Many wonderful walks and hikes for all ability levels are found in Vermont’s Green Mountains, Lake Champlain and its islands, and throughout the state’s towns and valleys. Below, read through Resources and Preparing to Walk and then being to search at Listings Below for the right walk for you, your family, and children. Listings include difficult, moderate, and easy walks as well as in-town strolls.
The 272-mile Long Trail was the first long distance hiking trail in America. It was built in 1910 by the Green Mountain Club, which still maintains the Trail. The Long Trail has many sections appropriate for beginner, average, and expert hikers, families, kids, and older folks. Trails are rated as easy, moderate, and difficult, and by length and other factors.
The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to Canada and crosses peaks of Stratton Mountain, Mount Mansfield, Jay Peak, and Camels Hump. It has a side trail into the state’s Northeast Kingdom. It coincides with the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles in the southern third of the state.
The Green Mountain Club operates a visitor center on Route 100 in Waterbury Center. It publishes trail guides and other useful information on the Internet and in print.
The Long Trail Guide
is the official guide to the Long Trail and its side trails. The guide and Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont
, which includes trails outside the Long Trail System, cover most of the hiking trails in Vermont.
The visitor center in Waterbury Center provides guests with hiker information, merchandise, access to the Short Trail through the woods, a picnic area, toilets, and spectacular views.
The Long Trail is 272 miles long with 175 miles of side trails and 70 primitive shelters. It includes easy, moderate, and difficult trails, and walks for kids. The Green Mountain Club asks walkers to use Leave-No-Trace etiquette, meaning carry in and carry out all belongings.
The Cross Vermont Trail will be a 90-mile path connecting towns across Vermont from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River. Thirty miles of the trail are built and open to the public. It is expected to be a a multi-use (walkers, bicycles, cross-country skis), four-season path across following the Winooski River and Wells River valleys.
Maps and guides
to the trail are posted online. Maps are detailed and excellent. Existing parts of the trail go near Wells River, Newbury, Ryegate, Groton, Marshfield, Plainfield, East Montpelier, Montpelier, Middlesex, Berlin, Moretown, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Richmond, Williston, and Burlington.
Preparing to Walk
• Always take a map and a compass.
• Mountain weather changes quickly! Check the weather forecast before you start. Be aware of changes in weather. If a storm is coming, get off the summit.
• Weather at the peaks is colder, windier, and wetter. Dress with a layer close to your body for wicking sweat away from your skin, then a layer like fleece for warmth, and a layer like a nylon shell or Gore-Tex to block the wind.
• Wear sturdy hiking boots and good socks. If your boots are new, start with short hikes.
• Always take more liquid than you think you’ll need. Always take food like power bars, string cheese, bananas, raisins, nuts, M&Ms.
• Your pack should also have a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a pocketknife, and a whistle.
On the Trail
• Treat all water by boiling, filtering, or chemically treating.
• Carry out all of your trash (including biodegradable items like orange peels).
• Use the privy if the site has one. Otherwise, dispose of human and pet waste in a "cat hole" at least 75 paces away from the water sources.
• Give wild animals plenty of room.
• Build a fire only in an established fire pit.
• If you’re staying overnight, use the lodges or the designated tenting sites.