Vermont’s Long Trail System, with its 272-mile footpath, 185 miles of side trails, and approximately 70 backcountry campsites (many featuring shelters) offers endless hiking opportunities for the day hiker, weekend overnighter, and extended backpacker. The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont state line to the Canadian border, crossing Vermont’s highest peaks.
Although the Long Trail is known as Vermont’s “footpath in the wilderness,” its character may more accurately be described as backcountry. On its way to Canada, this “footpath in the wilderness” climbs rugged peaks and passes pristine ponds, alpine sedge, hardwood forests, and swift streams. It is steep in places, muddy in others, and rugged in most. Novice and expert alike will enjoy the varied terrain of the trail as it passes through the heart of Vermont.
Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, the Long Trail is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States. The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border as it crosses Vermont’s highest peaks. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with the Long Trail for 100 miles in the southern third of the state.
As maintainer and protector of the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club works in partnership with the Green Mountain National Forest, state of Vermont, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and private land owners to offer a world-class hiking trail.
The Long Trail is marked by two-by-six-inch white blazes. Intersections usually have signs. Double blazes may mark important turns. In open areas or on rocky summits, blazes are often painted on rocks; cairns and scree walls may also define the trail. Property lines, snowmobile routes, and cross-country ski trails marked in various colors occasionally cross the route, but the well-worn footpath and standard white blazes distinguish the Long Trail from these. Nearly all side trails are blazed in blue. Hikers should always pay special attention at trail intersections as signs may be missing and blazes fade.