View Full Version : June thru-hike

02-14-2011, 18:01
I have arranged to take the month of June off of work, and I'm seriously considering attempting a thru-hike of the Long Trail at that time. My only concern right now is bugs. How concerned should I be about black flies, etc, at that time? Should I try to go earlier or later to avoid this?


02-14-2011, 18:09
What's the worst time for the bugs? I've been around huge swarms of mosquitos before, but have always managed to avoid black flies.

Highway Man
02-15-2011, 01:43
The other concern could be the wetness of the trail if you're not aware of it.

02-15-2011, 07:00
Typically, from my experience the black flies are usually gone for the most part by mid june, but have been known to be around until the first part of july. The worst month to me usually seems to be may. I would still consider june as a threat, haha.

02-15-2011, 13:51
It's really hard to predict as it varies from year to year depending on conditions. I did a N to S LT thru hike in June once. It was cold and wet for the 1st half, then hot and dry with insane black flies the second half.

A head net and a bug bivy you can hide in to get away from the flys is highly recommended for that time of year. You may not need them, but if you do it is the only way to save your sanity. Making a small, smoky fire as soon as you get to a shelter to help drive away the million or two flys which you collected along the trail, is also something you'll do often.

02-15-2011, 17:27
As Ironbelly & Slo-go'en said, black flies can be a presence in June. But look at it this way: if they're out, you'll make good time. Why? Because every time you stop or slow down, they'll besiege you. Were I hiking during BF season, I'd wear my bandana over my entire head since they like to go for the hairline and behind the ears first.

But at least BFs are gone before dark and their presence is also an incentive to get up at first light and get on the Trail before their day begins, usually 2-3 hours after sunrise.

On the whole, I think mid-August to mid-September is a better time to hike the LT but you gotta do what you gotta do.

02-15-2011, 17:37
Hi JPZiller,

First off, congratulations on taking a month to hike the Long Trail. You will be able to maintain a good pace and a month should be adequate time without rushing.

OK, now on to your post. Should you be concerned about bugs and mud during June on the Long Trail? Answer? Hell yeah!!! You would be starting at or near PEAK bug season. Also.. unless you have had a dry spring (does Vermont ever get a dry Spring?) or the snow pack melts in April (yeah, like THAT ever happens) you will have seriously muddy conditions in many places, and that would start on your FIRST day, at or before the VT Mass state line.

If at all possible, I would strongly suggest holding off till July, preferably mid July to do the hike. By then the worst of the bugs would be gone. The trail would still be wet in places, but not as bad as in June. Wetness of the trail is really dependent on the year.


Papa D
03-09-2011, 22:28
I end to ended last year in July - no big deal for bugs - a little pesky around Stratton Mtn - went away further north - if you can wait until mid- June or July, you'll do better bug wise - it's a great trail - P/M me if you want

03-12-2011, 10:20
I'll second what Papa D said - I started my hike the second week of July going north and by then the bugs weren't too bad. It was still really muddy, but I think that partly had to do with how wet of a summer it was in '09.

04-04-2011, 11:32
I have arranged to take the month of June off of work, and I'm seriously considering attempting a thru-hike of the Long Trail at that time. My only concern right now is bugs. How concerned should I be about black flies, etc, at that time? Should I try to go earlier or later to avoid this?


Yeah man I hope you keep your schedule, I will be starting my E2E on 6/1/11, bought the plane tickets so I am committed. I hiked a 175 mile section of the PCT last year in the Sierras starting on 6/25, and NOTHING could be worse than the mosquitos that year in the Sierras with the 140% snow pack they had. Mud on the other hand is foreign to me, hiking primarily in CA, you donít get much of that so it could get interesting.

Funny though, I am originally from VT but didnít get into backpacking until I moved to CA and found the PCT, hereís to homecomings! Happy trails and I hope to see you out there.

Max Power
hiking with- Lo

04-05-2011, 15:52
You'll encounter some, but it shouldn't be too awful. By mid June they're mostly only a big annoyance at higher elevations, and if you're northbound you don't have too many long stretches above 3,000' for quite a while.

I only once had a really terrible time with blackflies on the LT after early June, years ago up near Hazen's Notch ...

For the most part, you'll have bugs but they won't be a crippling annoyance.

04-06-2011, 10:22
Bugs will be an issue, so will mud...don't underestimate these factors.

If you can only go in June then I would still go, but I would have to say the best months for a LT thru is August-September, hands down. All hiking in June means is more mud, and shorter breaks as others have pointed out.

I would carry a head net, and absolutely bring a bug bivy if you plan on sleeping in the shelters, or just tent everynight. On my hike we tented most nights due to bugs.

The Long Trail is absolutely amazing!

04-06-2011, 22:03
I filmed my LT thru hike last early June. www.trekkingon.com (http://www.trekkingon.com) I had some black flies in the south but, I found that the spots where the black flies were, I would out pace them while hiking. From my experience, they're MUCH worse in Maine. I do suppose, however, that it depends heavily on the year. Hope this helps... let me know if you need anything. Good luck.

Papa D
04-06-2011, 22:14
I seem to recall a ranger dude on Stratton Mtn. telling me of two different bug seasons - I remembered Maine Black Flies well from my AT thru, but I think he said that the flies I experienced last year on the LT were deer flies - they sucked they also were only around Stratton Pond - July 6-7th - and as TUTS said, only when you stood around - moving you were fine - we didn't have any problems to speak of either way after that

04-07-2011, 08:15
Deer flies have been increasingly worse the past few years....not sure why. They are usually around after the black flies are gone and can hang around until early fall. I find them at all elevations. They are really bad in my driveway and on our dirt road. They can be quite aggressive and go for the back of your head, so a hat does a fine job of keeping them off just make sure to cover your neck.

You can't out hike them, they chase my wife while she runs and keep up with me on my tractor.

04-07-2011, 14:34
Deer flies are way bigger than black flies and will chase you. I've had several encounters with them on the LT and you can't get away no matter how fast you move along. The only way I got rid of them was by donning a headnet.

04-07-2011, 14:41
Deer flies are very fast, quick so hard to kill by hand, and have a sharp, painful bite. Nasty little rascals.

04-07-2011, 22:37
I actually didn't have any problems with deer flies last June for my LT thru-hike. They do suck, though, I have a lot of experience with them. You gotta slap hard and if you get them, rub until you feel it pop. They're like little tanks.

04-13-2011, 15:52
I did a June 1 thru back in 87 and had to deal with bad bugs only for a week or so. I ended up using my tent in the shelters I stayed in to let me sleep bug free.

I would suspect that any recent increases of bugs may be related to the die off of the bats in New England.


04-15-2011, 01:02
Is there anything Deer Flies can't do?

04-15-2011, 16:08
Is there anything Deer Flies can't do?

I'm soooo praying for a mild deer fly season this year. They drive my wife crazy on her runs.....which is apparently all my fault.

We had a pretty cold winter, but who knows.