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Anyone with experience with the Long Trail?
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Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Anyone with experience with the Long Trail? on 08/05/2009 14:39:45 MDT Print View

My wife is going to be hiking the Long Trail north to south and has been getting conflicting advice from people regarding what type of mileage she can expect to cover. She is a triple crowner, has hiked over 10,000 miles and is UL. She hiked 20 mpd on the AT (before she was UL), 25-30 mpd on the PCT and CDT.

Is there anyone here who has thru-hiked the LT as well as hiked similiar mileages on the AT, PCT or CDT as she did? Can you give estimates on what your mileages were on the northern (non-AT) and southern (AT) sections of the LT?

Her concern is that she doesn't want to be told that it is harder than it really is by hikers who exaggerate and end up carrying more food than she needs and finish too early (she is planning on 18 days total thus far which I think is 15s on the northern section and 20s on the southern section). Thanks.

P.S. Shameless plug: If anyone cares to follow her progress, or read her past journals (all entertaining), check out "Buddha" under

Edited by on 08/05/2009 14:49:48 MDT.

Ryan Linn

Locale: Maine!
Re: Anyone with experience with the Long Trail? on 08/05/2009 17:24:00 MDT Print View

If she's got that much mileage already, I doubt she will have any trouble doing 15 mpd up north and 20 in the south. Or 20 mpd up north.

The northern half of the LT is comparable to the section of the AT in Maine (without the few flat parts). I haven't hiked the entire thing, but nothing so far has suggested to me that it is any harder than the Mahoosucs or further north. A lot of people close to the LT like to brag about how hard the northern half is, but I think that's because they like to hold that over the AT hikers who breeze through the Vermont section without any trouble besides the mud.

True, the north is more challenging and (I think) more rewarding than the south, but it's not going to destroy seasoned hikers. If you're in good shape and used to 20 mile days, you can do that.

Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
Long Trail on 08/05/2009 17:31:11 MDT Print View

Well, the first 100 miles of the LT is also the AT (Mass Border to Rte. 4 (Killington-- Rutland) That is the section where 20 mile days would be the easiest. 12-14 would be a good average. Most spend about 30 days. Like the AT there are lots of road crossings and plenty of places for food drops or leaving the trail. North of Mansfield is where the trail starts to become more remote, but even there it passes through towns. The trail is similar to the Whites of NH. Do not underestimate. It passes over all the 4000 footers in VT. Steepness often depends on the time of day. What does not seem steep in the morning can seem like a long way up at the end of the day.

I once passed a hiker at the end of the day who said, "You are almost there". I knew I had at least 2 miles to go. It is all relative. Hikers who have done both the PCT and AT told me that the AT was tougher. To me, they are just different.

I have hiked the LT end-to-end. I hiked it in three 100 mile sections, 10 days or so each hike over three summers. It is a beautiful trail and you should meet some great people along the way. I met some who had hiked it in both directions. One guy who was in a buoyant mood told me he had reached Canada, turned around and started hiking south. No matter which way you hike it, "It is all uphill!" Hike your own hike. Enjoy.

Here is a new forum devoted to the Long Trail:

PS When the trail crosses roads or "Gaps" check the contours. There is often a steep downhill followed by a steep up on the other side. I imagine hikers say the east can be tougher than the west is because the steep ups and downs are much closer together.

Edited by rambler on 08/05/2009 17:39:24 MDT.

Zack Karas
( - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Long Trail daily mileages on 08/05/2009 18:01:37 MDT Print View

She heard that the northern section is similar to the Mahoosucs, where she averaged 20 mpd.

While we both think that mile for mile the AT is physically harder than the PCT and CDT, it is easier in every other regard--more water, less distance between resupply, has shelters every 8-10 miles, is (usually) clearly marked and maintained, etc. These examples, I think, help to make the difficult terrain less taxing overall on the body and therefore potentially increase daily mileages.

To us, 2 miles to go is "you're almost there":-)

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
RE: Long Trail on 08/05/2009 18:53:53 MDT Print View

"end up carrying more food than she needs" There are frequent opportunities to resupply. I think that has the info on towns, grocery stores, etc.

Be warned that if she is going soon, it has been very wet and cool in New England this summer. Be prepared to get muddy.

I may be out there myself if it ever stops raining.

Michael Tallon
(CouchingLion) - MLife

Locale: Upstate New York
Re: Anyone with experience with the Long Trail? on 09/21/2009 19:13:17 MDT Print View

I thru hiked the LT in 1996 and I hiked the JMT in 2008.
The 18 days is a good estimate given the mpd northern and 20 mpd southern. While there always is exagerration, this is a tough, rocky and up and down trail given its following the spine of the the low altitude Greens.

Mike Tallon