Last weekend, I decided to make a bit of a drive up I-89 into Vermont. We are in the midst of fall foliage season in New England, albeit at a delayed pace due to warmer weather than usual. My plans were simple: Head up to the Mad River Valley to take chairlift rides up at Mad River Glen and Sugarbush, and hike around a bit. It ended up being a very memorable day. The first stop was Mad River Glen in Waitsfield. The skiers-only mountain keeps it mostly quiet during the summer and fall, with only hiking and General Stark’s Pub being open. But a few weekends every fall, the iconic single chairlift is open for fall foliage rides. It was surreal to finally go on the chairlift, and the views were exceptional.
I hiked down a bit to check out Paradise, which is known as one of the most challenging runs on the East Coast. I was shocked at how imposing the main face is. The picture below obviously looks steep, but there is a ten-foot cliff hidden on there on skiers right(it becomes a lot shorter during the winter with the snow filling a lot of it in), but you can avoid the drop by hitting a rock-filled steep chute on skiers left.
Next up was Sugarbush Resort in Warren, which is about a ten to fifteen-minute drive from Mad River Glen(depending on which base area you head to). Sugarbush has a bit more going on than MRG, with mountain biking, chairlift rides, a golf course, disc golf, and more. My Ikon Pass got me a free lift ride up the Super Bravo Express and got some great views. The cloudy sky dampened the view a bit, but it was cool to check out the Lincoln Peak side of the mountain.
My last stop was Warren Falls, located just outside of the quaint town of Warren. This is barely a hike, just a short walk really. It’s a great spot in the summer with a lot of potential cliff jumping spots, along with numerous small waterfalls and cascades. Some things to note about the site is that it has limited and narrow parking, so plan on going earlier or later in the day. Overall, I’m stoked to finally go up to visit the Mad River Valley and look forward to traveling back up during this ski season.
Image Credits: Ian Wood, Mad River Glen