ADVENTURE HIKES AND CANYONEERING© Christopher Earls Brennen
IN THE SOUTHWEST
Hike R2. Camel's Hump, Vermont
- Hiking time: 4.5 hours
- Estimated hiking distance: 6.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 2588 feet
- Topo Maps: Camel's Hump
- Difficulties: Some scrambling
- Special equipment: Leather gloves, rain gear, warm clothing
Camel's Hump is a prominant peak in the Green Mountains in the State of Vermont. The north slope of the mountain borders the Winooski River. The Abenaki name for the mountain was ta wak be dee esso wadso, or tahwahbodeay wadso, which has been variously translated as resting place, sit-down place, and prudently, we make a campfire in a circle near water (and rest) at this mountain. The explorer Samuel De Champlain named the mountain "Le Lion Couchant" but after about 1830 it became known as Camel's Hump because of its distinctive shape when viewed from afar.
The hike begins at the Monroe Trailhead (44o18'57"N 72o50'54"W and 1495ft elevation) at the end of the Camel's Hump Trailhead Road and slowly climbs through the forest to the rocky summit, the last stages requiring some scrambling. The views that emerge as you climb are spectacular particularly the vibrant colors of the fall foliage season.
Legend has it that a company of Spanish adventurers passed nearby in the early 1800s, expecting to return after some business with the trading stations on the St. Lawrence. So they hid a part of their gold on Camel's Hump. They dispersed and only late in life did the sole survivor return but failed to locate the hidden treasure.
Beside the Alpine Trail near the summit are some remains of the B-24J bomber that crashed into the mountain in October 1944 during a second World War training flight. Beside the Monroe Trailhead is a plaque commemorating the crew.
Drive 25mi SE from Burlington, Vermont, or 20mi NW from Montpelier, Vermont to North Duxbury, Vermont, specifically to the junction of River Road and the Camels Hump Trailhead Road (along the way you need to find your way off I89 and off Vermont route 2 onto River Road). From there drive 3.5mi south on the Camel's Hump Trailhead Road to the Monroe Trailhead parking lot at 44o18'57"N 72o50'54"W.
Next to the trailhead is a cemetary where Will Monroe and his sister are buried alongside several of Will's dogs. There is also the aforementioned plaque commemorating the WWII crew of the WWII training flight that crashed on the mountain.
At the trailhead (44o18'57"N 72o50'54"W and 1495ft elevation) you should register and note the route to the summit via the Monroe Trail, the Alpine Trail, the Monroe Trail again for the last section to the summit.
Camel's Hump from the west
At 1.3mi from the trailhead, the Monroe Trail meets the Dean Trail at 44o18'39"N 72o52'31"W and you fork left staying on the Monroe Trail. About 2.5mi from the start you fork right onto the Alpine Trail and reach the summit after another 0.3mi. The summit is at 44o19'10"N 72o53'11"W and an elevation of 4083 ft. The total climb is 2583ft.
Last updated 23/1/23.
Christopher E. Brennen