PDA

View Full Version : Long Trail in May



LEM15
01-11-2011, 22:15
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

Lone Wolf
01-11-2011, 22:16
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

yup. too early

HiKen2011
01-11-2011, 22:18
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

double d
01-11-2011, 22:19
The Green Mt. Club advises hiking the LT until late May (they usually ask to not hike the LT until after Memorial Day weekend).

Cookerhiker
01-11-2011, 23:21
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

I think you'll appreciate the LT more between mid-August and mid-October.

Since your timeframe is May, other trails of comparable length are:

Allegheny Trail in WV (about 290 miles) - I spent a lot of time planning this for a hike in 2010 but had to end the hike after an injury to my hiking partner. Parts of the trail might be overgrown but it's very well-blazed
Sheltowee Trace in KY (280 miles) - runs on a SW-NE axis from the KY/TN border up to near the Ohio River in Daniel Boone National Forest plus portions in Big South Fork and several state parks
Tuscarora Trail VA-WV-MD-PA (260 miles) - leaves the AT at Elk Wallow picnic area in Shenandoah NP, heads west down the Blue Ridge, up the Massanuten Ridge then to Great North Mountain into WV, north to the Potomac, across to MD and over to PA where it follows a ridge and rejoins the AT south of Duncannon.
Mid-State Trail in PA - don't know the mileage but it's at least 200 through the center of PA.

takethisbread
01-12-2011, 05:49
For that time of year, perhaps The Benton Mackaye Trail might be best.

It will have hikers on it, but not too many, it cross crosses the AT a few times so you get to see thru hikers beginning, and the blooms on Azalea and Rhody's may be in play, which could be spectacular. Plus it goes into the Smokies, in may, perfect.
I think it's about 300 miles.

Long Trail is a great fall trail.

The Solemates
01-12-2011, 11:51
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

we did it in May. rained for 8 days straight, no lie.

Slo-go'en
01-12-2011, 12:29
If you like to be cold, wet and knee deep in mud all the time, go for it!

Personally, I head to your neck of the woods to hike in May!

Bob McCaw
01-12-2011, 13:46
The lower elevations can be OK in late May. It all depends on the recent weather.

The GMC doesn't like you to hike before Memorial Day, mainly because the ground is very fragile at the higher elevations and it's usually still waterlogged. I'd honor their wishes.

Speer Carrier
01-12-2011, 15:29
I'm planning on hiking the AT in Vermont in mid June. Thanks for the information on the Long Trail in May. What kind of condition should we expect? Similar to what has been reported so far on this thread as it relates to the L.T. in May, or something different?

Yukon
01-12-2011, 15:43
I'm planning on hiking the AT in Vermont in mid June. Thanks for the information on the Long Trail in May. What kind of condition should we expect? Similar to what has been reported so far on this thread as it relates to the L.T. in May, or something different?

Lots of bugs!!

Dancer
01-12-2011, 15:57
How about the Long Path in NY? How is that in May? About the same?

kyhipo
01-12-2011, 16:16
bugs dont come out untell june I know Ky

Slo-go'en
01-12-2011, 18:01
The bugs don't come out until a week or so after the rainy season ends and it warms up a bit. That can happen anywhere from mid May to middle of June. It all depends on the type of spring we have, but more often than not, May and early June is the peak of the rainy season.

LEM15
01-12-2011, 20:00
thanks for the guidance, folks. and, Cookerhiker, thanks for the info on the other trails; i will check them out for sure.

Cookerhiker
01-12-2011, 21:46
thanks for the guidance, folks. and, Cookerhiker, thanks for the info on the other trails; i will check them out for sure.

I've only hiked on small portions of the Sheltowee Trace (http://www.sheltoweetrace.org/) but I think May (starting early May) would be a nice time to hike. IMO the coolest thing about the ST is the large rock formations, rock shelters, arches, and natural bridges - something you don't see much in the East.

