In October, 2002, the Long Trail was rerouted here to follow the former Elephants
Head Trail. The name "Elephants Head Trail" now refers only to the
short segment south of Sterling Pond, between Sterling Pond Shelter and Snuffy's
A spur trail, marked with a "View" sign, leaves the Long Trail 2 miles north
of Vermont 108 (1 mile south of Sterling Pond). The spur ends with an overlook
into Smugglers Notch. Underneath the view is a cliff known as Elephants Head.
Peregrine falcons build nests on cliffs like those of Elephants Head. The
National Wildlife Federation, Northeast Natural Resource Center, in Montpelier
keeps track of peregrine falcons in Vermont. Peregrines vanished from Vermont
from 1970 to 1982. In 2002, 59 adults produced 40 fledglings. One of the nests
was in Smugglers Notch.
In the event that another pair of falcons nests in the immediate vicinity of
the view, the spur trail could be closed during the nesting season. The nesting
season ends when chicks are fledged, roughly the beginning of July.
Smuggler's Notch (Cambridge): The Smuggler's Notch pair nested on the Mount Mansfield side of
the notch for the third consecutive year and successfully raised 2 fledglings.
C. Clark reported seeing a peregrine when ice climbing on the cliff on 24 March.
During the cliff survey on 11 April, M. Ferguson observed the pair and confirmed
incubation of the 2001 eyrie in an old Common Raven nest near the top of the
Mount Mansfield side of the notch. Incubation activity appeared to continue
until 4 June, when M. Ferguson saw an adult feed at least 2 chicks on the nest
side. On 11 June, A. McClosky observed 2, 30 to 35-day-old chicks on the nest
side. Both chicks had fledged by 27 June. Closure signs were posted on 8 May,
near the top of the notch road behind the parking area and along the Mount
Mansfield side of the road. We were unable to determine the banded status of the
adults at Smugglers Notch.
The 2002 Breeding Status and Population Dynamics
of Peregrine Falcons in Vermont
New steps, Photo by Ken H.
View from Elephant's Head, Photo by John B.