In August 2016 I hiked from Canada to Massachusetts on The Long Trail. It took me 26 days including two “zeros” (a “zero” is hiker lingo for a day off the trail). I hiked anywhere from 8-16 miles per day depending on the terrain, the weather, and my body. It was an experience of a lifetime with many moments I hope to never forget. I was deeply humbled by the ruggedness of Vermont and the determination required to thru-hike and I bow my head to anyone who has completed the Long Trail. For pictures and stories of my Long Trail Thru-Hike click here: My Long Trail Thru-Hike 2016
Vermont’s “footpath in the wilderness”
The oldest long distance hiking trail in America.
Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, the Long Trail is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States. The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont’s highest peaks. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with it for one hundred miles in the southern third of the state.
Although the Long Trail is known as Vermont’s “footpath in the wilderness,” its character may more accurately be described as backcountry. As it winds its way to Canada, the Trail climbs rugged peaks and passes pristine ponds, alpine bogs, hardwood forests and swift streams. The Long Trail is steep in some places, muddy in others, and rugged in most. Novice and expert alike will enjoy the varied terrain of the trail as it passes through the heart of Vermont’s backwoods.
With its 273-mile footpath, 175 miles of side trails, and nearly 70 primitive shelters, the Long Trail offers endless hiking opportunities for the day hiker, weekend overnighter, and extended backpacker.
In 1927 the first female hikers completed the entire Long Trail. They were known as the Three Musketeers. One Musketeer named Catherine Robbins Clifford was interviewed in 1987 by Vermont Public Radio as part of a series called “Green Mountain Chronicles”. She tells about their adventure and describes what it was like to thru-hike in 1927 on a newly cut wilderness trail with a group of women. Going on a thru-hike like this without a man and wearing pants was unheard of at the time.
The Long Trail Guide is the official guide to the Long Trail and its network of side trails. This guidebook and the Club’s companion publication Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont, which includes trails outside the Long Trail System, together cover the majority of hiking trails in Vermont.
Trail Marking – The Long Trail is marked by two-by-six-inch white blazes. Along the trail, intersections are usually marked with signs. Double blazes may mark important turns. Side trails are blazed in blue and signed.