Lower Wantastiquet Lookout

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Viewing point for panoramas of Brattleboro

The most common hike up Mount Wantastiquet is the carriage road to the summit from the trailhead on Mountain Road. However, some trees prevent a completely clear view of downtown Brattleboro from that point (even though the view was greatly improved in 2009 by an extensive brush clearing effort.) The view of choice for creating panoramas over the centuries is a little-visited outcropping just halfway up the mountain.
Wantastiquet Mountain viewed from Bridge Street, showing the popular lookouts

The lower Wantastiquet lookout has a near-level surface suitable for a tripod and provides an unobstructed panorama of Brattleboro from the lumberyards on Vernon Street to the Retreat Meadows.

2009 panorama

Taken on October 19, 2009 by Dan Axtell. The roof of Wal-Mart is in the extreme foreground.
Taken on October 19, 2009 by Dan Axtell. The roof of Wal-Mart is in the extreme foreground.

1921 panorama

1921 panorama by Hayes Bigelow
1921 panorama by Hayes Bigelow

1921-2009 overlay

Dan Axtell has a web page that overlays the 2009 panorama on the 1921 panorama. A transparency slider lets you see compare the two views. Some notable landmarks are described as you move your mouse pointer over the photos.

Other panoramas

These images are variously titled "panorama," "panoramic view," or "bird's-eye view." The mountain was christened "Wantastiquet" in 1852, so early descriptions refer to "Chesterfield Mountain."

  • c.1845 Daguerreotype by Thomas M. Easterly of Guilford[1]. His Daguerreotypes are "among the most important images in the collection" of the Vermont Historical Society and the earliest known photographic images of Vermont[2]. That image is not available online in 2009.
  • 1856 lithograph by J. H. Bufford appears on page 16 of Before Our Time[3]
  • 1880 photograph by C.L. Howe appears on page 120 of Before Our Time[3]
  • 1905 hand-colored postcard, found on the Brattleboro page of Wikipedia (2009).

The trail

The trail to the lower Wantastiquet lookout is a quarter-mile spur off the popular summit trail. The trailhead is the well-marked parking lot at the end of the passable section of Mountain Road, the first left turn off Route 119 in New Hampshire. Walk halfway up the carriage road to the sixth switchback. The road distinctly levels off here as you are walking south. As the switchback curves left, there is an old, leaf-covered road that goes straight ahead. This road is clear and level for 100 feet where it crosses a small, seasonal stream. For the next 100 feet, the road goes slightly uphill. At this point, the crown of a fallen oak tree blocks the way. Once past the oak, the road bends right slightly and heads gently down hill. For the next 300 feet, the road is straight and quite road-like. Then a washout along with underbrush and fallen limbs completely obscures the road. You want to go straight another 200 feet, but you'll have to cross a stream and bushwhack with the stream on your right for these 200 feet. Here the little stream curves right and then goes down steeply. Note: at this point you're only 500 feet from the lookout and you could bushwhack there by walking generally south. The road (completely unrecognizable here) bends left slightly and goes down 100 feet diagonally towards the bigger "antenna line" stream (the one that runs past the trailhead). You'll step over an old, blackened fallen tree to get down to the stream. The stream here is flat enough for a vehicle to ford across. You also pass under the antenna line at this point. The last 400 feet of road is a little easier to follow, although there are 60-foot beeches and oaks growing between the wheel ruts. Stop when you get to a spectacular view. At the lookout, someone hung a white shirt on a tree branch (visible as a white dot from downtown). If you come to a rock slide, you went 50 feet too far--easy to do in leafy mid-summer. Total hiking time is about 30 minutes each way.

See Also

"The Mountain," Annals of Brattleboro

"The Road to Wantastiquet," Annals of Brattleboro, Vol. II


  1. Kilgo, Dolores Ann, Likeness and landscape: Thomas M. Easterly and the art of the daguerreotype, Saint Louis, Missouri, Missouri Historical Society Press, 1994, pp. 145, 147
  2. Leahy Library Resources, http://vermonthistory.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=45, accessed 24 Oct 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barry, Harold A. et al., Before Our Time: A Pictorial Memoir of Brattleboro, Vermont from 1830 to 1930, Brattleboro, Vermont: The Stephen Greene Press, 1974
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