June 2007: Camel's Hump State Park


Waterbury Village, Vermont

There has long been a predilection for naming this distinctive double-humped mountain in the center of Vermont's Green Mountains. The Waubanaukee Indians called it "Tah-wak-bedeece-wadso" meaning "saddle mountain." French
explorers in the 1600s named it "lion couchant" or "resting lion." When Ira Allen sketched out a regional map in 1798 he colorfully called the unique mountain "camel's rump." By 1830 the name "Camel's Hump" was in common usage. The park began in 1911 from a gift of 1000 acres, including the summit, from Colonel Joseph Battell, who bought Camel's Hump to preserve the pristine views from his home. The State of Vermont has continued to adhere to Colonel Battell's ideals and Camel's Hump remains one of the few undeveloped peaks in the Green Mountain state.

Two routes ascend the 4,083-foot Camel's Hump summit to create a hiking loop. The climb starts with a rolling walk through light hardwoods and lifts gradually to the trail fork. Canine hikers will want to stay straight onto the Monroe Trail,
which is a steady uphill path suitable for dogs. The Dean Trail to the left climbs through thick birches and past a reflective beaver pond before joining the famous Long Trail

The Long Trail, a 265-mile scenic route from the Massachusetts state line to the Canadian border, was the first long-distance trail of its kind in the United States. Here, however, it approaches the open, rocky summit with steep rock faces that most dogs can climb only with a helping lift. Better to come down this eastern side of the mountain, not up. The full loop is 7.4 miles. 

Canine refreshment comes in the form of Camel's Hump Brook, that crosses both trails often. After completing the summit loop, walk the View Trail, a wide grass trail, to admire what you and your dog have just accomplished.

Camel's Hump is approached from the north. From I-89, take Exit 10 and go south on VT 100 to VT 2. Go east, or left, into Waterbury Village and take the first right on Winooski Street. Cross the Winooski River and then go right on River Road, a dirt road. Go 5.1 miles to Camel's Hump Road on the left, that follows Ridley Brook. Turn left here and climb 1.4 miles to a fork in the road, bear left and cross a bridge. Continue to climb another 2.4 miles to the eastern trailhead parking.