Bristol Cliffs, Vermont's smallest Wilderness, takes its name from the overhanging cliffs on the huge rocky slopes within the western portion of the area. From their 1,500-foot summit, you can gaze across Champlain Valley, over Lake Champlain, and into the Adirondacks of New York. A bulge of quartzite called Devil's Pulpit, probably used by early Native American toolmakers, dominates the cliff face. The face is considered unsafe for climbing. The forest of Bristol Cliffs provides habitat for beavers, white-tailed deer, black bears, and grouse. If you're lucky, you might spot a peregrine falcon on the cliffs. Two secluded ponds, North and Gilmore, are nestled deep in the interior. Numerous streams tumble musically over low waterfalls. The area has no established trails, and the occasional footpaths to the cliffs are faint and hard to follow. But with a map and compass in hand, you can explore the area and find one of the least visited spots in Vermont.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Bristol Cliffs Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
(Known as the Eastern Wilderness Areas Act) - Public law 93-622 (1/3/1975) To further the purposes of the Wilderness Act by designating certain acquired lands for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, to provide for study of certain additional lands for such inclusion, and for other purposes
(No official title, boundary adjustment for Bristol Cliffs Wilderness) - Public law 94-268 (4/16/1976) To provide for the modification of the boundaries of the Bristol Cliffs Wilderness Area and for other purposes