A Question Asked and Answered: Some Really Interesting Camel's Hump History

Tin huts on Camel's Hump clearing
We get questions of all kinds in our reservation call center, many relating to the history of certain land parcels. We're always amazed by what we learn, and thought you might be interested in this one:

A person wrote to us about the restoration of Camel's Hump as follows: "I came across some old photos of tin huts on the upper portion of the mountain that were used by hikers and, I guess, maintained by the GMC back in the 1920's and 1930's. I understand that those intrusions have since been removed and wonder if you can tell me when this laudable action took place?"

Gary Sawyer, Stewardship Forester for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation is my go-to guy for all things Camel's Hump. He knows everything about 'The Hump'. He sent some photos and this reply:
Camel's Hump hotel

During the mid to late 1800’s, into the early 1900’s, it was quite popular for folks from ‘down-country’ to travel on a train ‘up-country’ for a ‘wilderness’ experience. One of the destination locations was Camel’s Hump. The train would stop at the North Duxbury depot, from where visitors would take a horse drawn carriage part way up the mountain, resume their trek on horseback much of the rest of the way, and ‘hike’ the remaining short distance from the now called hut clearing.

Camel's Hump Club hut
This hut clearing is located at the present junction of the Monroe, Burrows, and Long Trails, about 0.3 miles below the summit. This clearing was probably the location of the Green Mountain House, a hotel built by Sam Ridley and sons in 1859 for the travelers, photo attached. This structure burned down in 1875.

The Camel’s Hump Club, a Waterbury based hiking group (not the Green Mountain Club), starting in 1908, used the hut clearing for 4 tents, which were replaced with 3 huts in 1912, photos attached. These huts were removed in the 1950’s. There was also an observation building built on the very summit of the mountain, photo attached.

By the way, this land (a 1,000 acre parcel, including the hut clearing) was donated to the State of Vermont by Col. Joseph Battell in 1911.

Camel's Hump observatory

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  1. Great article! Fascinating history. I was just there on 12/3/11 and really enjoyed the mountain.

    Here's a trip report for those that are interested:


  2. Brian LindnerJanuary 25, 2012

    And a single ground telephone was once installed on the summit. Portions of the old line can still be found near the old Callahan Trail.

  3. Great Blog! Very interesting postings.

    Bob T.


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