Mount Philo, in Charlotte VT, has open western views of the Adirondacks and the Lake Champlain valley making it ideal for sunsets and late afternoon fall lounging. It is a great place for a picnic, bird watching or a leisurely ride.
The 1.2 mile road to the summit is not Pikes Peak. It is narrow and twisty -- first gear only affair -- with good pavement from top to bottom. The bottom half mile has two-way traffic, while the narrower top is one direction only.
A heavy touring bike with a trailer will have challenges on the tighter turns, but most other bikes will have no problem, as long as you maintain the 15 mph speed limit. If you have floorboards, be careful of your ground clearance: shift your weight to the inside and stand the bike up as much as possible.
View from the park entrance
At the top, there is a paved parking lot. A picnic table and a bench for looking west are just a step away from the lot. Grassy areas and trails surround the top of the mountain and there is an enclosed picnic shelter. Park your bike and walk around to enjoy the summit.
Raptors use the high western cliffs during their spring and fall migrations and the park holds the record for single-day sightings of migrating raptors (3,688). The second and third week of September is best time for watching. In addition to hawks, biologists have documented over one hundred species of birds in the park.
The park is located 15 miles south of Burlington. To ride from Burlington take US-7 to State Park Rd (the obvious choice). If you are coming from the south or west, use the Hinseburg-Charlotte Road from Hinseburg center and VT-116 to connect to the Huntington Main Road and VT-17, App-Gap.
Bench at the summit
Entrance to the park is $3 for a day. There are ten campsites, including three with lean-to's. The park rents out quickly, so make sure to reserve a spot by calling 1-888-409-7579, Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.