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How to Hike Vermont’s Long Trail

Bog Bridges on the Long Trail, Vermont

Finished in 1930, The Long Trail is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States and shares a National Scenic Trail designation along with longer trails such as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. The trail is 272 miles in length running the length of Vermont from the Vermont-Massachusetts border to the Vermont-Canada Border. Remote, muddy, and mountainous, it is considered far more difficult and rugged to hike than the Appalachian Trail.

I volunteer as a Long Trail Mentor for the Green Mountain Club which maintains Vermont’s Long Trail. I section hiked the Long Trail or LT in 2008, and have been giving free advice to people ever since because it was such a transformative personal experience for me.

I’ve been having a lot of email correspondence this month with hikers interested in hiking The Long Trail next year and I thought I’d summarize what I’m telling them. If you’re planning a hike, fire away with questions in the comment box below. I’m happy to help you plan or give advice about what to expect.

Hiking Season

The best time to hike The Long Trail is between June and mid-October.

The Green Mountain Club requests that hikers stay off the trail until Memorial Day at the end of May because snowmelt makes the trail very muddy and hiking causes too much erosion.

While there are black flies in June, you can still hike the trail then although it’s probably best to cover up with long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and to bring a bug net. After mid-October, the weather starts to turn cold in Vermont. If you want to enjoy Autumn on the trail, September is probably the best time to go

Trail Difficulty

The Long Trail is a difficult trail to hike because it’s very rocky, and muddy and there are a lot of mountains on the route. The easiest part is the southern 100 miles, which coincides with the Appalachian Trail. After that, the trail gets much more mountainous and remote.

How to Prepare

If you don’t have previous experience backpacking and camping, you don’t want to start acquiring it on the Long Trail. Make sure you go on a few multi-day backpacking trips and develop expertise using all of your gear, including your tent, stove, and rain gear,  in good and bad weather. It rains a lot on the Long Trail and you need to be familiar with how to stay warm when wet and how to take care of your feet when they are wet for days at a time.

Next, hiking up and down mountains all day is hard work if you are wearing a backpack and some advance training is helpful. In total, there are 53 named mountains on the Long Trail, including 27 that are 3,500 feet or higher. When you train, try to go on hikes up similarly sized mountains wearing a pack. Climbing stairs and working out in a gym are sub-optimal – you can only train to hike, by hiking.

On average, it takes hikers 19 days to complete the Long Trail if they hike it end-to-end in a single trip. If you do the math, that means they’re averaging slightly more than 14 miles a day. Do you know if you can hike 14 miles a day? You don’t have to hike at this pace of course, but you will want to be able to hike 10 miles a day. That can be a shock if you don’t prepare for it.

Profanity Trail on Mount Mansfield, Vermont
Profanity Trail on Mount Mansfield, Vermont


There’s little public transportation along the Long Trail and shuttles drivers come and go every year. Your best bet is to call the Green Mountain Club which maintains the trail and ask them if they can recommend a driver for you. Alternatively, you can rely on friends or hike with someone else so you have at least two cars, so you can drop a car along your route.


The Long Trail is white-blazed like The Appalachian Trail and is easy to follow except when it crosses the tops of peaks that have been turned into ski areas. Be patient. You’ll eventually find the continuation of the trail on the other side of a ski slope, but you might have to look for a while to find it.

Guidebooks and Maps

You should bring a map when you hike The Long Trail, so you can see where the shelters are, or roads so you can hitch to town to resupply. The best map of the Long Trail is published by the Green Mountain Club. It has elevation profiles, segment distances, and detailed notes about the route, plus it’s waterproof. I wouldn’t bother buying any of the Green Mountain Club Long Trail Guidebooks and I certainly would not bother carrying them. The map has all of the information you need.


There are two types of Shelters on the Long Trail – Appalachian Trail style lean-tos that have one open side and fairly luxurious cabins with four walls and a door. There are lean-tos on the southern 100 miles of the Long Trail that overlap with the Appalachian Trail, but that changes after the Appalachian Trail forks off and heads east to New Hampshire. As you head north on the Long Trail, the shelters get much nicer and more comfortable. They also become far less crowded and depending on when you hike, you might have one all to yourself.

If you’re planning on using a tent instead of sleeping in the shelters, you’ll probably reconsider this decision after you wake up in a puddle or end up getting your inner tent soaked by trying to pitch it in pouring rain. You have never seen so much rain in your life. The shelters are dry, you can hang your wet clothes up at night, and it can be nice to talk to someone over dinner if you’ve been hiking in the rain all day.

