Fairlee is a hugely popular summer vacation hotspot in Vermont’s Upper Valley. Home to Lake Morey and neighboring Lake Fairlee, this small town gets overrun by summer campers (there are various summer camp sites in the area), tourists and road trippers. The two lakes offer all kinds of water recreation, while the surrounding mountains are crisscrossed by many hiking trails. Hiking the Palisades is one of those excellent trails runs up to the summit.
Hiking The Palisades: A Scenic Hike in Fairlee, VT
The Palisades is basically a rocky ledge on the flank of Morey Mountain. The trail is rather short, at about 1.1 miles one-way, but the elevation gain is quite high for such a short distance, approximately 400 feet. Particularly the first section of this hike in Fairlee is exceptionally steep. (It’s also pretty short, though.)
This nice, less-known hike takes hikers through a typical Vermont forest, the trail running up and down rocks and over tree roots. It ends at The Palisades, which is an important nesting ground for peregrine falcons. Definitely make sure not to disturb them during their nesting period! (The trail may even be closed during nesting season.)
In terms of views, those you get fafer hiking The Palisades are among the best I’ve seen in this part of Vermont. Although not encompassing 360 degrees, the vista takes in the ledge itself, Interstate 91 below, as well as the iconic Fairlee bridge across the Connecticut River and the mountains in New Hampshire beyond. The views are pretty spectacular, making this quick hike absolutely worth it when staying in Fairlee, Vermont.
The trailhead lies just off the I-91 exit ramp in Fairlee. Hikers can park their vehicles at the Fairlee Fire Station on Lake Morey Road and simply walk over to the trailhead.
Hiking The Palisades doesn’t take longer than 25 minutes. Going back down, the same way, takes about 20 minutes. Because it’s so short, it makes for a great sunrise or sunset hike with views of the Upper Valley and the surrounding mountains.