On Wantastiquet, the trail is dry and the mountain laurel is blooming. On June 23, 2021, there was no water on the carriage road trail up to the summit. Not even a puddle. Really, things are that dry. You can wear sneakers. And the mountain laurel will be in bloom for another week. Invasive mountain laurel is everywhere on Wantastiquet, unfortunately, but it sure is pretty for these two weeks. It doesn’t bloom well at lower elevations, so you won’t see blossoms until the 7th hairpin turn (out of 9). The blossoms are much better if you continue past the summit towards Mine Ledge. (The trail after the antenna tower is narrow. I found a tick on my arm within three minutes. Past the summit, tick precautions are necessary.)
The view from the summit is disappointing now. The scruffy oak trees were last cleared out in 2009. Now they block most of downtown Brattleboro. Instead, you should take the side trail at the 6th hairpin turn to see the view from the lower lookout–the preferred spot for Brattleboro panoramas for 165 years. I’ve posted the two panoramas I took today on iBrattleboro’s photo section. It was a post-thunderstorm morning with low humidity–perfect for a photo. There’s even some mountain laurel in bloom on that side trail. That outcrop will have good blueberries in two weeks.
There’s a beautiful, unknown 3-mile loop trail on Wantastiquet. I discovered it a few years ago. I’ve pushed fallen branches to the side, so now it’s sort of possible to follow it. I’ve posted a GPS track “kmz” file here that can be used on a smartphone to help stay on the trail, www.danaxtell.com/Wantastiquet_Flank_Loop.kmz . Google Earth will show this track as an overlay.
The trail goes nowhere near the summit, but does visit the best panoramic lookouts on the mountain—the ones that photographers have been using for 170 years. The loop is possible only because there is a carefully graded trail and retaining wall through the rockslides on the steepest section. I have never seen a mention of this stretch of trail. I found it while exploring the various lookout points in the area. It’s a mystery.
It’s a good year for wild blueberries on Wantastiquet. A week ago, I picked a cup of blueberries at the lower lookout. The photo is from July 30 with downtown Brattleboro in the background. There were plenty still ripening, so there should be a modest crop of ripe blueberries about now.
To get to the lower lookout, just go straight at the sixth hairpin turn. The spur trail is a quarter mile and pretty easy to follow. The view is historic and much better than the view from the summit. The ripe berries are in the sunniest spots, so you’ll have to explore the outcrops a bit to maximize the harvest. There is no poison ivy on Wantastiquet, but do take tick precautions. Don’t forget the binoculars.