If you want to consider the Sheltowee, here's one of the WB threads on it: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=19266

One advantage of hiking this trail is there's a new i.e. less than 1 year-old guidebook with mileage points and trail services written by Taba (a WB member) described in this thread: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=64357

And if you have additional questions, WB's Traildust is the Executive Director of the Sheltowee Trace Association.

Papa D
01-22-2011, 08:46
i did it last year in July - good water and very few bugs (bugs only south of US 4) - weather was really very nice - I think that July - September are perfect - May would be buggy and muddy - re-schedule and wait a bit if you can.

Driver8
01-22-2011, 10:48
I think you'll appreciate the LT more between mid-August and mid-October.


Since your timeframe is May, other trails of comparable length are:
Allegheny Trail in WV (about 290 miles) - I spent a lot of time planning this for a hike in 2010 but had to end the hike after an injury to my hiking partner. Parts of the trail might be overgrown but it's very well-blazed
Sheltowee Trace in KY (280 miles) - runs on a SW-NE axis from the KY/TN border up to near the Ohio River in Daniel Boone National Forest plus portions in Big South Fork and several state parks
Tuscarora Trail VA-WV-MD-PA (260 miles) - leaves the AT at Elk Wallow picnic area in Shenandoah NP, heads west down the Blue Ridge, up the Massanuten Ridge then to Great North Mountain into WV, north to the Potomac, across to MD and over to PA where it follows a ridge and rejoins the AT south of Duncannon.
Mid-State Trail in PA - don't know the mileage but it's at least 200 through the center of PA.

What about the John Muir Trail out in Calif? Too early in the season for that? It's length is comparable to the LT, and the scenery incomparable.


To the OP: I believe the Ouachita Trail in Arkansas is also of similar length and it would be plenty warm by then. You'd have to reckon with thunderstorms and, by late May, it could get good and hot.

The Solemates
01-22-2011, 22:40
[/LIST]

To the OP: I believe the Ouachita Trail in Arkansas is also of similar length and it would be plenty warm by then. You'd have to reckon with thunderstorms and, by late May, it could get good and hot.

I've hiked in AR in May a few times and would not recommend it. The trail is overgrown to the point of being hard to follow in places, the ticks are horrible, mosquitos are starting to hatch, and it is approaching being too hot.

d.o.c
02-22-2011, 22:53
I've hiked in AR in May a few times and would not recommend it. The trail is overgrown to the point of being hard to follow in places, the ticks are horrible, mosquitos are starting to hatch, and it is approaching being too hot.
1000% agreed i tryd the ozark highland trail from its start to mulbery mountain for wakarusa music festival.. it was overgrown with nothing but poisionus plants ticks were evrywhre it was a straight mess all in all prob wont hike there again like that but it was pretty..

Deadeye
02-23-2011, 09:34
Bugs don't have calendars... they come out whenever it's inconvenient for you.

Driver8
02-24-2011, 11:55
I've hiked in AR in May a few times and would not recommend it. The trail is overgrown to the point of being hard to follow in places, the ticks are horrible, mosquitos are starting to hatch, and it is approaching being too hot.


1000% agreed i tryd the ozark highland trail from its start to mulbery mountain for wakarusa music festival.. it was overgrown with nothing but poisionus plants ticks were evrywhre it was a straight mess all in all prob wont hike there again like that but it was pretty..

Hmmm. Thank you both for this. I haven't hiked either of these trails, though I grew up in Arkansas - have hiked other, short, busy trails such as Petit Jean and Pinnacle Mtn.

Either of you know if the overgrown-ness is less of an issue some times of the year? I imagine November would be OK, maybe February. ...

guthook
03-16-2011, 10:07
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.

Swiss Miss, it is true that May is not a great time for the LT, but it's not impossible. It's always rainy and muddy out there, but just a little more muddy than usual in May because of melting snow. When I hiked the AT in 2007, I was in Vermont from May 24 through 31 (memorial day was on the 28th). The bugs were annoying, the mud was nothing particularly bad, and the rain was no worse than anywhere else.

