Trail: Mt. Abe
Distance: 2.6 miles up, 2000ish feet elevation gain
Level of Difficulty: difficult
Baby Jogger Access: no
Bikes Permitted: no
Of Interest to the Kids: Battell Shelter, rock scrambling toward the summit
How to get there: From Bristol turn right onto Lincoln Gap Road. At Lincoln Gap, hike north on the long trail.
More Info: Here
Our family is in the sweet spot for hiking. Our oldest is a good little hiker and our youngest is happy to ride in the pack. We can do a sort-of decent distance at a relatively decent pace. But the kids both just had birthdays (they’re now 3 and 5) and I know our 3 year-old will soon want to be hiking herself. Once that happens our family hikes will get shorter and slower again for a while. So in the meantime, we’re trying out some longer family hikes.
Out of the trailhead the trail goes pretty steeply up a rise for nearly an hour, then the grade becomes more gentle for 45 minutes or so before climbing steeply up to the summit. With two rest stops it took us about 2 hours 45 minutes to reach the summit.
While the first hour of the trail was steep, there wasn’t much of the hand-over-hand climbing we’d found on other sections of the Long Trail. Near the summit, of course, was a different story. Our 5 year-old son was so thrilled with the long, steep sections of scrambling up bedrock that his enthusiasm was contagious. As a result, our 3 year-old daughter insisted upon doing the last 1/4 mile of the hike herself, and indeed she did, pushing and pulling herself up rock faces with her little hands and feet, happily calling out “I’m a little rock climber!” again and again.
The views from the top are truly fantastic, even on our hazy day. 360° all around from 4000+ feet. This is the first 4000-foot peak our son has done and boy did he sleep well afterwards! We started this hike with a willingness to turn around before the summit (always a good idea when hiking with kids) because we weren’t sure if our son could do it and didn’t want tired little legs to result in falls and injuries. But the rock clambering kept his interest and energy level up and he didn’t start complaining about being tired until we were about 30 minutes from the end of the hike. A 5-minute piggy back ride and a quick snack perked him up. Oh, and 30 minutes of improv-ing his favorite silly rhyming song. Hope no one near us on the trail was looking for peace and quiet!
A little note: The Long Trail and the Battell Trail intersect at 1.7 miles, right before the Battell Shelter, (1.8 miles). It’s worth remembering this on the way back down since it would be easy to charge along down the trail, accidentally going straight and following the Battell Trail without remembering to hang a left to follow the Long Trail.