Lye Brook Wilderness has a beautiful hike up to one of the highest falls in the Vermont, Lye Brook Falls. The 17,842-acre wilderness is northwest of Stratton, VT, within Green Mountain National Forest, and only about 1/5th its size.
Elevation varies within the wilderness from 900’ to 2,900’ with a majority above a high plateau at 2500’. It received its name with Lye Brook flowing through the western half of the wilderness.
The wilderness is forested with northern hardwoods of birch, beech and maple plus small spruce thickets. Wildlife inhabiting the wilderness includes bobcat, deer, black bear, moose, and pine martin with a variety of bird species.
Early in the 1900’s the wilderness was heavily logged, with sawmills, charcoal kilns and railroads occupying the area. Now it is returning to its natural state with ruins of these early industries to be found. The natural setting provides opportunities for solitude with recreational activities.
Lye Brook Falls Trail is 4.6-miles in length up a steady but gradual slope. Blue blazes follow old railroad logging and woods roads. There are several stream crossings and downed trees from a 1995 tropical storm. Hiking the complete trail takes an average of 3-4 to round trip.
Lye Brood Falls at 125’ high is a highlight along the trail. Walk 1.8 miles up the trail on a spur to the right leading to the prominent falls. Slippery rocks of the falls are treacherous so climbing the falls is risky. Horses, mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail. Leave No Trace principles should be practiced, taking all trash out.
The trailhead is in the town of Manchester at 489 Glen Road. Manchester Ranger Station is at Prospect Rock. The nearest services and food is in Manchester. The Green Mountains’ 350,000 acres are in northern and southern sections. Dense boreal forest gives Vermont its nickname of ‘The Green Mountain State’.
Drive from route 7 about ¼ mile east to route 11/30 then East Manchester Road. Drive south about a mile before the overpass turn left onto Glen Road. Drive on Glen Road bearing right at the fork onto Lye Brook Access Road. At the road end is a parking lot, the trailhead on the east side.
Manchester is a town of 4,391 population, first settled in 1764. Land was found unsuitable for farming so by 1839 nearly 6,000 sheep covered its hillsides. Industries included iron mines, marble quarries, mills, and lumber. Following the Civil War it became an affluent resort town with historic architecture and scenic views amid mountains aided by the advent of railroad service.
Manchester is a 4 1/2 hour drive of 284 miles from Rochester NY. Drive I-90 east just prior to Albany drive north on US 87 exit on route 7 driving east to Bennington VT. Continue north on route 7 to Manchester.
Here is a visitor’s impression of the wilderness.
“The falls at the end were amazing.”