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Thread: LT vs AT

  1. #1
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    Default LT vs AT

    I am sure this question could generate some controversy, but I'll ask anyway...for people who have done both, which do you think is more scenic - the Long Trail or the Maine section of the AT?

    They are about the same distance (LT is a little shorter). I have three weeks in August and am trying to decide which to do. I thru hiked the AT in '06 and thought Maine was totally awesome, so it would be cool to get back there. On the other hand, it would be nice to do the Long Trail, since I haven't done it yet. Honestly, I wasn't totally enamored with the section that ran contiguous with the AT. I like it, but just not as much as the NH and ME sections.

    Thoughts???
    Swiss Miss
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  2. #2

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    On the whole, I'd favor the Maine section of the AT because it has more mountains over treeline and more lakes & ponds, hence you're more likely to see moose and hear loons. The ME trail towns are less geared to the affluent tourists and more down-to-earth than VT (which also means VT has better restaurants - alas, the tradeoff).

    However, the Long Trail has one feature found no where on the AT: the constant view of a large body of water - Lake Champlain - for over 50 miles. I found this fascinating and quite picturesque, especially watching sunsets over the Adironadacks with the lake in front.

    BTW, did you know that the LT has a smaller-scale version of Mahoosuc Notch? It's called Devils Gulch in the far North beyond Mt. Mansfield.

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    September is the best month to hike the LT (and the AT in Maine for that matter). But, the LT will be much less crowded that time of year while the AT will have a full compliment of NOBO thruhikers surging for the finish.
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  4. #4

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    As much as I like the LT, I'd have to say over all, Maine is more scenic. But with 3 weeks to hike one or the other, you'd probably have a better chance of finishing the LT if you went S>N. The last 50-60 miles of the LT is pretty tough and a lot more interesting than the AT section of the LT.
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  5. #5

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    I enjoy the Long Trail more (done it 3 times and the Maine AT only once), but if you are looking for scenic vistas - I agree that the Maine AT has it.

    Actually,for great scenery and vistas - I'd start the AT just south of Moosilauke and heading north. You sacrifice Katahdin, but basically you pick up a lot more in the way of great views in New Hampshire than you lose at the northern end of the Maine AT. But, I guess you remember what was there.

    North of Maine junction, the LT gradually gets more rugged and wilder. There are some popular stretches, but also some very quiet ones.
    Last edited by pedxing; 02-23-2011 at 10:12. Reason: add comparison of LT North of Maine junction

  6. #6
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    answer seems simple to me - you've hiked one trail, not the other. One's not better, just different.

  7. #7

    Default LT v. ME AT

    Even though Vermont is home and I love it Maine is in my opinion more scenic and more of a wilderness. However you mention not being enthralled with the souther LT contigous with the AT. The northern section of the LT is way more scenic and wild than the south. It is really no comparison. You have the Monroe skyline including Mt Abraham which is above treeline. Mount Mansfield and Camel's Hump VTs iconic peak are both above treeline and amazing places. I would agree with the person who recommended the LT as you have not been there yet. If you do go with the LT try and stay at the cabin on Sterling pond the porch has a great view of the sunset over the pond and Mt Mansfield. I also agree that north south is the way to go if you are pressed for time since you have already done the south and the North is more impressive though if you are definately able to do the whole thing it is neat to end up north. While september is certainly the best time to hike the northeast August would be the second best. Enjoy yourself either way.

  8. #8

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    If you hike the LT, another great place to stay is Butler Lodge on the Southwest flank of the Mt. Mansfield massif. This 4-sided shelter overlooks the west where on a clear or partly-cloudy night, you'll enjoy a sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEM15 View Post
    I am sure this question could generate some controversy, but I'll ask anyway...for people who have done both, which do you think is more scenic - the Long Trail or the Maine section of the AT?

    They are about the same distance (LT is a little shorter). I have three weeks in August and am trying to decide which to do. I thru hiked the AT in '06 and thought Maine was totally awesome, so it would be cool to get back there. On the other hand, it would be nice to do the Long Trail, since I haven't done it yet. Honestly, I wasn't totally enamored with the section that ran contiguous with the AT. I like it, but just not as much as the NH and ME sections.

    Thoughts???
    do the LT SOBO

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smooth & Wasabi View Post
    the cabin on Sterling pond the porch has a great view of the sunset over the pond and Mt Mansfield.
    If you're referring to Watson Camp - it is no more. The old Sterling Pond shelter also had views over the pond, but the new one faces the woods. Nice shelter, though, and still a real nice place.

  11. #11

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    I definitely miss Watson's Camp - a great place.

    I don't like the new Sterling Pond shelter - it has no character at all - it might be worth a stay to be able to stroll down to the Pond and catch the sunset. Last time, I just pushed on south for a late arrival at Butler.

    Skyline Lodge is a nice place - definitely worth the slight detour and the caretaker fee despite the aggressive mice.
    Last edited by pedxing; 02-24-2011 at 10:17.

  12. #12
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    Sterling is a nice place to stop for a couple of hours of lounging in the sun, but IMO there are a couple of better places to spend the night just up the trail. The first nice place a couple miles past Sterling is Madonna Peak ski shelter. It's a beautiful spot that would provide nice sunsets and sunrises, but you have to bring enough water to spend the night. The even nicer place is Whiteface shelter with a beautiful mountain view....and it's only a couple miles past Madonna Peak.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    Sterling is a nice place to stop for a couple of hours of lounging in the sun, but IMO there are a couple of better places to spend the night just up the trail. The first nice place a couple miles past Sterling is Madonna Peak ski shelter. It's a beautiful spot that would provide nice sunsets and sunrises, but you have to bring enough water to spend the night. The even nicer place is Whiteface shelter with a beautiful mountain view....and it's only a couple miles past Madonna Peak.
    Yeah, Whiteface Shelter is a nice place to stay

  14. #14
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    thanks for the info - i do think i'm leaning toward the long trail. i'm sure i'll be using this site a lot as i begin to make plans.
    Swiss Miss
    AT '06
    PCT '10

  15. #15

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    If you have done maine and likes the terrain, the Long Trail south bound is more of it. I suggest Southbound from Journeys end realizing that you are then committed to similair elevation profiles to the Mahoosucs or western Me.

  16. #16
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    Default LT vs Maine section of AT

    So which is more scenic, the Long Trail which goes along crest of Green Mountains from Mass border to Canadian border, or the 282 section of the AT?

    I have done both and this isn't even close. Both trails are nice, very challenging and approximately same distance (though AT in ME is a few miles longer).

    The Maine section of the Appalachian Trail is far and away more scenic. Far and away. Heck, you got the Mahoosics, the Bigelows, Katahdin, the 100 mile wilderness and all those lakes.

    Best time for either trail is August/September.

    DavidNH

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