Caledonia County High Point Trip Report

Signal Mtn (3,360+ ft)

Date: August 6, 1998
Author: Fred Lobdell

Signal Mountain lies in Groton State Forest. There are no trails to the summit; it is necessary to bushwhack. The route given below follows a jeep trail and foot trail for much of the way. However, most of this route is on private property and it is necessary to secure permission to do this. An alternative approach is to do this as a total bushwhack from a logging road in the state forest.

At the blinker on US 2 in Plainfield, go south. After a few hundred feet, turn left (east) on Brook Road. Follow this for about 3 miles to Gore Rd. (As road signs seem to be missing here, you will need to be aware of the angle of the roads intersecting Brook Rd. on the left.) Turn left (east) on Gore Rd. and take it to the end, where you will find a parking area and "No Parking" signs. The last house on the right is occupied by the owners of the property beyond the end of the road. When I knocked at the door, it was answered by a young woman who said that they did own the land in question. When I told her that I wanted to park at the "No Parking" signs and hike up the gated jeep road that was marked "No Trespassing", she said there would be no problem. So that's what I did.

Climb through the locked gate, passing the "No Trespassing" signs in the process. Follow the jeep road as it climbs gently through the forest, dips a little through an open area, then climbs again, following a stream bed. Where there are forks, stay on the main road; mostly, this is straight ahead, bearing a little south of east. After leaving the stream bed, the trail deteriorates into a foot path, which peters out altogether near the saddle between Signal Mountain and Burnt Mountain. Here you should carefully note your surroundings and start bushwhacking slightly north of east.

This is not an especially enjoyable bushwhack; it is moderately steep in places and the spruces are thickly grown in places. Near the summit you should run into a large flat rock containing a bench mark and some boards, possibly remnants of some sort of shack that had to do with the reason the mountain is named Signal. Keep heading east in the large flat summit area and you should see some red surveyor's ribbon on a tree at about eye level. This marks a register, which is a jar hanging from the tree and placed there by Steve Dokla in April 1998. When I was there in August, there was only one other name in the register -- Bob Packard! He completed Vermont on Signal Mountain in June 1998. Return the same way, being careful to check your bearings until you regain the jeep road.

By this route, this is a hike of about 6 miles round trip with about 1,800 feet of elevation gain. A shorter hike, but one that is a total bushwhack, may be done by driving into the state forest from the east on logging roads. This also avoids possible complications with private property, although if you take the trouble to obtain permission, this should not arise. For access to this area, go south from the Caledonia - Orange county line on US 302. About 0.3 miles south of the line is the large snowmobile parking area mentioned in Jay Meyer's report, but this is closed in summer. Another 0.3 miles south is a gravel road going west into the forest. Take this as it winds west, then south. Take the second right, then make the first left. Follow this road as far as it goes; the mountain in front of you will be Signal. You can park here and bushwhack to the summit. In August 1998, the bushwhack was complicated by the downed trees and branches from the severe ice storm of the previous winter.

If you're feeling adventurous, you may want to do a loop bushwhack, doing either Signal or Butterfield first, then bushwhacking to the other one before returning to your car. I have no idea what the terrain is like between these mountains.