I spent the next two summers working on the Long Trail, and I can tell you June and July are just as rainy, if not more, than May. August and September really are the best times for a LT hike, but if you really want to do it in May, it would not be a total mistake.

The Solemates
03-16-2011, 15:21
Hmmm. Thank you both for this. I haven't hiked either of these trails, though I grew up in Arkansas - have hiked other, short, busy trails such as Petit Jean and Pinnacle Mtn.

Either of you know if the overgrown-ness is less of an issue some times of the year? I imagine November would be OK, maybe February. ...

yea. the OHT is fine most parts of the year. many parts of it are even fine in may. but some parts are certainly not. we usually go do some portion of the OHT over memorial day weekend and never have a problem...but we make sure plenty of rivers are involved and do some swimming, etc. i wouldnt try to hike the whole trail in may.

Monkeywrench
03-16-2011, 17:13
May is mud season in Vermont, and the GMC encourages hikers to stay off the trail until after Memorial Day. At some of the higher elevations and more sensitive spots, I believe the trail is actually officially closed.

We do our first maintenance the weekend prior to Memorial Day, and there is often still snow on the summit of Glastenbury Mountain, which is both lower in elevation and further south than many of the peaks along the trail.

See https://www.greenmountainclub.org/page.php?id=60

Leanthree
03-16-2011, 18:49
May is mud season in Vermont, and the GMC encourages hikers to stay off the trail until after Memorial Day. At some of the higher elevations and more sensitive spots, I believe the trail is actually officially closed.



Is this for erosion reasons or hiker safety reasons?

guthook
03-16-2011, 20:10
Is this for erosion reasons or hiker safety reasons?

Erosion. Because much of the trail was designed before good water/erosion control practices became common, the trail is very prone to erosion when sodden.

The Green Mountain Club, Green Mountain National Forest, and I can't remember which state agency manages state forests officially "close" the trails for mud season, but there's absolutely no enforcement. Some people still hike the trails during that time, and some trails are just as muddy during the rest of the season, but it's one of those situations where they like to delay the big rush of hikers as long as possible. Memorial Day weekend is their official opening date more because they know they won't be able to stop people from rushing to the mountains that weekend than because that's when the trail magically dries out.

maxpower88
04-24-2011, 10:05
Will the Long Trail be a muddy, buggy, slushy mess in May? I have the month off and am looking for a good month-long hike that I haven't done before. I love VT, but am wondering if it would be a mistake to thru-hike the LT this early in the season.
I always get a kick out of other people and their hang ups about just going for it, DONíT BELIEVE THE HYPE! Hike your hike and leave when it is convenient for you, no matter what, hiking the LT is going to be hot, buggy, muddy, & HARD so you might as well do what is good for you. I also love when people say the woods are closed, how exactly do you close a trail, is someone there at a closed gate? Put one foot in front of the other and eventually you will reach Canada, good luck and happy trails.

p.s-I start my E2E 6/1/11 if you can wait, and want some hiking partners, we will be at the Seth Warner shelter 5/31. Peace

Papa D
04-24-2011, 10:29
Yes - May is too early - I hiked the LT End to End in July - it was perfect - August would be good too. May would be a great time to do a big AT Section Hike - what about all of New Hampshire Southbound and finishing at Killington, VT? That would be in a similar geographical area - at least equally as challenging and a ton less muddy.

mirabela
04-24-2011, 21:17
I also love when people say the woods are closed, how exactly do you close a trail, is someone there at a closed gate?

I believe this comment sort of misses the point. The trails don't get there by themselves, they have to be built and maintained, mostly by volunteers, or they turn into an eroded and nearly impassable wreck; during the earliest part of the season they are very unstable, and just a couple of hikers in mud season can do more damage than hundreds later on. Waiting until the soils dry out is the considerate thing to do.

