Orange County High Point Trip Report

Butterfield Mtn

Date: February 2001
Author: Jay Meyer

I have bushwhacked up Butterfield Mountain twice: once in November, 1994, and a second time in February, 2001. My route leaves from a logging road in the Groton State Forest, close to the notch and stream between Butterfield and Signal Mountains. The route proceeds up the northeast side and north ridge of Butterfield Mountain to its wooded summit. Although there are no views from the summit, there are some partially open clearings on the north ridge which offer views north and northeast. The summit has an AMC 3000' Log in a jar tied to a tree, which is marked by orange surveyor's tape.

The route described makes below a very nice, though strenuous, winter snowshoe trip. You can use skis to get up and down the road to the start of the route, although you must be careful because in the winter that road is a snowmobile trail which has quite a bit of traffic. Bushwhacking up the northeast side of the mountain was difficult in the fall, because the ground is mossy and rocky and there is quite a bit of dense undergrowth. The road is generally open for vehicles except in wintertime, although you will need four wheel drive and good ground clearance to get to the start of the hike.

The road leaves Route 302 west of Groton, just south of a snowmobile (winter) parking lot. The road heads downhill (west), then branches. Stay on the left (southwest) branch, cross a stream and pass through a gate. Climbing uphill, the road bears left (southwest), then right (west) and shortly comes to a junction, with a level road to the left (south) and a very steep road to the right (west). If your vehicle isn't up to the climb, leave it here! Proceed up the steep road on the right, and follow that road northwest to its highest point. There are several very steep pitches which are difficult in wet weather. The point is marked by a wide turnaround. Northwest of the highest point, the road dips down a short distance to a stream crossing and the notch between Signal Mountain (to the north) and Burnt Mountain (to the southwest). Leave your vehicle at the clearing at this high point.

From the road, head west into the woods and proceed in a straight line as directly uphill as possible. At times, the slope is steep and it is mossy, rocky and thickly grown. After approximately 1/2 - 3/4 mile, you will reach the north ridge at the top of a fairly steep bank. Once on the north ridge, follow the height of the ridge as it curves southwest and south through several partially open clearings to the summit. There are quite a few game trails which make the going easier, although the raspberry bushes don't help. As noted, the summit is marked by a tree with orange surveyor's tape and a jar with the AMC 3000' log. Although the summit is not particularly prominent, it is fairly easy to find if you just keep going up until you can't go any higher.

On the return, you must be very careful to follow the same route. It is easy to turn downhill (right/east) too soon, which will bring you onto a very steep slope. As with any bushwhack, please be aware of your impact and DO NOT LEAVE TAPE OR OTHER MARKERS.