Looking for an unforgettable drive to do in Vermont? Check out the Mount Equinox Skyline Drive! Take the beautiful mountain road to the summit for some seriously breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges!
About Equinox Mountain
Equinox Mountain is the highest peak in the Taconic mountain range. The top of the mountain is 3,848 feet above sea level. From the summit, you’re able to see five different states as well as Canada! You can see Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, and Mount Royal in Montreal!
Another interesting thing about this mountain is its privately owned! The mountain is actually owned by the Carthusian Order. You can learn more about this religious group and their history at the summit at the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center.
Getting To The Skyline Drive
The Mount Equinox Skyline drive is located in Arlington, VT. The Welcome Center is on Vermont Historic Route 7A. Once you get here, you’ll enter the building to buy your token to enter the toll road up to the summit. You’ll be given a pamphlet and tips for driving up and down the mountain road.
The Drive Up
To get up to the summit, you will take the paved toll road. The road itself is 5.2 miles. It is actually the longest privately owned paved road in the United States! To enter the road, you’ll insert the token you were given at the toll house at the gate.
The ascent to the summit is fairly steep with some pretty tight hair-pin turns. But, this is to be expected on a mountain road! For safety, the speed limit is only 20 miles and hour. Believe me, you won’t want to drive much faster than this on the narrow mountain road, especially because it’s two-way traffic.
As you drive up, there are several paved pull-off areas to park and enjoy some of the views! There are also some picnic areas along the mountain road to enjoy a lunch with some amazing views!
Things To Do At The Summit
The summit offers more than just some great views. Below we’ll go through everything that this summit has to offer!
Visit the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center
When you get to the top of the mountain, you’ll see the Bruno Scenic Viewing Center. This building offers picnic tables to enjoy a lunch with stunning views. There are also viewing decks on the second level that really let you get great views of the surrounding landscape.
There are also exhibits inside of the building to learn about the mountain’s history and about the monks and the monastery. You’ll also find a prayer room on the back side of the building.
From the east side of the building, you’ll be able to see the Green Mountains of Vermont, the Manchester Valley of Vermont, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. To the west, you’ll see the Adirondack Mountains of New York. If you look south, you’ll be able to see the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.
The viewing center has signs on each side so you will know what you’re looking at. As someone who has no sense of direction, I found these signs to be very helpful! It was nice knowing what I was actually looking at from the summit.
Hike The Summit Trails
There are various trails that you can hike once you’re at the summit. Be sure to explore the summit on foot! Make sure you have plenty of water and you’re prepared for weather at the top.
One of the popular trails to take is about a 40 minute out and back to a spot called Lookout Rock. You’ll take the trail behind the viewing center by the radio tower. The path is a bit rocky, so be sure to watch your step!
About halfway to Lookout Rock, you’ll come across a memorial of a dog who was shot by a poacher on the grounds in 1955. The dog’s name was Mr. Barbo. His family loved him very much, and now everyone who walks this trail can visit his memorial.
Once you continue past the memorial, continue straight down the path. You’ll follow the signs to Lookout Rock. When you come to a Y, you’ll go right to get to the lookout point.
You’ll know you’ve made it to the viewing point when you see a bench by a clearing in the trees. Due to the trees, you’ll get the best view of Manchester valley if you stand on the bench. It’s a great place to take a nice break after your hike!
The Drive Down
Once you’ve enjoyed all that the summit offers, you’ll have to make your way back down the mountain. It is recommended that you make at least two stops on your way down the mountain to give your brakes a break. Even with pumping the brakes, your brakes will still get very hot!
We saved stopping for the way down to ensure we gave the car plenty of breaks on the way down. There were many great views, including stunning mountain views and the Carthusian monastery.
In addition to pumping your brakes as you head down the steep mountain, it’s recommended that you drive in low gear. Driving in low gear definitely makes the trip down much smoother and easier.
When you get to the bottom, you can go back into the Welcome Center and buy yourself some souvenirs from your visit! I bought some maple syrup and my sister and mom got shirts and a prayer bear!
Reasons To Drive Up to the summit of mount equinox
The drive itself offers absolutely stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You’ll have views of five states and so many beautiful mountains. Also, it is very cool to be able to say that you’ve been to the tallest peak in the Taconic mountain range!
FAQs about Mount Equinox Skyline Drive
If you’re driving a car up, it is $25 for the vehicle and the driver. For each additional passenger, it is another $5. If you’re driving a motorcycle up, it is $20. Any children under ten are free!
Mount Equinox is located in Arlington, Vermont on Historic Route 7A. The actual address is 14 Saint Bruno Drive, Arlington, VT, 05250.
Mount Equinox Skyline Drive is open 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily, weather permitting. However, the last vehicle is admitted at 4:00PM, so be sure to get there before 4 if you’d like to drive up!
The Carthusian Order. They acquired the land from the successful scientist, businessman and conservationist, Dr. Joseph Davidson in the 1960s. They own a total of 7,000 acres.
Yes! Bathrooms can be found when you enter the Saint Bruno Scenic Viewing Center.