If you love the sight of an alpine lake set between peaks, you could travel to Norway or Switzerland. Or you can just drive north to Vermonts Mount Pisgah, whose 600-foot cliff frowns like a stony curmudgeon over pristine Lake Willoughby, the cliffs of Mount Hor, and the 7,300-acre Willoughby State Forest. A trail heads north from the parking lot, rising moderately in a pleasant forest. The path isnt too rooty, so instead of staring down, hikers can enjoy the variety of wildflowers and the array of boulders that glaciers left behind. As the ascent sharpens, it nears the cliffs edge, not a delight for those with vertigo. But the summit is only 1.9 miles in, about 90 minutes at an easy pace. For more ambitious folks, the alternative route back is to proceed north 2 miles, over brooks and through lovely woods, to Route 5A and a 3-mile roadside jaunt. No matter the route, the hikes payoffs are three overlooks a few hundred yards past the summit. Each affords vistas of the state forest, peaks in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec, and, of course, the jewel of the lake at your feet. Suddenly its clear why Mount Pisgah is so called. Thats where Moses saw the Promised Land. Stephen P. Kiernan
I-91 to Lyndonville; north on Route 5 to West Burke; north on Route 5A, travel 5.7 miles to the parking area and trailhead.
(Bill Greene/Globe Staff)