After hiking the Long Trail, rain won’t bother you anymore.

Water Availability

It’s really easy to find water on the Long Trail. Just look down. Bring a filter or Aquamira water purification drops. Vermont has a huge beaver population and you need to treat water from natural water sources.

Food Resupply

I think planning your resupply points is the hardest part of hiking the Long Trail because you need to get rides to town and back. If you try to hitchhike, do it on a “big” road with lots of traffic. You can also send food to inns near the trail and have them hold it for you. Some areas have public transportation which stops at trailheads so that is an option, and begging rides from other hikers from trailheads to town is also a viable strategy. Remember, you don’t need to plan that many resupply points if you can hike 15 miles a day and are willing to carry 5-7 days of food at a time.

Canada from the Northernmost Point of the Long Trail
Canada from the Northernmost Point of the Long Trail


No cotton. Bring rain gear, rain pants, and a billed cap. Don’t bring a lot of extra clothing because it’s just going to get wet and heavy.

Don’t wear leather boots because they will never dry. It’s not a question of waterproofing. You will have water coming into your boots over the ankles almost every day of your hike. I recommend you consider a soft shoe like a trail runner that won’t cause blisters when it gets wet.

Wear long pants and a long shirt so you don’t have to cover yourself in DEET or worry as much about Lyme disease.


Bring the minimum necessary.

Keep it light, so you can carry more food and move fast.

Bring bug netting, even if you sleep in closed shelters.

Bring earplugs.

I wouldn’t recommend a wood stove. Too wet.

Bring the lightest shelter possible, in case you don’t make it to a trail shelter for the night or you decide to stop and camp in the middle of nowhere. You will kick yourself if you insist on carrying a 4-5 pound tent and only use it a half-dozen times your entire trip.


Updated 2024

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  1. Thank you for the LT post. I brought my daughter along for an end-to-end hike last year, which we both enjoyed. I was the one with backpacking experience, and so I whittled down what she brought and made myself responsible for decisions on resupply, etc.I’d add two things to consider to what you’ve written. One, travel south to north or north to south? I decided that it would be easier to get back to the Boston area from Williamstown, MA, than attempt getting a ride from near the Canadian border. Psychologically, too, I thought it would be easier to think as we hiked that we were getting ever nearer to “home.” Of course, the downside is that the northern half of the LT is much more rugged than the south and that makes starting out challenging. The legs are fresher but not quite as attuned to hiking as they would be if starting out in the somewhat less challenging south. Two, backpacking stove fuel canisters were difficult to find and I think a denatured alcohol stove is a much better bet. We hiked with a canister stove and had some resupply dictated by the need to locate an outfitter. Anyone who hasn’t taken the opportunity to hike at least sections of the LT should do so. They’re in for a treat.


    • Really good points Matt – not very many outfitters on the LT, so unless you leave packages at the inns with gas canisters in them, denatured alcohol is the way to go for stove fuel.

      Northbound or southbound? If you’re newish to Backpacking, I recommend going south to north so you can physically acclimate to the effort level and you are around other people at the beginning. You can also flip flop but doing the southern section up to Killington and then getting someone to drive you to the northern terminus so you can hike back to where you left off. I’ve gotten shuttles from the Long Trail Inn and reckon they’d do it.

  2. Great post. I thru-hiked the trail last Sept – Oct. I was interested in your comment about using a soft trail runner — I started with Salomon Synapse Mid as a lightweight soft boot and ended up switching to a sturdier, heavier Mammut boot in Killington, mid-hike. For me, that ended up being the better choice.

    Hiking north to south worked well for me in the fall — I hiked with the leaf change.

    • Beautiful video Scott – I have many of those same pictures and memories but without the benefit of hiking in Autumn. Looks like you got some frost, but I bet it was drier than in July!

    • Thanks for this! Is it possible to do the first 100 miles (AT section) in mid-May? Or does “staying off the trail until Memorial Day” include this section?

      • Nope. The first 100 miles of the Long Trial are included in the do not hike until Memorial day ban.

        • it has been dry this May (2022) so is starting to hike the LT mid May in the middle section of Vt still not recommended? How about the AT trail to from route 4 to Hanover, is that good to hike starting mid-May?

        • Please stay off the Long Trail until after memorial day. Lots of snowmelt/mud out there still. That rule hasn’t changed in decades.
          I would start in Hanover and work your way east. You may need microspikes on Smarts mountain but it the trail should largely be ice free and snow free by now.

