The Long Trail Celebrates 100 Years
March 25, 2010
The first time I hiked the Long Trail was in 1979 during an elementary school class trip. We hiked on a cold autumn day to the summit of Bromley Mountain, a ski area in southern Vermont. I carried my lunch and a small camera in my backpack, and it turned out to be one of those field trips that I’ve always fondly remembered.
The Long Trail, the oldest long distance trail in the United States, is a 272-mile footpath that follows the main ridge of Vermont’s Green Mountains. It was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail, which coincides with it for about 100 miles. Built by the Green Mountain Club between 1910 and 1930, it crosses some of the state’s highest peaks, including Killington Peak, Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield.
Hiking season in Vermont generally runs from late May to mid-October, but this month marked an important occasion: the Green Mountain Club’s 100th anniversary. The organization was established on March 11, 1910 by a small group that soon began building the network’s first trail section on Mount Mansfield.
Within 20 years of that first meeting, the Long Trail would extend from the Vermont-Massachusetts state line to the Quebec border, and eventually include 175 miles of side trails and 70 backcountry campsites.