Vermont is a perfect place for hiking, with miles of trails through scenic mountain forests and pleasantly sculpted farmland.
The most famous trail for hiking in Vermont is the Long
Trail, a 270-mile footpath that runs from the Vermont-Massachusetts state line to the Canadian border. Built between 1910
and 1930, this venerable Vermont hiking trail is the oldest
long-distance walking path in the United States. The Long
Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains, crossing
over Vermont’s highest peaks as it meanders through
the backwoods of the Northeast’s most rural state.
Many other Vermont hiking trails branch off from the Long
Trail, so the footpath offers endless choices for Vermont
hiking, from several-hour jaunts to extended backcountry
backpacking, many of which will take you to some of the
state’s best fishing spots.
One of the most popular sections of the Long Trail for
hiking southern Vermont begins at Route 11 west of Peru
Notch and goes to the top of Bromley Mountain. The one-way
hike takes four hours. Another good path for hiking southern
Vermont begins in Townshend State Park on Route 30 one
mile south of Townshend, Vermont. Here the Long Trail
passes and alder swamp, a brook, and a hemlock forest
as it runs to the top of Bald Mountain (two hours). If
you are hiking southern Vermont on the Long Trail, you
are walking on a section of the Appalachian Trail. This
lengthy trail runs in a continuous path from Georgia to Maine and was modeled
after the Long Trail.
While it coincides with its parent Vermont hiking trail, the AT, summits such notable peaks as Stratton Mountain, Glastenbury Mountain, and Killington Peak (the wintertime ski resort). The AT separates from the Long Trail at Maine Junction and turns east, crossing the White River and the Connecticut River as it enters New Hampshire.
There are about 70 rough shelters on the Long Trail, but the footpath also passes several good inns as it crosses the Green Mountains. One cozy hotel is the Inn at Long Trail, a small lodge situated where the famous Vermont hiking path crosses Route 4 near Killington, Vermont. This unusual Killington hotel draws its décor from the outdoors: there are large boulders inside the inn itself! The inn offers special rates to hikers completing the entire Long Trail or Appalachian Trail.
There are also several good Vermont hiking trails around Middlebury in the center of the state. One good, short path for hiking in Vermont begins on Route 73 at Brandon Gap and climbs steeply up Mount Horrid. Another good place for hiking in Vermont is Mount Mansfield State Forest and Little River State Park near Stowe Vermont. One trail in the park reaches the site where a Civilian Conservation Corps unit was stationed in the 1930s.
You don’t have to be in the Vermont wilderness to find some great Vermont hiking trails. A 9-mile path along Lake Champlain begins in downtown Burlington Vermont.
The Long Trail and many other Vermont hiking trails are maintained by the Green Mountain Club. The club headquarters in Waterbury is a good place to pick guides and maps to the extensive networks of Vermont hiking trails.