  3. While a thru hike would be awesome, my life does not allow me to hope for more than section hiking any trail longer than 50 – 80 miles, i.e a long weekend. Can you suggest any portions of the long Trail that lend themselves to a two to four day section hike, especially portions that capture the beauty of some of Scott Barker’s video? Also, is it ALWAYS raining? Is it reasonable to assume less rain in August / early September, which would likely be the time of year I would plan to hike?

    • Me too – my norm is a few days too and I can only rarely take an entire week or 2 off to go hiking.

      It’s not always raining, but it does rain a lot because it’s a north/south mountain range. The rain eases off in September.

      For good sections – I’ll direct you to my Long Trail page which lists the 8 sections I hiked the trail in in 2008 along with detailed trip reports.

    • If you look at the map or better yet download Far Out App it will show you all the water, peaks, shelters and parking areas and exact miles and the terrain . Without knowing your hiking experience it’s hard to guess how many miles you average in day. I am 62 in reasonable condition and hiked between 15 and 20 miles per day. I also had a dog in tow so I was carrying her food too. My gear is all very light and I have packed for decades. The first 100 miles are much easier than the northern part of the trail. If you look at the map you can definitely put a three day trip together. Bigger miles down south and less more challenging miles up north. I loved the trail and did not run into any of the epic mud and rain everyone talks about. The huts are spaces very nicely and if you did not want to bring a tent I can see it working out fine. I prefer my own tent and so does my dog.

  4. Thank you for posting this. I am moving to North Carolina later this year, and the Long Trail is something that my hiking partner and I are looking at doing in 2014.

    Your site is my favorite website, and I thank you for all the brilliant articles you post on here.


  5. I’m in the early stages of my planning my south to north hike on the Long Trail this summer. The one thing that is pressing on me the most is how to get transportation out of Canda. I’ve done a search, but I haven’t found anything yet. Can you shed some light on this?

  6. I am also considering this hike this summer, and like Michelle, I am curious about transportation options at both ends.

  7. I am also planning and end to end hike this summer. I would like to hike south to north but am also wondering how to deal with the transportation issues. It would be great if we could hike in the same time frame so we could plant a car at Journey’s end and then carpool back to Williamstown. Any other comments would be helpful though on how other people have done this in the past.

    • Call the gmc. I am sure they have the latest shuttle services.

    • I hiked the south to north route for 140 or so miles a couple years ago. Retiring in May so I plan on starting over this year and thru-hiking the entire trail now that I have the time. Being from Vermont I simply have someone drop me off in MA and will have someone pick me up at the other end. I notice that Vt trans lines services Williamstown MA, not sure about the Northern end though. I do know they run out of Burlington area where I live, but that’s 100 + miles from trails end. If they happen to run out of Newport, VT that would be pretty close. You could call them for more info. (802-223-7870)

      • I am leaving this coming Monday, as soon after Memorial Day as I can. I am having someone drop me off and I will have someone pick me up. I plan to have a cell phone and a solar panel to charge my cell phone. I have people who want me to keep in contact with them so they know I am ok.

        • Good luck with the solar panel. The entire trail is in a dense forest and you won’t be able to recharge unless you sit still in direct sun for 30 hours.

        • Thanks. Somehow these folks who are using video cameras are charging their batteries. I was told to get a solar panel. I know from going cross country on my bike, my camera batteries died quickly. I needed to get a charger for my batteries.

        • It is not essential to be in direct sunlight for the solar panels to collect power. It works MUCH better in direct sunlight, but it is not essential.

    • Just noticed these posts are over a year old…. oh well.

  8. Will be end2end in Aug 2013, exact dates are tbd. Expect to hike sobo, due to ride considerations (wife). Just ordered the map (I have the 2 books) and hope the map is as good as you claim. Would like to leave the books home. Left maps home when I did the AT.

  9. I left the thick Long Trail Guide at home, although I copied sections and had those sent to mail drops along with my resupply to coincide with where I was hiking next. I ended up not using them. I did read it thoroughly in planning my trip and route, noting water sources carefully (which ended up being more caution than necessary, there was water everywhere).

    I did take a paired down “End to Enders Guide,” trimming off the background pages and just taking the section that described shelters and trail towns along the way. This DID help me as I altered my schedule along the way.

    I can’t imagine hiking without a trail map, even though the LT, as is the AT, well marked.

    Happy Hiking!

  10. In final stages of training for my NOBO End to End hike starting August 31st. Anyone else starting the trail this timeframe?….I have transportation lined up from Journey’s End back to MA.

    • Greetings
      Plan on leaving from Detroit on August 31 Have hike he trail before Southbound, much wiser to start in mass & head north. I do have a question about how you are getting out at the end, in 2002 I took a bus but i is no longer an option.

