New England Hiking -

Hike to Big Jay (with Jay Peak)

On this page: Information | Trail maps | View Photos | Driving Directions
Big Jay Information

Elevation: 3,786 feet (1,154 meters)
Prominence: What is Prominence? 380 feet (120 meters)
Location: Jay, Vermont
Range: Green Mountains
Coordinates: 44°54'57" North     72°32'25" West
Rating: How do the ratings work? Easy/Moderate - The hike up the Long Trail to Jay Peak is a steady low incline hike with small rock scrambles the last 0.4 miles. The hike over to Big Jay is via a well-defined herd path.
Features: Atlas Valley Shelter, Long Trail, Jay Peak summit house (with restrooms and hot food available!), herd path, Jay Peak State Forest, New England Hundred highest
Distance of highlighted hike below: Roughly 6 miles with Jay Peak

Big Jay is 3,786 foot trail-less mountain in the Green Mountains of beautiful Vermont in Jay Peak State Forest. The peak is the highest point in Franklin County, Vermont. It is flanked to the South by Little Jay and to the Northeast by Jay Peak.

Since there is no trail to the summit of Big Jay, most people hike up Jay Peak, then take the herd path over to Big Jay's summit. The herd path is pretty obvious the entire way. See directions below.

Lists Big Jay are on: = A patch is available for this list
New England Hundred highest
New England Hundred highest in Winter season


Big Jay Trail Maps - Directions from the parking lot to the summit Top

The map below shows how to get to the summit of Big Jay and Jay Peak. (Note: This hike involves a herd path to get to Big Jay's summit, which is an unmaintained path in the woods.)


From the parking area on Route 242, the trail starts across the street. It can be kind of hard to see where it begins if the brush is thick. Hike up the Long Trail for 1.7 miles until you reach the summit of Jay Peak. The trail from route 242 is a nice low steady incline and has rock scrambles roughly the last 0.4 miles. Before you get to the summit, you will go up and down a stairwell. Here you can choose to continue on the Long trail, in which case you will walk straight across the wide ski trail and look for the white blazes on the rocks and rock scramble to the summit, or you can go left on the wide path until you reach the summit building. The summit is all bare rocks and there is a building that offers cooked food, beverages with plenty of seating and restrooms.

To continue over to Big Jay, there is a stairwell outside of the summit building. Go down those stairs and walk towards the right down a wide ski path, which is the Long Trail. There will be a few white blazes on rocks on the ground. (If you are hiking in the Winter and won't be able to see any blazes on the ground, the trail is the one directly behind the summit building). You will pass a sign on your right for the Tuckerman's Trail (see photo below). Continue on the wide trail down the hill until you see a fence directly in front of you. Go a few steps to the right and you will see an opening in the fence. (see photo below). The herd path to the summit of Big Jay begins right behind this fence. The path is pretty obvious the entire way with only a few short sections of thick brush. This herd path is known for being MUD CENTRAIL! The mud can be well over a foot deep in areas, so gaiters are a good idea. The summit has a red sled, a summit sign and a small jar hanging on a tree (on a herd path behind the red sled to the left). [all there as of October 2014.]

hiking trail map jay peak vermont big jay mountain hike long trail jay camp 242 jay state forest atlas valley shelter jay pass peak bag jay peak big jay
Click to download PDF Trail Map of Jay Peak and Big Jay

Big Jay View Photos Top


Long Trail 242 Jay Peak traillhead trail head
Beginning of the Long Trail on the opposite side of the parking area on Route 242. Taken on 10/9/14.


summit jay peak vermont new england hundred highest
Summit of Jay Peak. Taken on 10/9/14.


jay peak views summit vermont vt
Views near the summit of Jay Peak. Taken on 10/9/14.


Big Jay mountain vermont vt new england hundred highest
Looking at Big Jay Mountain from the summit of Jay Peak. Taken on 10/9/14.


big jay peak herd path long trail tuckermans
To get over to Big Jay, You will walk down the Long Trail passing this Tuckerman's sign on your right.


big jay peak herd path fence new england hundred highest
While walking down the wide Long Trail section of trail you will see a fence straight ahead of you down a hill. Look to the right and you will see this opening in the fence - the start of the herd path over to Big Jay starts on the other side of the fence.


summit big jay vermont vt new england hundred highet nehh red sled
This is the summit area of Big Jay with the famous red sled hanging in a tree. There was no canister on 10/9/14, but the bracket where it used to be was there.


jay peak summit vermont vt
Looking at Jay Peak from the herd path on Big Jay on 10/9/2014.


herd path jay peak big jay vermont
The herd path between Jay Peak and Big Jay mountain is obvious the entire way with only a few small sections of thick brush.


Big Jay Driving Directions Top

The parking area for the highlighted hike above is located on the side of Route 242 in Westfield, Vermont.

From I-93 North, take the exit for I-91 towards St.Johnsbury. Drive 33 miles and take exit 26 off I-91 to Route 5 West. Drive 5.7 miles and turn left onto Route 14 / Route 105. Drive 4.8 miles and continue onto Vermont 100 South. Drive 5.7 miles and take a slight right onto South Pleasant Street. (Corner of Troy General Store). Take a quick first right onto Vermont 101 North. Drive 3.1 miles and turn left onto Route 242 West. Drive roughly 6.5 miles until you see a wider section of the road on your left where you can park. The trail up to Jay Peak starts across the street up a hill.

If you have a GPS, you can enter Jay Peak Ski Area (830 Jay Peak Road in Jay Vermont) and when you are still on 242, instead of turning onto Jay Peak Road to the ski area, stay on Route 242 for roughly 2-3 miles to the parking area on the left side of the road.


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