Saturday, December 22, 2012

Long Trail Guide

The Green Mountain Club’s Long Trail Guide is the only book you’ll need if you are considering a hiking trip along Vermont’s Long Trail.

A long distance trail running from the Massachusetts/Vermont border north through Vermont to its border with Canada, the Long Trail follows the ridges of the Green Mountains for 270 miles.

The Details 

The Long Trail Guide provides a thorough and complete guide to the entire 270-mile length of the Long Path, in addition to descriptions of various side trails and also of the Appalachian Trail through Vermont (which shares portions of its trail with the Long Trail). The sections, or divisions as they are called in the book are broken down into discrete geographical units and are covered in order from south to north. The Trail travels through several gaps and crosses different roads, many of which are used here to break up the trail into manageable units in the book.

This kind of formatting makes it easy for hikers not looking to hike the entire trail, find trail sections that are in areas that they are interested in and also makes it easy to link up various divisions into longer hikes.

Each division of the trail is first generally introduced, and then each trail description goes into further detail and subdivisions of the Trail within the main division. Major features along the Trail are described; as are any steep sections, trail junctions, side trails and more. Time is also given for descriptions of the various side trails that the Long Trail encounters along its route. The descriptions are detail orientated and almost seem like they were written as someone was walking the trails. The descriptions for each subdivision also contain information on the vertical elevation you will be gaining and losing on the hike, the mileage for each subdivision and an estimated trip time for that portion of the Trail.

Detailed maps are provided in a separate map section and cover each of the divisions identified in the book. The maps are printed within the book and should you want to bring one with you, you’ll either need to tear it out, or copy it out of the book. There are also two pocket maps included with the Long Trail Guide - a Vermont map that shows the Long Trail (very little detail though) and maps of both the Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield areas.

In addition to the Trail description within the various divisions and the maps, the Long Trail Guide includes several other sections to aide Trail users. The sections include:

- An introduction and how-to for the book
- An overview of the Long Trail
- Guidelines for the use of the Trail
- Introduction to the Green Mountain Club
- Trail Management
- Natural History of the Green Mountains
- List of Post Offices and stores near the Trail
- List of Public Campgrounds near the trail
- Useful addresses
- Guide to additional reading

There is a well-built index in the back of the Long Trail Guide that should fulfill anyone’s needs when they are looking for information on various trail locations, shelters/campgrounds, and/or mountain peaks along the trail.

The book is fairly small (roughly 4x6 inches) and can easily be packed in your backpack. Because the maps are printed directly in the book – you’re more likely than not to be carrying the book with you on your hikes and its small size is a definite plus then.

Who Needs This Book 

Hikers interested in the Long Trail, any of its side trails, or the Appalachian Trail through Vermont would be well served by having a copy of the Long Trail Guide. The book is an excellent resource for both written trail descriptions and map information on these trails and should be a great starting point for anyone planning anything from a day-hike to a trek along the entire Long Trail’s length.

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