      Any Info about an exit would be helpful, Hope to see you on the trial

  11. Ray "Walking Home" Peck Jr

    Not sure the exact dates yet but I am hoping to get out there sometime in August.

  12. Comment as it gets closer…could benefit from a fellow nobo

  13. There’s actually quite a few outfitters along the trail; don’t go by what the End to Ender’s guide says alone. Johnson Hardware Lawn and Garden is an example of a gem that’s right off of the trail and isn’t mentioned anywhere. It’s a real department store with real outdoor gear. That said, it is possible to get stuck out there without something essential many miles from the nearest gear shop.It is Vermont after all and the trail doesn’t just waltz through booming trail towns like the AT does in places. For this reason I’d recommend carrying food that can be eaten cold/dry in a pinch and carrying backup water purification tablets. I had my filter break on the morning of the third day of my thru-hike. At that point i still had 60ish miles before reaching a guaranteed source of water purification supplies. I sure was glad that I’d slipped that half empty bottle of iodine in my bag at the last minute before leaving the house.

  14. I don’t mean to be argumentative but I disagree that the rain eases off in September. I’m a GMC caretaker which requires that I spend 5 days a week on a very specific little piece of the LT from early July to mid-October. I would say that, if anything, the rain begins to amp up in September.

  15. So now that we know Johnson Hardware Lawn and Garden is a great place, exactly where is it?

  16. It’s on the road (Rt. 15) East from the trail heading into Johnson. You can walk there from where the trail crosses the road, or catch a ride. Either Roundtop Shelter or Bear Hollow shelter are great shelters to stop at either before or after going into town. Roundtop has great views of the Lamoille River Valley and is a beautiful shelter in its own right. Nearby Jeffersonville has a restaurant (158 Main) with wonderful deserts like Maple Creme Brule. I found it easy to hitch a ride on 15. Johnson also has a good post office for mail drops.

  17. I really want to do a long day hike and stay at an inn and hike back the next day. Is there any place along the trail in Vermont where it’s possible to hike 12-14 miles and find an inn rather than a lean to?

  18. I’m headed up to do a SB LT hike in a few weeks. Last year I did the VA seciton of the AT NB. It rained quite a bit during that trip. I used the Packa, it worked very well but thought I could improve my rain gear by using an ultralight umbrella in conjuction. Are the trails too tight to use an umbrella? Also it is feasible to leave the tent home and rely on shelter space?

  19. Hi ya! On a spur of the moment jaunt to Vermont. staying on killington road, and really want to take a day hike on the long trail with my husband. What suggestions can you offer? We have appropriate shoes but not much else, just looking to enjoy the woods in this beautiful weekend!????

  20. “You will have water coming into your boots over the ankles almost every day of your hike” Does this mean it’s a ‘wading’ trail? I’ve worn leather/gortex boots through lots of rain. So long as they don’t get scuppered I don’t see a problem. Just how wet is it under foot?

  21. I section hiked the LT with a group from the Boston chapter of the AMC about the same time Philip was doing it. We called the LT the longest continuous waterway in VT. We honestly saw a 4″ trout in the trail once. Some mud puddles can be 16″ deep. Philip is not kidding when he says rain will never bother you again.

  22. Call the Green Mountain Club. There are volunteers who will do pickups from trailheads and bring you to town or somewhere! not all the way home but I bet you can get to or near a bus or train station

  23. If you can really find water that easily, that makes hiking so much more easier. The pictures look amazing!

  24. It has been years since I have been on the long trail. My father and I together have sectioned hiked about 80% of the LT. Just getting out of the Navy i would like to get out there for a 4-7 day solo hike. Any recommendations on sections that work well in that time frame.
    I was doing a little hiking out west where i was stationed. Although I am definitely soft when it comes to my hiking muscles.

    Thank you
    – ET2(SS)

  25. What is the best way to store food overnight on the LT? (Bear Bag, Canister, etc..)

    • I think an Ursack is the best way because it combines the best properties of a bear bag (lightweight) with the bearproofnes of a canister. It also fits up to 9 days of food.

  26. hiking the long trail this season. northbound. where is the best place to leave my car? and is getting back to my car going to be an issue?

  27. Sébastien Chagnon

    Thank you for publishing this! Very helpful indeed!

    My gf and I did this small overnighter on Mt Mansfield this last weekend and totally fell in love with it. We promised ourselves a 4 days/3 nights hike on the LT. Most likely south to north, ending somewhere past Mt Mansfield.

