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A Short Guide to Vermont's Long Trail

The Long Trail (LT) was the first long distance trail ever established in America, and it’s also one of the most rugged with steep ascents and long spells of wet weather. The LT traverses the entire state of Vermont - from the border of Massachusetts to the border of Canada - and hits many of the major peaks in the state.

Every year hundreds of hikers set out to complete an end-to-end hike on this trail, and they’re rewarded with sweeping views of the Green Mountains and White Mountains of New Hampshire, spectacular fall foliage in the later months, and a journey they’ll surely never forget. In this guide, we’ll outline everything you need to know to have a successful hike on the Long Trail.

Have you completed an LT end-to-end hike or are you planning to go for it? Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 272 miles (plus a few extra for the approach trails at the beginning and end)
  • Days Needed: 19 to 28 days (seriously fit and experienced hikers may take less time, but you really need to know your limits - this is a very tough trail)
  • Peak Elevation: 4,389 ft. - Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest point
  • Low Elevation: Around 300 ft.
  • Elevation Gain/Loss (approx.): 63,500 ft./63,600 ft (south to north)
  • Best Time:  June to mid-October (the Green Mountain Club [GMC] requests that hikers start after Memorial Day to avoid the peak of Vermont’s mud season)
  • Permits: None
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

Highlights

  • Well marked and maintained trail
  • Shelters and privies along the entire route
  • Frequent road crossings make it easy to resupply or do section hikes
  • Dense forest with a lot of unique flora and fauna (bears, moose, owls, mushrooms, berries, etc.)
  • Water is plentiful
  • Mild temperatures (avg. high temp: 70’s for the height of summer,  60’s for early fall/avg. low temp: mid 50’s in summer, high 40’s for early fall)
  • If hiking northbound, terrain becomes progressively more difficult so you get a good warm-up before tackling the toughest mountains
  • Social and friendly trail community
  • Feeling amazingly capable and confident at the end of the journey
  • Summiting Vermont’s highest peaks with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains

Interested in reading Dave and Annie's entire guide to Vermont's long trail? Head here

LAST UPDATED

May 7, 2022

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Clever Hiker

Media Mentions from Clever Hiker

CleverHiker.com is a website dedicated to providing knowledge, skills, and gear recommendations for lightweight backpacking adventures. We make tutorial videos, gear reviews, and in-depth trip guides to make backpacking easier for everyone.

We're Dave and Annie, the gear nerds behind Cleverhiker.com. Dave is a thru-hiker, Eagle Scout, and nature nut who's trekked every continent on the planet. Annie is a "retired" teacher who swapped out the classroom for wilderness adventures. We built CleverHiker.com to help share our backpacking knowledge, inspire people to get outdoors, and help conserve our wild spaces.

MEDIA MENTIONS

Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti

MEDIA MENTIONS

Ultra-compact and lightweight

House Grail
Media Mentions from House Grail

MEDIA MENTIONS

I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie