The Long Trail in Vermont has the distinction of being the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. The trail runs the length of Vermont, from the border with Massachusetts to the border with Canada. Work began on the trail in 1910 by the volunteers of the Green Mountain Club and was finished in 1930 with the final stretch of trail to the Canadian border. The Long Trail follows the state’s iconic Green Mountain range for a total of 273 miles. The southern 100 miles of the Long Trail are concurrent with the Appalachian Trail.
The Long Trail is known as a rugged trail, especially in the northern section. The trail has many steep, rocky and rooty climbs and descents over Vermont’s highest peaks. The trail also meanders by pristine forests, alpine bogs, ponds and streams. The trail can range from being rocky to being muddy…the diversity of the trail is part of it’s charm.
Even though the Long Trail is located within a day’s drive from major cities in New York, New England and Canada, the trail has a noticeably remote feel to it. The trail does not pass through any town centers, and even though there are many road crossings, the trail stays tucked away from development. Aside from several ski lifts along the trail, the only man-made structures one would encounter on the trail are the shelters, ladders and bridges built by the Green Mountain Club.
There are nearly six dozen sites for hikers to sleep out on the trail. These range from four-sided shelters, to lean-to’s, to campsites. The short distances between these sites allow hikers of all capabilities to hike the trail at their own pace.
The Long Trail is marked for the entire length of the trail with 2” x 6” white blazes. These blazes can be places on trees or rocks, depending on the particular section of the trail. Junctions with other trails are typically marked with signs and often the side trails are blazed blue to differentiate it from the Long Trail. Turns in the trail are often marked with two blazes (double blazes) so that the hiker has a “heads up” to the direction change of the trail.
Day hikers, section hikers and thru hikers will all find the Long Trail a challenging, beautiful and rewarding trail to hike. The many access points to the trail make it highly suitable to section hiking, while the accessibility to resupply and lodging makes the trail great for long distance hikers as well.