    So anyway, as a (approximate) rule of thumb, for that kind of hike including the 3500+ footers of the region, how much backpacking weight should we limit ourselves to? How long can I stretch a mid-sized propane/butane stove canister? Will it last me the 4 days? Is alcohol a better and/or safer option?

    On Mansfield I was wearing average Nike running shoes. On our way back down the mountain, the northbound portion of LT on Mt Mansfield that takes us down to route 108 was very sketchy especially since the pouring rain was making those huge steep flat rocks slippery as hell. One way or another, I need to purchase hiking footwear. Will a good Vibram sole give me some traction on those wet rocks? Any suggestions?

    More questions may come later but for now, that’s pretty much it.

    Thanks again! :)

    • A small canister jetboil (isobutane) should give you 15 2-cup boils, so no problem for 4 days for 2 people.
      On wet rock, I personally prefer train runners over vibram boots. If I were to hike the LT again, I’d do it in La Sportiva Ultra Raptors.

  28. Sébastien Chagnon

    Thank you Philip, your answer is much appreciated. :)

  29. Hi, thanks for the great site! I’m thinking of hiking northbound from Dalton, MA to Jonesville (or further) in September, solo and straight through. Is there any source of info as to where the potential resupply points are, either by grocery store or post office? I see the Food Resupply section above, but am hoping for more specifics. Does the map have this info? Thanks!

  30. Not really. Your best bet is to google and get a road atlas.

  31. Hey there,
    Im planning a thru hike next sept to oct, and would love to bring my dog along. Is this possible? is it allowed? Is there spots that no dog could make it through? Any help appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi there Justin…. I made an attempt at doing the entire trail in one fell swoop but failed miserable… I was totally not in shape. However, with that said, I met a lot of folks who brought their buddies, friends, family members with them. One gentleman had a backpack on his buddy… he was helping him carry the load. So, yes, lots and lots of people bring their pets with them and they make it just fine…. a lot easier than us in fact!

      • Hi Muriel. How far did you get in your attempt? From one totally out of shape person to another, I’m curious.

      • Hi Philip and Muriel –
        I am looking to do the LT this coming Aug (2015). Been having a very hard time finding any pals to join me so thinking of doing it solo. Am a little concerned about safety/security of going solo as a female (although the thought of some real peace & quiet is appealing)…. thoughts or advice re: safety on the trail?

  32. I am hiking in late May and also wondering if anyone is thinking they would start early to?

  33. We are looking for a scenic challenging 4 – 5 day hike in the 1st half of May. Sounds like this trail may still be a mud bath. Any recommendations

    • The trail is closed until Memorial Day to prevent trail erosion.

      • Is it closed on May 23rd? I want to spend the long weekend hiking between Route 17 and Middlebury Gap, and would hate to show up only to find the trails and shelters closed.

        With the deep snows this winter, I wonder if the mud is unsually bad this May.

        Thanks for any input you may have.

  34. This may seem like a strange question to ask, however…

    My husband and I are looking for a trail that will provide a challenge but that also allows for small pack animals. We have hiked several areas in the west with goats. They are environmentally very friendly for hiking. We generally have three goats for the two of us. (One is a dwarf – only about the size of a medium dog – primarily brought for fresh milk and company.) I have longed to complete a trail east of the Mississippi with our little group. However, I am having trouble finding trails that will allow pack animals of any kind. Does the Long Trial allow pack animals? If not, are there any suggestions for hiking areas in the east that do?

    Everyone here seems to have great hiking experience and wonderful trail advice. I look forward to any suggestions that might be helpful.

    Thank you.

  35. Brian D Kosloski

    Could you recommend a few day hikes to get me started …saw long trail hike on tv…looked very cool.

  36. Wow, not originally a New Englander, I’d never heard of this trail to just now. Looks interesting, but grueling. 272 miles is quite the haul. Thanks for the tips on this beast of a trail.

  37. My wife and I are planning to hike the entire LT starting mid-August. We have limited hiking experience but are “long” on determination and bike tour camping experience. I am 58 and my wife 53. We are both retired. A couple of general questions come to mind after reading several articles and blogs etc.:
    -do you think we should bring a handheld garmin? Or is it easy enough to keep on the trail with a map only?
    -would you consider the trail “dangerous”? Or just very physically challenging?
    -starting mid-August from the South- do you think we need head nets for flys and mosquitoes? Or just repellent?
    -can you elaborate some on caring for you feet when they get drenched or submerged?

