The Long Trail
Take an inspiring path through the wilderness
The oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S., the Long Trail is 270 miles of primitive footpath that unfolds from one end of Vermont to the other, running north/south along the crest of the Green Mountains from Canada to Massachusetts.
Not only did it serve as the inspiration for Vermont’s Catamount Trail, but also for the Appalachian Trail, which links the mountains from Maine to Georgia, sharing 150 miles with the Long Trail along the way. It is the raison d’etre and offspring of the Green Mountain Club, founded in 1910 “to make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people”.
Scaling peaks like Mount Mansfield (at 4,393 feet, Vermont’s tallest) and passing pristine ponds, alpine bogs, hardwood forests and streams, the Long Trail took the Club 20 years to build. Most hikers start in the south and travel north, following the white blazes that guide the way. Some people collect segments of the Trail over many years, enjoying sights such as the new 136-foot-long suspension bridge for hikers in Johnson on the rocky banks of the Lamoille River. Trekkers range from day-trippers to intrepid backpackers, who unroll their sleeping bags to bed down in 70 primitive huts along the way; those who have walked the entire trail earn the title ‘End-to-Ender’.
The climate varies from peak to valley, so plan for temperature changes and expect wind and cold at higher elevations. The rugged northern trails get the most traffic, but in the gentler south you can do the ‘Green Tunnel’, a two-day 19-mile loop that takes you to the Mount Glastenbury fire tower for one of the trail’s wildest and most expansive views.
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Trip idea text ©Patricia Schultz. For contact information about the places mentioned and many more USA trip ideas, see Patricia Schultz's blockbuster book.