommend it.

5 months ago

Just got back from this hike - this is sort of an updated post to my previous post. I finally completed the entire trail this time! This is still one heck of a but kicker of a trail! If your like me, You will be questioning your life choices. Mostly you will question the choice to hike this trail instead of any of the easier trails on the mountain. My dog and I started at 5:45 and we got back just before 8:30 - we ran some of the way down the mountain. Amazing views at the top though - especially at Brownsville rock - which in all my times hiking this mountain had never been to for some reason. We were there just about sunset - it was amazing!

great winter hike! well marked trails, fairly steep in sections. wish I'd brought the trekking poles. micro spikes were a must. glad we chose this trail instead of the falling waters trail in the whites, as a storm system was coming in. even though there were no views at the top, the falling snow was magical. partially frozen waterfall was spectacular.

Trails clearly marked. Even with the snow we’ve had there was a well defined path. Only made it to cascade falls due to daylight so will definitely have to come back to summit.

7 months ago

Fun hike, started raining halfway through so can't say too much about the summit view but it was a great distance and elevation for a day hike challenge. There's a great spot a few miles from the base called the Path of Life Garden which is really breathtaking and I highly recommend taking time to see.

Fairly easy winter hike, trail was well marked. Cascade falls was pretty well frozen over but still beautiful. Overall, a very scenic and pleasant hike. Curious to return in spring/summer.

beautiful trail with lots of views and waterfalls! ate lunch on the hang glider landing and saw a grad total of 3 other people. :)

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