View Full Version : VT Long Trail

02-21-2003, 18:03
I am considering hiking the Long Trail this year and am wondering which month would be the most pleasant time to hike in VT. I would like to avoid black flies, mosquitos, muddy trails and below freezing temps. Have I ruled out all 12 months???!!!!

Lone Wolf
02-21-2003, 18:28
Mid August - mid September and personally I would hike north to south.

02-21-2003, 18:41
Fussy bugger aren't ya? Well, if it freezes you wont see any black flies, however, they're at their worst from mid May to mid June, or when the hobble bush is in bloom. Mud season may be longer than usual this year. We've had tons of snow. Infact, some peaks are closed until after mud season to prevent further trail erosion. Check the GMC site for closed sections of trail due to mud season for specific dates. I agree going SB is sweeter. Get the hard stuff over with and a nice treat awaits you at the Inn at the Long Trail, then you'll hit the combined AT/LT hordes. I think end of July first of August is a perfect time to do a SB on the LT.

02-21-2003, 19:13
I agree on the SOBO direction. While that first week is going wreak havoc on your unconditioned body, you'll be in full swing by the time you reach the easier southern stretch.

I hiked Canada to Massachusetts (forcing myself to spell out the full name Massachusetts in each and every register) way back in August of 1979. You can read my trail log at Hike Vermont (http://www.hikevermont.com/enders/karaman/) if you're interested. You'll find that I encountered exceptionally wet conditions (precipitation on 20 of the 27 days) and a cold snap that brought on Fall and some snow in early August that we weren't entirely prepared for.

I suggest starting in the latter half of July, hiking southbound.

02-21-2003, 23:23
I will be thru-hiking the Long-Trail this summer/fall as well. I will be starting in Blackington, MA and heading northbound on September 1st. I'll be done by the 21st or so heading into Troy, VT for my ride home to Greenfield, MA.

I've almost hiked the whole-thing in sections, and I can tell you that even in september there are still black flies and mud, albeit much less than there would be in June/July. Bring something warm like a down jacket if you plan to thru-it in september like me. It starts getting cool up around the Mt. Abraham area.

Good Luck, and maybe I'll see you!

02-22-2003, 05:20
I have thru-hiked the LT twice, and I can promise you that bugs will be an issue as late as mid July. I think the best time to thru-hike the LT would be in September, but realize that you might get some cold spells at night. If you hike southbound the trail will get very easy after Killington, something to think about. Good luck and have a blast. Cheers!

Rhody Bill
02-23-2003, 19:25
I've hiked mid September the last last couple of years, not too hot or cold - for very long... but you'd better expect anything, it was extremely dry most of last fall - water was not abundant.

02-23-2003, 23:21
If you want to avoid mud...don't hike the Long Trail. There will plenty of beautiful days, without rain and such and then you will turn the corner and the trail will be underwater for 100 feet. Something about New England I guess but the trail is truly amazing. It sucks that the LT no longer passes the Inn At Long Trail...another great place (take the blue blaze)

02-25-2003, 16:01
I'm considering hiking southbound now, but I'm being dragged to tradition. I also feel that even though I will have conditioned myself by then for weeklong treks, starting off on the easier southern section would also allow me to work up my long-day, week-long endurance.

On the southbound plusses, I would be hiking towards home (about 20mi away once I reach the southern terminus rather than ~300), and I would be hiking south as the temperatures slowly start shifting downwards (as I'm starting on Sep 1st). But there seems to be something that tells me that finishing at Journey's End Camp would be much more pleasing than starting there. Or maybe I'm just being sucked into tradition for no benefits except for tradition itself.

02-25-2003, 16:55
While the kiosk at the Canadian border and Journey's End Camp a mile later are probably a little more memorable than crossing an invisible border into Massachusetts, they certainly don't stack up to something like Katahdin. Frankly, they serve as a pretty good starting point also, since I still remember the Camp 23 years later (the marble kiosk wasn't there back then).

Lone Wolf
02-25-2003, 17:02
I used to live about 3 miles from Journey's End camp. I would hike up there quite often to offer rides to finishing hikers. It can be a bitch to get to a bus station from there if you don't have prior arrangements.

