Take a Historical Hike on the Oldest Long-Distance Trail in the USA
Considered to be one of the most gorgeous continuous hikes in the USA, Vermont’s Long Trail stretches from the state of Massachusetts to Canada.
This 438-kilometer span offers natural solitude and incredible New England vistas that hikers and adventure-seekers can find only here. Fall is an especially beautiful time to take the trek, which is just 230 kilometers from Boston, Massachusetts. While we would recommend the entire 19-day hike (it is epic!), here is your guide to making the most of your time on the Long Trail.
Getting to the Long Trail
From Boston, rent a car and drive on Interstate 90 West, then merge onto Interstate 91 North in Chicopee, Massachusetts. In Northampton, exit onto MA-9 West and follow that onto MA-116 North to Vermont. For multiday excursions, most people start at the southern terminus of the trail in Stamford, Vermont, where the hiking is more moderate. The trail is also accessible by taking charter bus companies such as Greyhound or Megabus from Boston to hubs such as Williamstown, Massachusetts, or Burlington, Vermont, and transferring to local public transit. Find daytrip outings for hikers of all levels by booking an experienced outfitter such as the Green Mountain Club, which maintains the Long Trail.
Shorter Hikes and Sidetracks
The creation of the Long Trail inspired the formation of famed Appalachian Trail, which overlaps with the Long Trail for 160 kilometers in southern Vermont. You can take a number of shorter trips, such as the 4.9-kilometer forest- and rock-lined Stowe Pinnacle Trail in Stowe for incredible views of the Green Mountain valley or the 3.5-kilometer, kid-friendly trek from Lincoln Gap Road in Warren to Sunset Ledge to see the vistas over Lake Champlain. Just follow white markers that distinguish the route of the main trail, or the blue markers that mark most side trails.
Novice hikers should look for side trails running through the southern terminus, stationing in towns such as Killington to reach the Pico Peak via the 8.5-kilometer Sherburne Pass Trail or in Stratton to visit the 12.5-kilometer looped Stratton Pond Trail.
Hiking in fall demands a visit to the top of Stratton Mountain. A fire tower at the summit is open to the public, providing a gorgeous panorama of red, yellow and orange New England foliage. Another major landmark is Camel’s Hump, the most recognizable mountain in Vermont. It’s distinguished by its hump-shaped summit, located 175 kilometers north of Stratton. Mount Mansfield is about 42 kilometers north of Camel’s Hump. As the largest mountain in Vermont (1,339 meters high), Mount Mansfield boasts peaks ideal for ardent hikers and contains a significant amount of alpine terrain from the ice age.
Where to Eat and Stay
Find rustic, cozy lodgings with sweeping views in mountain towns, such as Black Bear Lodge in Stratton Mountain, the Inn at Long Trail in Killington and Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe. These inclusive resorts offer year-round activities such as skiing, snowboarding and tubing in winter and golfing and zip-line tours in summer. Experienced rock climbers should look to Deer Leap in Killington, which has certified instructors guiding its climbing course.
After roughing it on the Long Trail, you can find comfortable lodging in Stowe, Killington and other mountain towns.