Monday, May 20, 2013

Jay Peak - Big Jay

The Summit of Jay Peak
STATE: Vermont
DESTINATION: Jay Peak / Big Jay Peak
ELEVATION: 3858 Ft / 3786 Ft
TRAIL: Long Trail, Vermonter (Ski Trail), Sis-Boom-Bah (Ski Trail), Herd Path
DISTANCE: 2.6 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN:
HIKING TIME: 3 4 Hours
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 29, 2010
WEATHER: Overcast, High elevation clouds.


PARKING:

From Rte. 91take Rt. 5 North to the town of Coventry.  When Rte. 5 merges with Rte. 14 Continue a short distance then take a left on to Rte. 14 through the town of Orleans.  Continue 4.6 miles to Rte. 100. Follow Rte. 100 for 6 miles then turn right onto Rte. 101.  Follow 101 North for 3 miles then turn left onto Rte. 242.  Follow 242 6.4 miles. You will pass the Jay Peak Ski area entrance and continue uphill to the height of land.  Long Trail parking is on the left.

MAP: (Jay Peak) (Big Jay Peak)



DESCRIPTION: The Long Trail is marked with white blazes and easy to follow.  Begin your journey by crossing Rte. 242 and heading up the embankment into the woods.  You will soon pass a shelter which I believe is named Jay Camp along with some spur trails heading left to a small camp site.  The woods are heavy with hardwood trees although the grade is moderately-easy and as you quickly reach higher elevation terrain where the terrain becomes more moderate traveling over rock slabs.  At 1.35 miles the Long Trail merges with the Vermonter ski trail and you will soon see the summit buildings looming 0.25 miles in the distance.   You can opt to follow the grassy ski trail to the summit or continue directly across the ski trail following the Long Trail over bare granite slabs rock hopping to the summit.  There is a granite bench dedicated to the memory of Richard Meunier not far from the summit and a benchmark disk near the true summit. Jay Peak offers excellent panoramic views.

If you intend to continue to Big  Jay Peak continue along the Long Trail descending the Sis-Boom-Bah Ski trail for 0.1 mile until you reach a large fence.  There is a white blaze marking the LT on the fence. Follow the Long Trail into the woods and look for the obvious herd path to the left.  The herd path is well worn and well used and in relatively easy to follow 0.9 miles towards Big Jay.  There were several blow downs and muddy spots to navigate which will slow your pace.  The Big Jay Peak summit was previously marked with a glass jar hanging from a tree however recent reports show the jar has been removed.  Ski Patrol uses the Big Jay summit as a staging area for their supplies and summit should be pretty obvious. There are limited views from the Big Jay Summit. Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Long Trail - Vermonter (Ski Trail) = 1.35 Miles
Vermonter (Ski Trail) - Summit = 0.25 Miles
Summit - Long Trail split = 0.1 Miles
Long Trail split - Big Jay Bushwhack = 100 Ft.
Big Jay Bushwhack - Big Jay Summit = 0.9 Miles

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Jay Summit = 1 Hr. 15 minutes
Jay Summit - Big Jay Summit = 1 Hr.
Big Jay Summit - Jay Summit = 1 Hr.
Jay Summit - Parking = 45 Minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS: 

I kicked off my 2010 spring - summer - fall hiking season by making a trip to Northern Vermont to hike 3858 Ft Jay Peak and 3786 Ft Big Jay respectively the 81st and 93rd highest peaks in New England. I was on the road by 5:45 AM for the 3 hour drive to the North Country of Vermont only 6 miles South of the Canadian border. The conditions were perfect for a walk in the woods and the Jay Peak summit was reached pretty quickly. The unmarked herd path to Big Jay was easy to find although peppered with downed trees making navigation was a tad slower. The herd path was easy to follow and led us directly to the summit of Big Jay where I found and signed the summit log book completing my 83rd and 84th peaks on the New England 100 Highest AMC list.
The picture above is the location where the Long Trail merges with the Vermonter (Ski Trail).
As you descend the summit the Long Trail follows the Sis-Boom-Bah ski trail 0.1 Miles. Look for white blazes at a variety of random locations as you descend.

The photo above shows Big Jay Peak in the background. The foreground is where the Long Trail leaves the Sis-Boom-Bah Ski Trail and heads left into the forest.  Look closely for a white blaze in the fence.

A view of Jay Peak from the Big Jay herd path.

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