View Full Version : Long Trail SOBO?

04-25-2009, 20:38
Hi, I trying to plan a Long trail end to end maybe this year. Has anyone here started from the north and hiked south? I would be essayer for me to get home if I ended at North Adams. Thanks for any input.

04-25-2009, 21:14
Sure, people do it frequently. The trade off is that the trail is a lot rougher at the north end than the south with lots of steep ups and downs plus a rough trail bed. If you are in good shape before you hit the trail and are realistic with your daily miles, you should be okay, but its not a great place to get into shape. As you head south the trail gets easier so you will pick up daily miles as you go as long as you didnt get worn out or partially injured early in the hike.

It definitely is preferable from a shuttle point of view to get dropped off up north as there is no public transportation near the north end.

Lone Wolf
04-25-2009, 21:16
Hi, I trying to plan a Long trail end to end maybe this year. Has anyone here started from the north and hiked south? I would be essayer for me to get home if I ended at North Adams. Thanks for any input.

yeah, i have. i used to live 3 miles from the end. go for it

04-25-2009, 21:16
It would give me a goal to get into better shape!!!

04-25-2009, 21:25
I've done it both ways. If you go SOBO just don't be a rigid thinker about your hiking miles. It'll work fine though so relax and enjoy it.

mark schofield
04-26-2009, 05:54
this guy went sobo a few years ago. and posted a beautiful log of his journey.


04-26-2009, 12:58
My new-to-backpacking 16yo brother and I hiked the LT SOBO in August 1979. The northern section is much, much more difficult than the southern section (which I've covered three times). Our daily mileage was pretty low for the first week (9, 10, 13, 7, 15, 10, 2), after which we picked up the pace.

hammock engineer
04-27-2009, 03:19
I planned on doing my first long trip southbound on the LT. I had to cut it short after the north 80 for non-hiking reasons back home. It is a lot harder, but at the same time a lot of fun in the north. Take it slow and relax. There are plenty of cool places to sleep for the night on the LT. Lots of ski huts, and the shelters are way better up north if your into that.

You got to love the rock scrambles and ladders on the LT.

05-01-2009, 06:17
I've made the trip twice and I agree the trail is harder towards the north, but to be honest it's hardest from Lincoln Gap to Johnson, the last 50 miles heading north let's up a bit. I'm thinking about making the trip again in September, probably sobo, and looking at the profiles is somewhat daunting.

For example, the two highest peaks, Camel's Hump and Mansfield, are fairly easy going north, but going south, they would both be 3000ft climbs, but it's so beautiful I don't think it would matter.

But honestly, even in the middle sections which are hard, you can make decent miles if you are experienced and can move more than 2mph. The AT section is quite easy really, nothing too tough in there

The ladders and gullys are just awesome, and that trail can we so wet, forget rain, I mean turning the corner and it's a puddle of water for 100 yards, kinda fun just sloshing through it though!

05-08-2009, 16:08
I did it both ways and if I do it more times, I'll probably keep alternating directions. Its probably better for people who are unsure of themselves to start in the south. Otherwise, its a matter of taste. As a Long Trail mentor, I wrote up a list of pros and cons for one "mentee": who asked about which way to go:

Starting in the North vs. the South:

The North is generally more remote. The trail is rougher, town access is more difficult and there are fewer people on the trail. The roads you cross will be less traveled.

The advantages of starting in the south are: 1) there are more people in the first 100 miles and more people are going your way, so you feel more connected to other people, 2) it is easier to get into town and to get re-supplied, check out your gear or get gear or advice from an outfitter (Manchester is a great stop to get yourself sorted out at), 3) you get to build up your strength for more rugged terrain and longer stretches without re-supply, 4) there are lots of great places to stop and swim if you are easing your way on to the trail.

Advantages for starting in North are: 1) You feel more alone and start with more of a wilderness experience, 2) if you are starting off slow you are spending the time in a area that is fairly remote and special, 3) even when you reach the south where there are many more hikers, you are moving the opposite direction from most others and don’t feel like you are moving with the herd, 4) if you are traveling solo and worry about not having any help if you start having difficulties you do have the advantage of running into more people (so you also get more info on the trail ahead).

05-08-2009, 16:12
Things are changing for me so I might only get 2 weeks to hike the LT. Now it looks I'll start from the south! (I can always stay on the AT and head to Hanover,NH)