Bennington County Highpoint Trip Report

Equinox Mtn

Date: September 24, 2008
Author: Edward Earl

From VT-7A in Manchester Center, 0.4 mile S of the junction with VT-30 and US-7 at the center of town or 0.9 mile N of the county courthouse in Manchester, I headed W on Ways Ln. It is across from the fine art gallery, a red brick building. Call this point mile 0.0. At mile 0.5 I turned R (N) on West Rd, which goes through an affluent neighborhood with nice houses. At 1.9 miles I turned L on Three Maple Dr, which is very hard-packed dirt that's as good as being paved. At 2.2 miles the road turned 30 R. At 2.4 miles, as the road turned an additional 60 R, I turned L on Beartown Rd, which is gravel but suitable for any street legal vehicle, as it provides access to an affluent neighborhood. At 2.7 miles is a junction with Camptown Rd, which heads R (N). A sign nearby says not to park in a way that blocks any road or driveway. Just 100 feet past Camptown Rd, Beartown Rd enters a forest and becomes a jeep track that heads steeply uphill. I parked in an amply-sized pullout on the S side of Camptown Rd.

I hiked up the jeep trail into the forest. After a couple of minutes there was a clearing on the L with some gravel areas; I opted to keep R and remain in the forest. Some "No Trespassing" signs warned against entering the area on the L, but no problem with the main road was indicated. After maybe 10 more minutes, I encountered a fork not shown on the topo map. I was probably at the bend in the road at 1660' and the L branch was not mapped. Not knowing if the L branch would go very far, I opted for the R branch. There were frequent signs prohibiting hunting, trapping, and vandalism but there was no mention of hiking or trespassing in general. Most of the signs identified a hunting club, but a few identified the Nature Conservancy. After another 10 minutes I encountered a fork at 1900'. I could have gone either way but chose the shorter, steeper L fork. At 2040' I reached a junction where I made a sharp L and headed S. At about 2150', the road splits and soon rejoins but that fact is not evident on the map.

Finally, I reached the junction E of the saddle near point 2266. As the topo map indicated, I took the L branch and passed a sign that warned against vandalism or any other destructive acts, and asking anyone seeing any illicit activity to report it. The roadbed made a long steady ascending traverse, then dropped briefly after passing point 3125, then resumed its upward course on a ridge crest. Just after passing Lookout rock is a junction with a trail system coming in from the L. Various trails are identified by various colored markers. This is probably the route used by Brennan Connelly in his report. The road becomes a foot trail and makes its final push to the summit of Equinox, arriving at the back side of a two-story building on the summit. The deserted building appears to be a former tourist hotel, locked and no longer operating except for a pair of bathrooms that remained unlocked, probably for the benefit of those using the still-operating road to the summit.