View Full Version : Miles a day?

09-18-2011, 18:04
I am hoping to hike the LT this June/July. Being here in VA, I can generally knock out 15-19 miles a day with a pack. I know the peaks are a bit more rugged in VT, so I am wondering how many miles a day I can actually comfortably complete at the start. I am planning to start slow for the first two days just to get a feel for terrain, but am curious how hard to push myself? Anyone from VA ever done this so they can weigh in? Thanks all.

09-19-2011, 07:21
Vermont is steeper, and has more rocks, roots, and mud than Virginia. When I thru-hiked I could easily knock off 20 miles in 8 hours going through Virginia, but the same distance could take 10 or 11 hours in Vermont. Basically, my speed dropped from 2.5 mph to 2.0 mph, including all breaks.

Also count on plenty of bugs in June and July.

Chaco Taco
09-19-2011, 07:32
10-12 miles a day is a good goal

09-19-2011, 07:52
If you are in virginia I expect you have hiked Dragons Tooth. The southern LT doesnt have a lot of Dragons Tooth type hiking but as you go north you will encounter that style of hiking on a near daily basis except that the steep sections cover more elevation. The southern LT is similiar to the hiking on the AT north of Pearisburg VA, where you have to go east and end up going up and over ridges frequently although the daily elevations changes are much higher in VT. The AMC uses a standard formula for hiking time in New England, 2 miles per hour for distance plus 1/2 hour per 1000 feet of elevation change. It factors in breaks and is conservative. Nevertheless, unlike much of VA, you have to break stride in many areas when you are ascending or descending whihc slows most folks down, this can really impact your pace. Even when you are on relatively flat stretches, you may have to break stride as the trailbed is rooty, rocky or muddy.

About the only way to increase miles is to hike long days. VT is farther from the equator than VA so near June 21st the sun is up from around 5 AM to 9 PM, and its light out for an 1/2 hour on either side so you can hike from about4:30AM to 9:30PM. Consider getting up the AM, hiking for an hour or two, then stop and eat breakfast, hike all day, stop for supper and then hike a few more hours. VT has plenty of shelters and campsites fairly well spaced so you should be able to find a place to camp within an hour or so of your goal, or just consider stealthing.

09-19-2011, 21:11
A lot of good info here already. There are places on the southern LT where a strong hiker will be able to do 16 - 20 without too much trouble ... but once you get north of Lincoln Gap, in particular, it's all going to slow way down. Vermont rocks are very slippery (the Greens aren't made of nice grippy granite like the Whites or the ADK's) and there are endless sharp ups and downs.

When I thru-hiked the AT I did numerous 24-27 mile days and a few over 30 -- and some 20's in the Whites and in Maine -- but I still don't like to plan on anything much longer than 10 or 12 in that part of the LT between Lincoln Gap and the Lamoille River. Sure, sometimes you'll do a little better, but there's a lot of terrain in there that you just can't move very fast on with a pack.

09-19-2011, 22:32
avoid the Long Trail during May and June unless you want to deal with lots of bugs, lots and lots of mud, and high stream crossings!

09-20-2011, 21:21
I'm leaving 28 days to do it. SO I'd think i'd have plenty of time to get through in that even with some small 10 mile days. thanks everyone!

09-23-2011, 00:19
North of Route 4 the trail is much different, you might also want to check trail conditions after the storm. It's alot of up and down, bad footing, rocks, roots, puddles, mud (NEW ENGLAND haha). It's hard to make miles on the Long Trail, it's not like the AT in most places.

In my experience, the middle/northern section of the Long Trail is harder than anything on the AT south of New Hampshire, and it's harder than anything I experienced in New Zealand or Australia, but don't take this the wrong way...it's still amazing and beautiful - you're just going to earn your miles.

One can still knock out 20's, but as others have said...it will take longer. 20 miles on the AT in most places would take me about 8 hours maximum, I would expect that to be closer to 10 hours in the middle of the Long Trail.

Plan for wet feet everyday as well.

An amazing trail though...beautiful.

09-30-2011, 16:26
Actual mileages from August End-to-End (southbound):

Day 1 - 5.7 mi (started late)
Day 2 - 7.4
Day 3 - 11.5
Day 4 - 8.4 (in and out of Eden)
Day 5 - 14.7
Day 6 - 7.2 (in and out of Johnson)
Day 7 - 10.9 (in to Stowe)

============ Smuggler's Notch ============

Day 8 - 5.2 (out of Stowe late)
Day 9 - 16.5

============ Winooski River ==============

Day 10 - 13.0 (in and out of Richmond)
Day 11 - 8.0

============ Appalachian Gap ==============

Day 12 - 6.0 (in and out of Waitsfield)
Day 13 - 12.9 =================== crossed Lincoln Gap ==============
Day 14 - 9.5

=================== Middlebury Gap ===================

Day 15 - 13.9

=================== Brandon Gap ==================

Day 16 - 13.7
Day 17 - 5.0 (in to the Inn at Long Trail)
Day 18 - 0 ( zero day at the Inn)

==================== Sherburne Pass =================

Day 19 - 16.4 (out from the Inn at Long Trail)

==================== Clarendon Gorge ==============

Day 20 - 13.7
Day 21 - 16.5
Day 22 - 13.6 (in and out of Manchester Center)
Day 23 - 15.4
Day 24 - 12.6
Day 25 - 13.1
Day 26 - 6.1 (short day - out by noon)

Highway Man
10-01-2011, 09:06
I started at Rt. 4 heading north at 3:00 PM, Sept 20, 2011, and finished at Johnson at 8:36 AM, Sept 30, 2011. I spent about a little over ten days on the trail.

