There are nearly six dozen Long Trail overnight sites spaced no more than a moderate day’s hike apart. These range from fully enclosed lodges to three-sided lean-tos and tenting areas. All sites, although primitive, have a water source nearby (purity and reliability cannot be guaranteed) and a privy (outhouse). Visitors must carry their own food, backpacking stove, and overnight gear.
Sites Along the Long Trail:
- Tenting area: Wooden tent platforms.
- Shelter: Usually three sided with a sloped roof. Fit 6-10 people.
- Lodge: Usually four-sided with wooden bunks. Fit 10-24 people.
- How many sites on the Long Trail? Over 70!
- Are there amenities? Established backcountry sites are all located by a primitive water source (untested) and a privy. There are no wood stoves.
- Are they by reservation? No, all sites are first-come, first-served.
- Is there a fee? As of the 2023 hiking season, there is no longer a fee to stay at caretaker-staffed sites. These sites will still be staffed with paid caretakers, so if you’d like to make a donation to support their work, you can do so here.
- How long can I stay? We request you stay no more than two consecutive nights.
- Do I still need to bring my tent if there is a shelter at the site I plan on spending the night? YES! Shelters are first come, first served, and during peak hiking season they are usually full. It is important to have your tent, tarp, or other shelter with you.
Primitive camping and fires
The LT passes through private, state, and federal land, so regulations for camping and campfires vary along the trail. When in doubt, please camp only in designated areas and avoid building fires.
- Private Land: Camping is limited to designated areas on specific private lands only and not allowed on other private lands. Fires are limited to permanent fireplaces at each site. Use of this land is permitted through the generosity of the landowners. Please do not abuse the privilege. Please familiarize yourself with land ownership prior to planning your outing.
- State Land: In certain state forests, primitive camping is allowed, but your campsite must be 100’ from any water source, 200’ from any trail or property line, 1000’ from any traveled road, and below 2500’ in elevation. Groups larger than 10 require a state primitive camping permit and should contact GMC’s Group Outreach Specialist.
- Federal Land: Camping between shelters is permitted along much of the LT in the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF). Small wood fires are allowed if Leave No Trace principles are followed. Large groups should contact GMC’s Group Outreach Specialist.
Note on Water
Although the Green Mountain Club makes every effort to locate shelters and campsites near water sources, the quality and quantity of water cannot be guaranteed. During dry weather, water sources may fail. Areas particularly prone to water shortages are noted in the trail description.
Contamination of water supplies is a problem, even in remote areas. Water may look and taste clean but still be unsafe to drink. Giardia, caused by the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia, is just one of many illnesses caused by drinking contaminated water. Other bacteria and viruses may also be present in water sources. If giardiasis symptoms such as severe cramping and diarrhea occur, consult your physician.
Hikers and dogs are probably the main carriers of Giardia. Often, they carry the parasite and unknowingly contaminate water supplies through the careless disposal of waste. People can pass it on to others by failing to wash their hands after making a pit stop.
The best way to prevent illness is to treat all drinking water. To kill Giardia, water must be brought to a rolling boil, filtered with a water purifier guaranteed to remove the Giardia parasite (filters may not remove all contaminants, such as viruses), or treated with a chemical purifier (follow the directions on the bottle). To kill all viruses and bacteria, water must be chemically treated or brought to a rolling boil for one minute.