    Thanks so much!!
    Mitch and Charlotte from Texas

    • No GPS is needed, buy the maps and guide for the LT and you will have more information than you’ll know what to do with. Most of the people we saw were just winging it. Trails are not dangerous as long as you stay within your capability and don’t hike more miles than trained for. Physically challenging, sure, but there are more than enough huts along the way to make it a very pleasing experience. I don’t know about the insects during that time as I hiked in October. I used Defeet Woolie Boolie socks and a mesh trail runner. Drains and dries quick. I would advise against any goretex.

    • I would bring a GPS for one reason and one reason only – to determine your elevation on many of the seemingly endless climbs out of road crossings. At least for me, knowing I’m at 2500 feet and only have 500 feet to go gives me a great mental boost. That said, it works both ways, of course.

  38. I’ve been hiking the Long Trail for more than 50 years and definitely need to correct the exaggerations and misimpressions contained in this email thread about incessant rain and wet trail conditions. Yes, compared to a western trail, the Long Trail is wet and muddy. Under the driest conditions there will be mud in places. And because there is so much vertical terrain (and because the Green Mountain Club generally sneers at the concept of switchbacks), sections of the trail can resemble a small brook after a few days of rain.

    HAVING SAID THAT, its a matter of public record that the average number of days of recordable precipitation in Vermont in June, July, August and September is 13, 12, 12 and 11 respectively. That means that it rains less than 40% of the time, including many days when rainfall is negligible. In other words, on average it will NOT rain on more than 60% of the days during a typical Vermont summer.

    If you thru-hiked the Long Trail 10 times I believe you would have no significant problems with rain or mud on at least five of those trips. On 2-3 trips you might experience an extended stretch (or two) of 3-4 days of rain. On 1-2 of those 10 trips you might experience the type of constant rain in which you’d be walking that river of mud described so eloquently but not-quite-truthfully in this email thread. Extended monsoons are definitely not unknown. But even then, in a 20 day hike you would expect to have at least a week or so of decent weather.

    Bottom line is that if you plan to hike the Long Trail end-to-end you should be prepared for wet weather, but statistically you have a better chance of great weather. So don’t go hiking elsewhere just because you think the Long Trail will be three weeks of constant rain. On average, anyway, it’s just not true.

    One thing that is definitely true: wet or dry, the northern half of the Long Trail is a tough, gnarly, demanding, profanity-inducing trail. Every day there are an abundance of “you’ve got to be kidding me” moments. But the payoff is huge. It’s a beautiful, often spectacular, wonder of a trail.

    P.S. Bugs are generally gone by July 1.

    John Page

  39. I have’t heard anyone talk about what food they carried with them. What do you recommend that’s light to carry and keeps you well fueled?

  40. Can you recommend a section for a 3-4 trip with Boy Scouts?


    What are the recommended or most common resupply locations for the person planning to hike in 20 days and 2 or 3 resupplies? Any must-see places right along the trail that are hiker favorites? Thinking burger joints, ice cream, swimming holes, etc.

  42. How do you minimise bad bear encounters and what happens at the border to Canada. Also for Australians. Should you bring your passport on yourself?

    • You hang your food at night. These are small bears. No danger to you.

      At for the border, you walk up to a concrete pylon. There’s nothing there. No border crossing, guards, or gasp wall. It’s very anti climatic. You can bring a passport, but the only people who might care are in the US. Then again, this is Vermont. Just start talking (hint: accent) and they’ll offer to buy you a beer or ice cream.

  43. Thanks for the write-up. Do you recommend hiking North to South, or South to North? Ever run into a shelter that was too full?

  44. Philip: I was considering using a brand-new 50* Enigma APEX (synthetic) quilt for my sleep system. I will also sleep using a X-Therm (extra R-value, extra comfort, minimal ounces added from the X-Lite), Patagonia Capilene (thermal weight) leggings and top, an ultralight fleece, and a Nano Air Jacket if necessary. Would you think I’d be able to get away with using the 50* quilt in this scenario? I’d be hiking the Long Trail from the end of June and finishing up by the middle of July.

    For context, I successfully was able to push a 30* APEX quilt from Enlightenment Equipment to keep me warm at 28* at 2800′ elevation (Mark Noepel shelter on the MA AT). I used the same sleep system mentioned above.

    Thanks! :)

  45. My husband and I are hiking the LT this summer (south to north) and are flexible on our start date. I hear it’s been a wet/snowy winter and wanted your opinion on when the black flies and other bugs would be minimal. Is a July start okay or better to wait until August?

