Get out and hike, but be prepared!
Hiking is one of Vermont’s top summer tourism draws and the Green Mountain Club (GMC) estimates 200,000 people visit the Long Trail system each year. The official protectors and maintainers of the Long Trail, the 108-year-old Green Mountain Club is the premier Vermont hiking organization with numerous hiking guides and maps available to Vermonters and visitors alike.
New this hiking season, the mile-long Long Trail relocation in Smuggler’s Notch is open, featuring an accessible boardwalk, new parking area, and relocated trail that passes right by the historic Barnes Camp Visitor Center, open on weekends through the summer and staffed by dedicated volunteers.
From its rocky summits to gentle valleys, Vermont is home to hundreds of miles of hiking opportunities. This is a great time of year to get outside and enjoy a favorite hike or explore a new trail. Higher elevations may still have snow and muddy conditions, so please be prepared to walk through puddles and mud to avoid damaging the surrounding vegetation.
GMC offers a few tips for hikers:
• Plan ahead and let someone know where you will be hiking.
• Carry a map and know which trailhead you need to return to.
• Bring a warm extra layer as mountain tops are chilly year-round and Vermont’s weather can quickly change.
• Stay hydrated and bring food for long hikes.
• Bring rain gear; even an emergency poncho or garbage bag will help in a pinch.
• Carry out what you carry in and help protect Vermont’s special places.
The Vermont Department of Public Safety reminds hikers that they can find themselves trudging in snow and ice despite warm weather and green grass at the trailhead. Spring showers at lower elevations can turn into a wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain in the hills. Rain and melting snow can cause rapidly rising streams and challenging stream crossings. The long-lasting snowpack at higher elevations keeps the air temperature cool, soaks your boots and can make trails difficult to follow.
Waterproof boots (not sneakers) with traction devices, extra layers of warm clothes, a headlamp, map and compass might become necessary for a safe and successful hike. Consider turning around when you hit icy or snow-covered trails if you are not properly equipped, or if travel and route-finding becomes difficult.
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