Vermont and the Long Trail hold a prominent place in the history of the Appalachian Trail. It may have been on or near the summit of Stratton Mountain, after construction of the Long Trail was begun, that the idea of an extended footpath linking the scenic ridges of the East crystallized in the mind of Appalachian Trail visionary Benton MacKaye.
First proposed in 1921 by MacKaye, a forester, author, and philosopher, the Appalachian Trail was completed in 1937. It extends more than 2,000 miles from Katahdin in Maine to northern Georgia’s Springer Mountain. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, founded in 1925, works with its member clubs and federal and state agencies to preserve and maintain the Appalachian Trail, the world’s longest linear national park.
In Vermont, the Appalachian Trail coincides with the Long Trail from the Massachusetts border to Maine Junction at Willard Gap just north of U.S. 4, and then swings east to cross the Connecticut River near Hanover, New Hampshire, a distance of 149.8 miles. The GMC maintains the AT from the Massachusetts border to Vt. 12. to Norwich. For more information about the Appalachian Trail, contact the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Just like the Long Trail, the Vermont Appalachian Trail has shelters that can be used by hikers. Winturri Shelter, Stony Brook Shelter, Thistle Hill Shelter, and Happy Hill Shelter are all available on a first come, first serve basis for hikers to spend the night.
Groups hiking this portion of the Appalachian Trail may need an Outfitter Guide Special Use Permit from the Green Mountain National Forest. Gilford Woods State Park Campground, where the Appalachian Trail crosses VT 100, and Silver Lake State Park Campground, north of the AT off VT 12 in Barnard, are available for base camp hiking. Please refer to our Groups Hiking Page for more information.
Along the Vermont Appalachian Trail starting at Maine Junction, you will see the great work of the Green Mountain Club’s Ottaquechee Section. It is this group of dedicated volunteers that constructed the Stony Brook Bridge and created the Stony Brook Shelter. They spent an entire decade from 1980-1990 relocating the Appalachian Trail between VT 100 and VT 12.