FATMAP difficulty grade
Vermont's 273-mile Long Trail is the oldest of its kind in US.
It laid the foundation for other long hiking paths, particularly the iconic Appalachian Trail.
Since the MA/VT State Line, the AT and LT have followed a coaligned route along the main ridge of the Green Mountains.
A small gravel lot along US-4 denoted as the AT/LT Parking Lot serves as the southern terminus for this segment.
To the east on the road, a small post office and deli make popular destinations for thru-hikers to refuel before continuing their hike. Begin by crossing the road and hiking north on the trail.
After skirting around private property, the trail enters Willard Gap.
Here, the Long Trail continues north towards Canada, while the AT departs to the east en route for Maine.
A popular day hike is to continue north on the AT to Deer Leap Rock: a picturesque overlook and perfect hike for the entire family.
For a longer hike or excellent trail running route, pair the AT/LT with the Sherburne Pass Loop around Pico Mountain.
Near the summit, you can snag some phenomenal views of the valley below. The next 20 miles of the Long Trail becomes increasingly more rugged as the trail makes way to Brandon Gap.
As compared to segments to the south, the path narrows considerably and is much more rugged, rocky, and relentless.
You will pass four shelters, and even more opportunities for primitive camping.
There are no defined summits along this portion, but the trail teases hikers with some occasional views as it passes through saddles and contours high peaks. At VT-73, the trail crosses the road at Brandon Gap.
To the north, the Long Trail enters the Joseph Battell WIlderness.
According to wilderness.net, "the area is a rare ecological gem.
It contains many patches of large, mature northern hardwoods, the longest section of roadless and trailless ridgeline on the Green Mountain National Forest, and the headwaters of Bingo Brook, one of the most pristine, high-quality trout streams in Vermont." Nearly a half mile north of the gap, a short day hiking opportunity presents itself.
Known as The Great Cliff, a spur trail to an exposed rock outcropping provides some phenomenal views into the valley below. Further north, the Long Trail follows a ridgeline with four defined summits before a brief descent to a junction with the Sucker Brook Trail.
A nearby shelter makes for the last defined overnight opportunity.
Ahead, you're left with a relentless climb to Worth Mountain before meandering your way through the Middlebury Snowbowl to the trailhead along VT-125. Sources: https://www.backpacker.com/trips/long-trail-section-07-brandon-gap-to-cooley-glen https://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=689 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Trail https://www.backpacker.com/trips/long-trail-section-06-us-4-to-brandon-gap