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Long Trail (Section 10): Buchanan Shelter to VT 15

vt

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 25.7 miles


A 25.7-mile point-to-point across some of the toughest terrain in the Green Mountains, this Long Trail section scrambles up Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak.
  • View from Bolton Mountain
  • Mansfield View
  • The Puffer Shelter
  • Descending from Bolton
  • Across the Saddle
  • Descending Mayo
  • Trail Ladder
  • Beaver Pond Crossing
  • Taylor Lodge
  • Crossing Clay Brook
  • Up and up
  • Above Treeline
  • The Forehead
  • Mount Mansfield Visitor Center
  • Lake Champlain View
  • Exposed on Mansfield
  • White Blazes on Mansfield
  • The Exposed Summit
  • Slippery When Wet
  • Trail Register
  • Sterling Pond
  • Ski Trail Hiking
  • Chilcoot Pass
  • Hagerman Overlook
  • Sterling Pond Shelter Map
  • Bear Hollow Shelter
  • The Gravel Long Trail
  • Rail Trail

With over 9,500 feet of climbing and 11,000 feet of descending, the 25.7-mile route of section 10 is likely the most difficult of the entire Long Trail. The crux of the trek is the 5.8-mile, 2,600-foot climb up Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak.

Begin hiking from the Buchanan Shelter as the route picks up the climb to Bolton Mountain. The trek up Bolton, like most of the ascents of this section, is full of ups and downs and rarely a steady effort. From Bolton, descend a ridgeline to climb back over Mount Mayo and then skirt Mount Clark en route to the Taylor Lodge shelter, an advisable spot to pause for the evening before tackling Mansfield.

After a gradual climb from the Needles Eye saddle, the climb steepens at Butler Lodge (and a bad weather bypass option up to the Mansfield summit). Shortly ahead, the route emerges from treeline (where it will stay for 2.3 miles to the true summit). Scramble up to the Forehead (Mansfield’s southernmost peak) and then trek north on the ridge spine (where you’ll enjoy top-of-Vermont views) towards “The Chin,” the true summit of Mansfield.

Heading down from the summit, hunker down for a steep, 2,700-foot drop to VT 108. This stretch will likely take a toll on your knees and hips as you’ll scramble down boulders and root-strewn trail for over two miles. After crossing VT 108, the LT picks up another rough climb up the top of the Smugglers Notch and Stowe Ski resorts (and the summits of Spruce and Madonna Peak. The climbing tops out at the wooded summit of Whiteface Mountain before the final 6-mile, tough-on-the-joints descent to the section’s end at VT 15.

Shelters: Buchanan, Puffer, Taylor Lodge, Butler, Taft Lodge, Sterling Pond, Whiteface, Bear Hollow

-Mapped by Berne Broudy,
AuthenticOutdoors.com

MORE LONG TRAIL MAPS
Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4 | Section 5 | Section 6 | Section 7 | Section 8 | Section 9 | Section 10 | Section 11 | Section 12

Trail Reviews & Comments

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
TJD80
Apr 14, 2014

I did this in Sept. 2012 as part of my LT through hike. Agree that this was among the tougher sections. My Mansfield summit day was great weather -- 60s and clear -- and I stayed at Taft Lodge just under the Chin. I spent a couple hours blazing to reach the Lake in the Clouds, but couldn't get through! The descent to 108, climb up Spruce and Madonna, and climb of Whiteface the next day were in pouring rain in the 40s. I then spent the night at the top of Whiteface with some locals and their dog. One of the more fun nights I had out there.

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