I know I’m home when I see Camels Hump in the distance. Whether I’m in a car, on foot, or in a plane, Camels Hump is the landmark I eagerly watch for and smile at when it comes into view. It’s a navigational point of reference, a familiar place, and a personal favorite. Camels Hump is a mountain I love.
My feelings are hardly unique. Of all the peaks in the Green Mountains, Camels Hump seems to be universally adored by Vermonters. At 4,083 feet, it’s the third highest mountain in Vermont (tied with Mount Ellen), and it’s the only one of Vermont’s tallest peaks to remain untouched by development. The mountain is also instantly recognizable and can be seen from so many different parts of Vermont—from Charlotte and South Hero to Stowe and Barre Town.
The mountain is a prime spot for hiking. The open summit offers views of the Adirondacks, White Mountains, and Greens. According to the Green Mountain Club, about 20,000 hikers visit Camels Hump in the summer and fall, making it the second most popular mountain in Vermont for hiking (Mount Mansfield is number one).
But why do Vermonters have such a soft spot for Camels Hump? My friends at Vermont Life magazine have a few theories.
An Iconic Emblem
“For one, Camels Hump is so untouched by development that everybody can relate to it as the iconic emblem of Vermont,” said Vermont Life Editor Mary Hegarty Nowlan. “Also, for anyone who enjoys the change of seasons, Camels Hump is always the first and last place to be snow-covered. On cold September mornings, it can be a real shock to see it glowing in the early morning light. When spring has overtaken the valleys, the mountain is still there, holding on tight to winter.”
Every Hike is Different
Vermont Life Associate Publisher Sky Barsch is an avid hiker, at the mountain holds many memories for her. It’s the first place she ever went backpacking, and she once hiked the mountain in two feet of snow on Memorial Day.
“It’s always an adventure and it’s never the same. Once you hit the landing where the Long Trail, Burrow’s and Monroe trails meet, there’s a sense of anticipation as you round the rock face and get closer and closer to the summit,” Barsch said. “That’s when you start getting views of Lake Champlain and you know the summit marker is just a few minutes away, and all your hard work is worth it.”
The downside to this particular hike? Not seeing a view of this gorgeous mountain when you reach the top.