  46. I will be starting a southbound end to end hike on September 16. I hope to see some of you on the trail!

  47. Back in late august 1974 i hiked the trail for peace of mind having just ets from two combat tours iin vietnam and recovering from a wound the experence at the time was life changeing. i have senced hiked it in sections. to me theres nothing like early late fall. the peace and serrenity are like no other.i should have left a comment years ago. But my life went on to be very sucessful. and as i look back on it i owe some of it to the long trail.there is never a bad day when your hiking rain or shine. one step at a time.

    • Well said John.
      Thank you for your service! I hiked the At in 15 and actually thought of turning left at Killington. It had rained for 5 days straight at that point and I have to agree, rain is no longer a challenge after that. The trail has taught me more than any course I have ever paid for. I am planning a LT this year. Time to go back to the source…

    • John, thank you for sharing your story.

  48. If I want to hike without a tent or tarp, what are the risks? How likely is a full shelter? I’ve done sections of the AT relying on just the shelters. It’s nice to ditch the extra weight of the tent.

  49. Just a quick question –

    Do you think that a 15 degree down bag would be overkill for August? My alternative is an inadequate (cold) 30 degree polyester, or buying a new lighter-weight down. Don’t want to be sweating my nights away!

    • I think a 15 degree bag would be to cold for August. That said, if it’s light weight and packs down easy, you can always open it up at night.

      I section hiked the trail and used a 35 degree down bag even late into the fall. Some nights I wore extra clothes to sleep and other nights I slept on top of it. You’ll just have to make adjustments.

  50. Hello,

    Thank you for making this thread. I’m planning to do the long trail in September. I have the month off. The goal is to finish, but if I don’t then no worries. I’ve been hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering for years. I have the right equipment and feel mentally & physically prepared. My biggest concern is doing it alone. Not from a safety prospective, but nervous I won’t see anyone. I’m planning on bringing a tent, but intend on staying in the shelters. Do you think I’ll meet up with others in the shelters at night? or do you think the majority of the time I’ll be alone? I know any answer is purely speculation.

    Any tips for meals? I have several go-to’s but always looking for light weight yummy meals.

    • I just came back from a 3 nights trip in the northern part of the trail – the first shelter had 1 person when we got there, the second shelter had 2 and the 3rd had 6 ppl (plus the 2 of us) I dont think you’ll end up alone for more than a night, and if you do you will probly enjoy some quality sleep

      Shelters can be small, bring a tent, they may be full

    • September is a great time to thru hike the LT. You should see people every day, but may have some solo nights. If you are in good shape I’d suggest going southbound, so you aren’t in the coldest part at the end of sept. But, the northern part is the most physically demanding, so it can be tough to start with. You get in better shape the longer you are on the trail. Bring calories! Peanut butter, jerky, dried fruit, salmon lunch pouches, gorp, a tube of pesto makes pasta better. Good luck.

  51. I am trying to plan a trip from start to finish on the LT but this is my first time planning a long backpacking trip on my own. There will be 4-5 people total and I was wondering what shelter you would recommend, and if just a hammock would be okay? I am also a little confused about getting permits, and was wondering which ones I needed to get if any. Also I was planning on shipping all my food out to post offices in towns for re-supplies but I wasn’t really sure where to start researching that and if there are any better options. Sorry for all the questions and I would be really grateful to any answers!

    • You don’t need permits and there aren’t many post offices near the trail. I think you’d benefit from calling the Green Mountain Club and asking for some advice.

    • Stay in the shelters. A hammock and good tarp are a good back up. I sometimes set my hammock up in a shelter, or nearby. 5 is a pretty big group though for a thru hike. Two tents? The guidebook has good info on post offices and drops. Thru hikers guide to LT is also helpful. Get them at the green mountain club site

  52. I was considering a short day hike with my family from the northern terminus in mid November. My parents live close to that area and are concerned about our safety with hunters. I thought wearing blaze orange might be sufficient if we are staying on the trail. Is this an area where hunting is allowed?

  53. I’ve gotta ask – why ear plugs?

  54. Shari Vaccarella

    Do we need to bring our passports for the Canadian boarder?

  55. Hello: After looking after everyone else for a couple decades, I have decided to start also doing what I like to do most – hike. So I decided to section hike the Long Trail. Ha! Then I saw how long the sections are…..I am in moderate shape despite a sedentary job and have started this summer with 12-15 miles of walking each week plus weekend hikes. I have hiked in NH previously but know that I am not ready to do an entire LT section in 2018 but would like to get out on the LT this summer and fall just to start seeing my dream turn to reality.

    Is there a trail or two near the middle bit (our second home is an old farmhouse in Bethel VT) which would be a good introduction to the LT as a whole? We would be able to use two cars to avoid the transportation challenges. I am thinking 5-10 miles in a day rather than 10-40+…

    Thanks in advance for your advice!

