Deer Leap is a series of impressive south-facing cliffs that overlook the town of Bristol. With an elevation of 1,825-feet, its rocky facade is hard to miss as you travel into town. The area, not to be confused with Deer Leap Mountain in Killington, is part of the Hogback Range in Addison County.
Information about Deer Leap in Bristol is a bit hard to come by since it lacks mention in most guidebooks and road maps. Little did I know the fascinating lore of the cliffs.
According to local legend, Deer Leap has an interesting story or two behind its name. Native Americans used to hunt deer along the edge of the cliffs, and the deer would leap to their deaths as they were being chased. After the deer had fallen to the ground below, the hunters would then retrieve the carcasses for food.
Also, there’s a lesser-known tale with more of a Romeo and Juliet twist: two young lovers decided to leap from the cliffs because their parents didn’t approve of their romance. Apparently, the thought behind this story is that the doomed couple said to one another, “Dear, Leap.”
Compared to other Vermont peaks such as Mount Mansfield, Mount Equinox and Mount Abraham, Deer Leap is small in stature. But the legend and beauty of the cliffs make Deer Leap entirely unforgettable.