There are parts of the LT that are ready in May -- I could suggest some -- but for a thru-hike it's better to wait. It will be a lot more enjoyable, too.

StubbleJumper
04-24-2011, 23:38
I believe this comment sort of misses the point. The trails don't get there by themselves, they have to be built and maintained, mostly by volunteers, or they turn into an eroded and nearly impassable wreck; during the earliest part of the season they are very unstable, and just a couple of hikers in mud season can do more damage than hundreds later on. Waiting until the soils dry out is the considerate thing to do.

You are bang-on by noting that it's more considerate. I would also note that the trail traverses a variety of public and private lands. The more damage that these lands sustain, the more "hard and fast" regulations that will be imposed. It is therefore preferable that the hiking community show good judgement on a voluntary basis to avoid the hard hand of government regulation or the withdrawal of access to by private land owners.

NorthCountryWoods
04-25-2011, 08:44
There is a lot of hype and scare tactics concerning mud season. In most years the majority of the trail is not in danger of permanent damage during April and May. The problem is the very sensitive areas are dispersed along the entire length of the trail. An E2E hike will pass thru sensitive areas without a viable option for detour and you will be causing more damage to those areas during a wet May.

As an owner of land that the LT passes thru, I can tell you the removal of the easement is not as simple as "mud season damage", but we appreciate the respectful use that most hikers exhibit.

The LT is a couple hundred yards from my back door and I see the trail conditions year round. IMHO you'll have a more enjoyable hike from June to October and won't have to worry about leaving a lasting impact.

stranger
04-25-2011, 09:41
Best months for a typical Long Trail thru-hike are, without question...July, August, September...and for some October.

June is an option if you can't wait a few weeks longer, bugs will be a real issue, mud everywhere...but May?

I hiked the LT starting in mid July, and mud was a problem in places, loooong flooded sections of puddles, 40 yards long, water up to your ankles, in July.

Now May?

I would recommend doing something like the southern AT from Fontana Dam to Damascus, or from Springer to Erwin, or Erwin to Pearisburg...but New England, not me!

Benton MacKaye Trail??

double d
04-25-2011, 11:33
I always get a kick out of other people and their hang ups about just going for it, DONíT BELIEVE THE HYPE! Hike your hike and leave when it is convenient for you, no matter what, hiking the LT is going to be hot, buggy, muddy, & HARD so you might as well do what is good for you. I also love when people say the woods are closed, how exactly do you close a trail, is someone there at a closed gate? Put one foot in front of the other and eventually you will reach Canada, good luck and happy trails.

p.s-I start my E2E 6/1/11 if you can wait, and want some hiking partners, we will be at the Seth Warner shelter 5/31. Peace

I think you have missed the point: its not about "do your own thing", its about doing whats respectful to the land. Its muddy on most of the trail until late May-early June and alot the trail has mud most of the year. How about helping out instead of "don't believe the hype"? Because it isn't hype, its reality. But maybe you just don't care and you mask that with catch phrases?

Snowleopard
04-25-2011, 15:57
Mud season in New England combines the thawing of the soil, melting of snow and spring rains. It can be considerably worse than the usual mud from heavy summer rains. More important, as some have said, you can damage the trail, damage fragile alpine vegetation and cause erosion.
https://www.greenmountainclub.org/page.php?id=60

HeatherNC
12-19-2019, 21:34
[QUOTE=Driver8;1099324][/LIST]
What about the John Muir Trail out in Calif? Too early in the season for that? It's length is comparable to the LT, and the scenery incomparable.

Much too early for the JMT; would still be covered in snow.

Grampie
12-20-2019, 12:00
The black fly's will eat you alive. Hiked the Long Trail once in mid May. the black Fly's were so bad I gave it up after three days.

Slo-go'en
12-20-2019, 12:56
This thread is 8 years old, but I guess the info is still relevant.

Bottom line : DON'T HIKE THE LONG TRAIL IN MAY!