Signal Mountain (3348 feet)
Today I climbed the nearby Spruce Mountain in Plainfield. Since I was in the area, I thought after my hike that I would scout out some possible approaches to Signal Mountain. I first explored Gore Road on the west side of the mountain. The road was well maintained up to a snow plow turn-around, and then after that it degraded into what looked like a driveway. In fact, the road beyond the turn-around was very clearly posted. There is no approach from the west, at least not without first gaining permission from private landowners.
Next, I drove around to the east side which, conveniently, is entirely inside Groton State Forest. Here Gore Road is marked on the west side of Vermont Route 302. However, the road is narrow and rough... not really suitable for travel by a Honda Accord (what I own). It did seem like an SUV-type vehicle would be fine on it, at least for a while. However, turning around on the narrow road would be awkward; in many places there were significant ditches immediately on either side. I also noticed some gates, although they were open today.
However, it would be feasible, I think, to park on Route 302, at the end of Gore Road, and walk in to the mountain. There is no official parking area there, so I'm not sure how safe a vehicle would be at that location. According to the map, walking in from Route 302 would appear to add about 1.5 miles to the hike overall (one way). A similar plan would also probably work for Butterfield Mountain and Knox Mountain (the Northeast Peak, anyway). Note that the summit of Knox Mountain is outside the state forest. I wonder what this area looks like in the winter. Specifically, I wonder if Gore Road is plowed or is maybe a snowmobile trail. I will need to investigate more.
Some investigation on the Groton State Forest web site locates this primitive camping map of the area. It clearly indicates that Gore Road is a "trail" and not a real road. It also seems to indicate an official parking area at the junction of Gore Road and Vermont Route 302. So my earlier idea of parking there and hiking to the base of the mountain might be reasonable and appropriate.
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