    • I would just start in North Adams on the LT and start doing short sections. The hiking is actually mellower than in New Hampshire and it will give you a head start on the LT.

  56. Finished a NOBO thru on the LT about 2 weeks ago. An AT thruhiker I met in the southern portion warned me that he’d heard the LT is more difficult than anything on the Appalachian Trail. I scoffed, and now I stand corrected. This hike was amazing but it kicked my a**. The northern portion is pretty technical and wet conditions make it even more tedious and difficult. Still, my dog and I had a great time and we finished successfully! He’s a trooper and I’m really proud of him. Oh, it was VERY rainy and muddy. At this point I’m entirely desensitized to backpacking in the rain. Ironically, there’s issues finding water in the northernmost section this year. A quirky, challenging, beautiful trail.

  57. Are the shelters along the trail dog friendly? I really would like to bring both or at least one of my dogs along with me.

  58. Hi, i am considering hiking a section in December (probably from Stowe southbound). Any recommendations, tips, things to look out for? I have goid gear – Waterproofs, diwn parkas, snow shovels etc – but i have never been in the area before. Thanks

    • Deep snow. Probably a bad idea doing that alone.

      • Hi! Thanks. How bad an idea? Bad if one’s not a seasoned/fit hiker; or bad as in prople shouldn’t do that in December.
        I’ve read a couple articles and blogs about hiking in December, and they recommend taking extra care and appreciating the lack of too many people around. Thanks again.

        • Depends when in December. If you’re thinking about doing a section of the Long Trail in December, I’d be on top of your game and not go alone, even if you think you’re quite experienced.

    • Consider the Catamount Trail. It parallels the Long Trail and it’s made for winter.

  59. Aloha, is there a section of the trail that my friends and I could hike and stay each evening in a bed a breakfast for about a week? 10-12 miles per day is good. We are happy to bring two cars so we can shuttle ourselves between trailheads and accommodation each day. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. We will all be coming from very far away and different parts of the country to make this hike. Mahalo nui in advance, karen

  60. Yes. You can find them on a map.

  61. I’m planning a solo SOBO thru hike of the LT this coming September.
    How does the northern half of the LT compare to the 100 Mile Wilderness in terms of the ruggedness of the trail, elevation gain etc? I completed a solo SOBO hike of the 100 MW last summer in 6.5 days and am wondering how that pace might translate to the time frame I can expect in hiking the LT.

    • The northern 100 of the LT is equivalent to the first 2-3 days out of Monson heading north. Give some thought as to whether this is the year to hike the LT. Vermont is pretty strict about the 14 day quarantine for out of staters and it will be impossible to hitch to resupply, although you’ll probably still be able to find someone desperate enough to shuttle you for a wad of cash. I’d wait until after the vaccine. That’s just me.

  62. We are planning to do a section over the course of 3 days and 2 nights in August from the Cooley Glen Trail to Dean Trail just shy of Camel’s Hump. Is that a reasonable distance given the LT terrain in that area? Do I need to shorten it up? PS. We did 80 miles on the JMT last summer in 6 days. I’m certain the weather will not be as nice but we also won’t be at 9,000 feet most of the time either. Thanks so much for your advice.

  63. Should I anticipate difficulty hiking with a healthy dog, a 50 lb retriever who is quite comfortable and well-behaved on hiking trails, but would be a challenge to carry up ladders or tight, steep rock scrambles. I am sensing that Wiiliamstown to Killington Gap should be OK. True?
    Will be section-hiking this northbound in mid-August and see how she does. Returning to NoBo from Rte 4, where is first challenges (ladders/tight/steep rocks)?

  64. Thanks for this great article. I am hoping to thru hike the LT at some point soon before my life gets enveloped with college and work. I would like to begin south and work my way north. Looking at maps, however, the long trail begins just as the AT crosses the Vermont line. Where is the best trail head to begin the hike?
    I live 21 miles from the LT as the crow flies so resupply shouldn’t be an issue, I’ll just get people to meet me at road crossings with food. Also- is it wrong to partake of trail magic if I am not thru hiking the AT?
    Finally- just in general, do I pick my own trail name, or do I earn it?


    • Either Pine Cobble or the AT At the Mass Ave road crossing in North Adams. You have to walk to the border. Get the Guthook Guide’s App for the Long Trail or buy a map. I think I started at Greylock which is a ways further south.

      Nope. you can indulge in trail magic. Anyone can. You can pick your name (many people do) or be given it.

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