Location: Duxbury, Vermont
Hiking Features: Arctic Tundra, 1944 airplane crash plaque, and plane scraps.
Dog Friendly: Yes, but you’ll have to leash your pet(s) once you reach the top because of the fragile plant life.
Trails reviewed: Monroe Loop
Trail Length: 6.8 miles round trip.
Completion Time: 4.75 hours
Amount of Use: Moderate
Longitude: 72° 53.204′
Latitude: 44° 19.228
Activities: Hiking & Camping
Camel’s Hump stretches high at 4,083 feet, making it the third highest mountain in Vermont. Its name originates from it’s uniquely shaped peaks, much like Mount Mansfield. It was originally named “Tah-wak-be-dee-ee-wadso” or Saddle Mountain from the Waubanaukee Indians and “resting lion” from Samuel de Champlain’s explorers in the 1600’s. In 1830, shortly after Ira Allen referred to the peaks as “Camel’s Rump” on a historical map it finally became “Camel’s Hump”. Camel’s Hump is the only other mountain, besides Mansfield, that has an arctic tundra at the summit.
The most direct route to the summit is the Monroe Trail, which can be accessed on Camel’s Hump Rd. After you pass the sign in post and the loo you’ll cross a boardwalk and enter into the forests, where the trails will be marked with blue blazes. It’s a relatively easy hike and has three viewing spots to the summit – it’s perfect for small kids and elders. The trail does become progressively steeper and more rugged as you approach the summit. There are streams that cross the trail on your way up, which is great if you have pets that need to pause and cool off or get a drink. Junebug loves anything wet or muddy as you can tell from the picture above. Once you reach the top you’ll have a full view of the Adirondacks of New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Before you enter the trails you will find a plaque off the trail on the left that’s dedicated to the 9 soldiers that died when their plane crashed into the side of the mountain. The story goes as such:
On a moonless night in October 1944, a B-24J Liberator bomber from Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts on a routine training mission crashed into the eastern side of Camel’s Hump. The collission killed nine crew members and left one survivor, who spent two nights on the mountain before rescuers could get him down. PFC James W. Wilson, then a 19 year old Army Air Corps gunner from Florida, lost both hands and feet to frostbite. He survived and later established a successful law practice in Denver, Colorado. No one knows why the plane was traveling at 4,000 feet instead of the standard 8,000 feet–some speculate the crew was just trying to stay warm in the cool of the late fall. There had been an early snowfall. Whatever the cause, the plane struck just 100 feet below the summit cone, cartwheeled south, and scattered men and 36,000 pounds of debris all over the snow-covered peak. Rescuers carried out the bodies of the men who were killed. Souvenir hunters and scrap metal dealers have mostly removed the debris, but more than 50 years after the crash, an untarnished aluminum wing section on the Alpine Trail remains as a telling memorial. – The Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Vermont Mountains
Safety Note: It’s always a good idea, in any state park, to sign in and out at the “sign in posts” at the beginning of the trails. The state park officials check those entries every evening and when individuals goes missing. As an added measure of safety, please sign those, especially if you’re by yourself.
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