A Vermont’s Long Trail planning guide. Has info on re-supply, town stops, and some other info that may be useful. Through the power of the Internet, I was able to update this doc without hiking it again. Believe me, I’d rather be hiking it again!
This doc was updated last in July 2011 and probably will not be updated again for the time being.
The Long Trail
Vermont’s 270 Mile Footpath Through the Wilderness
The Long Trail (LT) is a hiking classic. Winding its way along the Green Mountains of Vermont, the LT is the nation’s first long-distance recreational hiking trail. For 100 miles, the LT shares the same tread-way as the Appalachian Trail. At the Maine Junction, the LT continues north to the Canadian border for 170 miles. Hiking the LT is both a great way to experience the beauty of Vermont and to use as a “prep” hike for the AT or another long distance hiking trail. To quote Mark “Skeeter” Hudson : “The Long Trail is short enough for a vacation, but long enough for a journey”.
This handout will help you prepare for the basics of a journey for this trail. But, as always, you should always consult with other resources before heading out on an extended trek in the mountains.
The Long Trail at a glance
- The trail is maintained by the Green Mountain Club (GMC)
- Approx. 270 Miles Total
- About 100 miles of the trail is shared with the Appalachian Trail
- Generally has lean-tos 8-10 miles apart
- Most lean-tos are free. A few heavy use areas do charge fee for the night. Unlike the Whites, easy to find free, alternate sites for camping
- Northern portion (past the Maine Junction) is more rugged and isolated
- The northern potion of the LT has Vermont’s highest point and above tree-line hiking
- The trail is marked with white blazes for the main trail, blue blazes for side trails
- Southern terminus is on the Vermont/Mass state line and is accessible via the AT in Massachusetts on RT2 or the Pine Cobble Trail found in Williamstown, MA
- The Northern Terminus is located at the clear-cut and border monument on the Quebec/Vermont line. It can be accessed via the Journey’s End trail found on a dirt road in rural North Troy, VT
Going End to End on the Long Trail
Thru-hiking the LT is called going “End to End” by the Green Mountain Club. A typical end-to-end hike is done in approx. 25-27 days. Typically, at this pace, most hikers will do 10-12 miles a day in the southern portion of the LT. Once past the Maine Junction, the terrain gets more rugged and the daily average tends to be about 8-10 miles per day. After Route 15 (and for the final 50 miles), the trail becomes a bit less rugged and the mileage per day picks up again. A stronger hiker can do the trail in 18-20 days and tends to do hike 15-20 miles per day in the southern portion and 12-15 miles per day in the northern portions. In recent years, esp. with lighter gear, the MPD factor has increased a fair amount for many hikers. Consistent 20 MPD or more being common than in the past. These figures are just rules of thumb, but gives an idea of how long a trek on the LT can take.
Generally speaking, the prime time to hike the LT is from late June to early October. Before mid-June there can be lots of bugs and lots of mud. After early October, you may be “rolling the dice” with a fall snowstorm. No matter when you decide to hike, be sure to take clothing and gear appropriate for the mountains. As with their White Mountain counter-parts in New Hampshire, it has been known to have nasty weather any time of the year in the Green Mountains.
Once a trek of the LT is completed (whether by going end-to-end in one season or by section hiking the trail), the Green Mountain Club will reward a certificate and an end-to-end rocker for your Long Trail patch once it has reviewed your “End to ender” completion certificate. The form can be found on the GMC’s web site.
Re-supplying on the LT is similar to re-supplying on the AT. Unless you choose to, you generally do not have to carry more than 3-5 days of food at a time. Mail Drops may be done the whole way, but at least three common re-supply points have large grocery stores that makes re-supply easy and avoids having to deal with the post office.
Below is a list of common re-supply points used by many hikers going end-to-end (northbound) on the LT:
|RESUPPLY POINT||MILES FROM LAST POINT||NOTES|
|Manchester Center||~55 Miles||Has two large grocery stores, Post Office (PO)|
|RT 4/ Killington||~45 Miles||Post Office 2 miles from trail going east, can also do a mail drop at Inn at Long Trail. The inn is reached via a .5 mile side trail and accepts maildrops via UPS only.Killington also has a small market that can be used for re-supply if you are not very picky.
Finally, there is a bus on RT4 that will take you ~11 miles west to the full service town of Rutland. You could also easily hitch on this very busy road.
|Lincoln Gap||~48 Miles||Warren, 4.7 miles east has a PO, small gen. store Bristol, 10 miles west has PO, large grocery store. Many hikers on the 18-21 day pace will often skip this resupply point|
|Jonesville||~33 miles if Lincoln Gap is used, ~81 miles if not||The PO is .2 miles off trail. The general store was scheduled to reopen approx late June 2009 but that has been put off indefinitely.
If you need to get to a town, you can hitch ~2.5 miles west to Richmond for the basics. If you need more of a full service town, Waterbury is ~5 miles to the East and offers more variety and services than Richmond.
|RT 15/Johnson||~46 miles||College town two miles east of trail.PO. Grocery store is reopen. The Long Trail Tavern is reopened as well. Use this town for your last fifty miles of trail Canadian Border. Outdoor store located in here: http://www.redhousevermont.com/|
|Canada!||~50 miles||CONGRATS! YOU DID AN END TO END HIKE OF THE LONG TRAIL! HAVE A LONG TRAIL ALE TO CELEBRATE!|
Long Trail Guide
This guidebook put out by the GMC has the description of various sections of the LT, maps, mileage data, etc.
End to Enders Guide
From the GMC website: “This guide provides information on trail conditions, shelter, towns, mail drops, water supplies, hiker-friendly inns, shops that repair equipment, transportation to the trail, and much more”. As the GMC description indicates, a very handy guide for extended trekking on the LT.
Long Trail Hiking Map Available on the GMC website. “This full color, waterproof hiking map produced by the Wilderness Map Company in partnership with the Green Mountain Club, provides the latest information about shelter changes, trail relocations, mileage, and more.”
Green Mountain Club
The first place to go for info on the Long Trail. Can purchase the guidebooks and other LT material.
Always a good idea to join the GMC if you plan on an extended trek of the LT.
The Green Mountain Club’s online End to Ender’s info.
Has much good info pertaining to common questions about walking end to end on the LT
The Appalachian Trail Mailing List
Though it deals mainly with the AT, there are many people on the list who have done the LT. With the
AT using part of the LT, there is some overlapping of useful info as well.
White Blaze Long Trail forum White Blaze has a pretty active Long Trail forum
Trail Forums The discussion forum for the Trail Journals site also has an LT discussion group
Long Trail Hiking– Essentially and online version of the End to Enders guide
Travelogues of the Long Trail
Trailjournals.com This site offers many journals and photos from journeys on the Long Trail
Pictures from Long Trail Treks on PMAGS.COM. My photos from my 1997 and 1999 Long Trail treks.
Jamiecompos.com A nice Long Trail site with good photos. Also has some great info about transportation to and from the trailheads.
The Ordinary Adventurer by Jan “LiteShoe” Leitschuh A well reviewed account of hiking the Long Trail
Best of luck on your Long Trail adventure! If you have any questions about this document, or the Long Trail in general, feel free to e-mail me!
Re: Johnson, VT
The supermarket in Johnson town center is now open, renamed “Sterling Market.”
The Long Trail Tavern (about 1 mi. east of the LT on VT15) has also re-opened. Tap & grill.
The LT is a great 3-week through. Never a dull moment!