02-25-2003, 19:47
The problem with going northbound on a thru of the LT is that the trail gets much harder north of Killington, so the 100 miles of relatively easy terrain prior to that doesn't really help you much when you hit the northern Greens. I hiked northbound twice and never felt real strong on the hikes, where as hiking south it would be considerably easy. And like Lone Wolf stated, you are in the middle of nowhere at the northern terminus...North Troy has like 4 businesses, best thing to do is to arrange a ride with one of the B&B's in North Troy.

02-26-2003, 00:17
Yeah, but don't tell me that those first southbound ascents of the Jay Peaks weren't killers (I had the pleasure of a 90+ degree day to do Little Jay, and then pouring rain the next morning up Jay Peak; definitely made me question why I was doing this!).

02-26-2003, 02:56
I should have stated that hiking southbound would be considerably easier "South of Killington"...cause like I stated the northern Greens will kick your ass. In my opinion the LT north of Killington is rougher than anything on the AT besides NH and ME. But one hell of a hike!!!! Cheers!

02-26-2003, 09:27
I've hiked almost all of it in sections, and enjoy it very much. The hardest miles I've hiked in the green mountains were on a blue-blazed trail called the "Burrows Trail" up to the summit of Camel's Hump. 1800' to 4083' in 2mi. All roots and rocks. But the view was worth it (it was the first time I hiked up camels hump). I've heard some of the side trails on Mansfield can be quite crushing like the profanity trail & hellbrook.

I've been through North Troy a few times. I think it has a gas station from what I remember (Haven't been up there in a year or so). I'm hoping to hitch into one of the bigger towns to get a motel room for the night, and await my ride the following afternoon. If not it will be a fast paced road-walk laden with a packful of cold sodas. I imagine after 270+mi in the woods 10 or 15 along a road won't bother me too much :)

I do have one question about a town though. How is Jonesville? Does it have motels and a market? I plan to make Rutland (a bit out of the way and fairly busy, but has everything I need) to be my first stop, and Jonesville my second, while finishing up in Troy or Newport.

02-26-2003, 12:04
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Kerosene
[B]While the kiosk at the Canadian border and Journey's End Camp a mile later are probably a little more memorable than crossing an invisible border into Massachusetts,

The only part of the Long trail I've done is the part is shares with the AT, but if you go southbound, it's not an "invisible" border. There is a sign marking the beginning/end of the LT, and also a little sign on a tree that says "Welcome to Massachusettes". At least, there was one in 2002. So it's not completely devoid of fanfare :)

02-26-2003, 19:42
A good resupply in an otherwise 80 or so miles of diffucult terrain would be in Bristol, I forget which gap you need to hitch from but it's about halfway between Killington and Johnsonville. There are usually cars parked at the trailhead and if you're patient you should be able to get a ride. I believe this road crossing is about 2 miles south of Battell Shelter.

There is a large grocery store in Bristol, but you might have a tough time getting back to the trail.

If I remember correctly North Troy has 2 B&B's, a pizza joint, a small general store etc...the pizza was great many years ago.

I particularly found the norther terminus about as bland as the southern...but hiking south would put you only a stone's throw from North Adams and plenty of places to celebrate the completion of your hike. And bus service I think.

02-26-2003, 20:35
One would reach Bristol, VT from Appalachian Gap, Route 17(west). To the east is the town of Waitsfield, good resupply.

The gap 2 miles south of Battell is Lincoln Gap which doesn't go to Bristol, but instead to the towns of Lincoln or Warren, and lots of day hikers so you'd might be able to find a ride.

I'd prefer a SB hike and after resupplying in Jonesville/Richmond, if you needed supplies, hitch from Middlebury Gap to Hancock. Good little restaurant and general store.

A SB allows you plenty of solitude, except for most peaks, and by the time you're craving for hiker talk, you'll hit the combined AT/LT south of Rte 4.
LT 97 and 01

TJ aka Teej
02-26-2003, 21:28
Originally posted by Jeff
I am considering hiking the Long Trail this year and am wondering which month would be the most pleasant time to hike in VT. I would like to avoid black flies, mosquitos, muddy trails and below freezing temps. Have I ruled out all 12 months???!!!!
I'll be finishing my section hike of the LT the first week of July.
Right at the height of black fly and skeeter season!
In June I'm going sobo through Maine's 100 mile - I'm feeding the bug crop this year!
I think September is the 'best' time for both trails.