The longest journey begins with a single step.
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
Vermont offers a wide variety of terrain ideal for hiking. There are 5 mountain summits over 4,000 feet in elevation, and multiple other peaks, viewpoints, ridges and scenic areas for all ability levels. Higher elevations in the heart of the Green Mountains can be rugged and remote, so proper preparation is a must.
Before you set out, it's always advisable to consult a topographic map so you'll be familiar with the type of terrain you'll encounter. You can find these maps in local outdoor stores, bookstores and online. The Green Mountain Club publishes a guide to the Long Trail and an excellent Day Hikers Guide. Also check out the Vermont Forest Parks and Recreation list of free trail maps.
Venturing Into the Alpine Zone:
Hiking Above Treeline
The land above treeline is some of the most beautiful, sensitive and potentially dangerous areas in the Green Mountains.
The unspoiled beautiful terrain above treeline can become a very unforgiving place when the winds rage and temperatures drop. Weather can change quickly, and shelter is limited. Be prepared for harsh weather. Fog or blowing snow can be very disorienting and make route finding difficult. Have good map and compass skills and the proper clothing.
Although rugged and wild feeling, this area can be fragile and easily damaged. Some alpine flowers can take up to 25 years to flower for the first time - and one hiker's boot print can destroy that plant forever.
When hiking above treeline:
- Please: Don't be a tundra trampler! Stay on the trail or step carefully from rock to rock, avoiding any plants.
- Never pick any flower or plant above treeline.
- Camp below treeline.
- Plan extra time for an above treeline hike to deal with unforeseen problems. Be aware of incoming weather and be prepared to seek shelter below treeline out of the wind.
- Have good map and compass skills and the proper clothing.