Part of the Green Mountains, Camel's Hump (elevation 4,083 feet) is a well known Vermont landmark. Vermont's Waubanaukee Indians originally named it "Tah-wak-be-dee-ee-wadso" or Saddle Mountain. Samuel de Champlain (1600's) and his fellow explorers called it "lion couchant" or resting lion. In 1798, Ira Allen's historical map referred to it as "Camel's Rump". Shortly thereafter, in 1830, the name Camel's Hump became commonplace. Check the coins in your pocket: the United States 2001 Vermont quarter contains the familiar outline of Camel's Hump.
The summit of Camel's Hump contains some of the only alpine tundra located in Vermont. Hikers must be wary of the many endangered types of plants living above the treeline. The bare rock of the summit is marked with paint to assist hikers in safely moving through this interesting yet fragile vegetation.
My experience with Camel's Hump occurred during the process of a five-day hike of the Long Trail. The Long Trail meanders back and forth up to the summit of Camel's Hump. Along the way, many cold streams and waterfalls dot the landscape, enabling hikers to cool off in preparation for the difficult trek to the summit. There are also many chances to get a glimpse of wildlife (bear, bobcat, moose, and many smaller mammals inhabit the forests of Vermont's Green Mountains). On our hike, we noticed tree trunks with claw marks, made by climbing bears. Heavily logged during the 1800's, the 23,000 acre Camel's Hump State Forest contains an alpine boreal forest of fir, spruce and paper birch. As we climbed the mountain, these trees began to slowly give way to steep rock ledges.
Although the Camel's Hump summit walk was one of the toughest points of my five-day hike, the view at the top was reward enough: On a clear day on the summit, in the distance you can see the White Mountains of New Hampshire and even New York's Adirondack mountains. Stand at the summit and pivot your body three hundred sixty degrees. All around you, mountain peaks cover the horizon. Be sure to bring a camera and a bag lunch, and take a relaxing break.
Summer is the best time of the season to hike the summit. In October, the trees of Camel's Hump explode in color, displaying the beautiful browns, yellows, oranges, and reds of Autumn
Camel's Hump State Park is located off Interstate 89 between Richmond and Waterbury, Vermont. Since there are many access points to the park, purchase a state map to consider which trail(s) you might utilize for your hike to the summit of Camel's Hump.
Camel's Hump State Park
c/o VT Dept. of Forests
Parks & Recreation
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT USA 05671-0601