The total trail mileage is 118 miles. I didn't take any time off, but just hitched back to different trailheads to reshuffle my car. This part of the trail is the hardest section of all, I believe. I had fairly clement weather going through Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield. It rained more than half of the trail time, but not too seriously, except at the last full day hike.

Being able to do 10~15 miles a day in that stretch is not bad at all.

10-01-2011, 10:14
I did the LT SOBO this summer, in late June and early July, in 18 days, from Journey's End Camp to MA 2 in North Adams. I had fairly bad weather at the beginning, crossing Mansfield in questionable conditions (fortunately, the trail on the top of the chin is marked by blazes every 10 feet or less and lined with white strings on both sides). On the other hand, I had 5 days of great hiking weather at the end, which allowed me to make it from US 4 (Inn @ LT) to North Adams during this time.

Most NOBOs I met near the north end were finishing in 21-24 days, in spite of having had a lot of bad weather. At the Inn @LT, I met two NOBOs who had made it from North Adams to US 4 in 5 and 5.5 days (at the start of their hike!).

US 4 to Lincoln Gap is the easiest section of the LT in my view. Lincoln Gap to Lamoille River (Johnson) is the hardest; I would say it is worse than anything on the AT in NH. On some descents, I could barely make 1 mph because of the slippery rocks (the descents to the north seemed smoother though).

10-01-2011, 18:20
I agree Lincoln Gap to the Lamoille River is the hardest, no question....

10-04-2011, 16:16
I agree Lincoln Gap to the Lamoille River is the hardest, no question....

x3, but the most rewarding as well.

10-04-2011, 17:13
Agreed...I know I'm in for a shock when I head back in August, it's been a long time since my last hike...

I will say though, while this section is tough I see no reason why a typical hiker (who is fit and experienced) couldn't easily hike 17-20 miles per day. As tough as this section is, I remember doing 15 mile days with a gigantic, heavy, external frame pack, and we rarely started hiking before 9am. We never had a 'problem' covering that distance, it would simply take longer. We were both very inexperienced at the time.

10-14-2011, 14:52
I went NOBO and completed the Long Trail in 20 days with one zero day: www.trailjournals.com/cori

Papa D
10-14-2011, 20:14
I hiked the LT end to end in '10 - I can e-mail you my exact itinerary if you PM me. If you are reasonably backpacker fit, you can do about 12-14 miles per day from N. Adams to Rutland - you'll slow down a little after that because the hiking does get harder but after a week and a half you might have (sort of) gained some trail legs - you should plan on maybe 10-11 m.p.d. past that - 3 weeks (21 days) is a brisk pace without a doubt but provides for some comfort and fun - maybe a night or two in a hostel and a beer or three. Faster than that and you are really cooking - lot's of people hike it in a month, take their time - stop at 2 or 3 hostels - that's fun too. You will LOVE the LT no matter how you do it!

Papa D
10-14-2011, 20:18
North of Rutland, there is very little opportunity to stretch out and do 20 mile days - I did hike from Hancock to Waitsfield in a day - that was about 18-19 miles and the biggest day - f.y.i. it felt like a 30 in SNP - there are actually ladders to go up / down - "Appalachian Gap" is amazing - and rugged!

10-14-2011, 21:20
when i did the long trail i did about 13-15 a day on average with a 20 in there a few times also my pack was way heavy over seventy pounds at one point so you should have no problem do thoes miles with a avarge weight pack enjoy and have fun

10-14-2011, 21:28
Lot of good advice. I did an inside-out thruhike of the LT in '07 (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=205427) - hiking Rt. 4 to Canada, then Rt. 4 to Massachusetts. So I did the more difficult part first which made the southern portion seem easy.

The only thing I'd add is don't unestimate the difficulty of the descents. No matter how fit you are for the uphills, some of the descents are slow-it-down knee-crushers. Papa D already mentioned one such: the descent to Appalachian Gap. Another tough one was the descent down from Whiteface Mountain going north. Peakbagger mentioned the AMC standard of 2 mph plus 1/2 hour for every 1,000'elevation change. Unfortunately, the Green Mountain Club's guidelines say an extra 1.2 hour only for 1,000 ascents. This just shows whoever writes that stuff doesn't hike much.

Have a great time!

Mountain Mike
10-14-2011, 21:47
South of Rt 4 is a cakewalk compared to north. Ladders scrambles needing to use your hands. A lot like mahoosics. But yes very rewarding. When I did northern end 12 mpd was hard. At first I just thought it was me starting without my hiking legs. But my trip partner had just come off a month on Colorado Trail & she felt as beat as me. Enjoy your hike!