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

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.
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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.

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 Facts

  • Distance: 41.4

Waypoints

LNG136

Location: 44.430768, -72.876227

Enjoy the morning view from an overlook by Buchanan Shelter and then continue hiking northeast on the LT. Ahead, the trail passes another overlook (the Harrington viewpoint). Ahead, the LT makes an ascent to Bolton Mountain over a rugged up-and-down route.

LNG137

Location: 44.44275, -72.84354

Near a saddle below Bolton, continue on the LT past the Ravens Wind Trail. Ahead the LT climbs steeply to the Bolton summit before descending off the east face on a beautiful ridgeline towards the wooded summit of Mount Mayo.

LNG138

Location: 44.453694, -72.8388203

The LT descends a steep rooty and rocky descent past the Puffer Shelter.

LNG139

Location: 44.4849167, -72.8273815

The LT passes a junction to the Taylor Lodge and then jogs back northwest to continue past Nebraska Notch.

LNG140

Location: 44.4867038, -72.8333508

The LT passes a junction with the Clara Bow trail. Ahead the trail crosses then parallels Clay Brook (and its beaver dams).

LNG141

Location: 44.4886385, -72.8366589

Pass a junction with the Nebraska Notch trail; ahead the LT skirts the western slopes of Dewey Mountain.

LNG142

Location: 44.5025061, -72.828335

Pass the Twin Brooks tenting area. From here, the 3.4-mile climb to Mansfield begins at a gradual grade.

LNG143

Location: 44.5137816, -72.8194895

Pass a junction to the Butler Lodge and a bad weather Forehead Bypass to the Mansfield summit. From here the route to Mansfield becomes much steeper with rocky corners to clamber around, high exposure, and several trail ladders.

LNG144

Location: 44.5151186, -72.817565

Pass a junction with the Wampahoofus Trail; ahead continue climbing steeply to the Forehead.

LNG145

Location: 44.520565, -72.8188552

Reach the top of the Forehead, Mount Mansfield's southernmost peak. Here also, the route meets the Wampahoofus Trail.

LNG146

Location: 44.5248347, -72.8163598

Continue north bearing left on an access road (the Mount Mansfield Summit Station is to the right). Shortly ahead the trail heads back into the woods on the right towards the Visitors Center.

LNG147

Location: 44.5279287, -72.8156167

Continue north past the Mount Mansfield Visitor Center. From here, continue north along the open spine of the ridge as the LT climbs a few more hundred feet to the true summit of Mansfield. The LT passes the Halfway House trail here (which descends through Underhill State Park).

Ahead, take care to stay off the alpine tundra that dots the open rock trail.

LNG148

Location: 44.5296676, -72.8171967

Pass the North Canyon trail.

LNG149

Location: 44.5353889, -72.8176636

Pass the Subway Trail and continue north.

LNG150

Location: 44.5439334, -72.8146362

Mount Mansfield (4,395): At the highest point on the Long Trail, views expand in every direction. Look east to Mount Washington and other White Mountain peaks, west to Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, and south over the ridge of Green Mountain peaks the LT has already scaled. Closer in to the northeast, spot the "Adams Apple," a neighboring peak of the Mansfield summit (sometimes called "The Chin"). The LT continues in that direction.

At this point, the route scrambles down an extremely exposed section to the junction with the Hell Brook Trail.

LNG151

Location: 44.5456193, -72.8117658

Pass the junction with the Hell Brook Trail and continue descending Mansfield's eastern slopes.

LNG152

Location: 44.5430807, -72.8099839

Pass the turn off for the Taft Lodge.

LNG153

Location: 44.537204, -72.7908182

At VT-108, turn left and head north on the road a short distance to a Smuggler's Notch parking area (on right).

LNG154

Location: 44.5394728, -72.791258

The LT re-enters the woods heading southeast before jogging back north to begin a steep, relentless, 1,600-foot climb up Spruce Peak and then continuing on up Madonna Peak.

LNG155

Location: 44.553272, -72.792588

Above Smugglers Notch, The LT swings east around the upper contours of Spruce Peak. Here the trail passes a junction to the Elephant Head Lookout (closed during Peregrine Falcon mating season).

LNG156

Location: 44.5523082, -72.7811692

Turn left at a junction with the Smugglers Notch ski trail.

LNG157

Location: 44.5556111, -72.7779579

Continue straight past the junction with the Sterling Pond Trail; the LT skirts the pond just ahead.

LNG158

Location: 44.5568918, -72.7727788

Pass the Sterling Pond shelter. Ahead, the LT crosses a ski trail as it scales the western slopes of Madonna Peak.

LNG159

Location: 44.5615245, -72.7586959

Reach the warming hut at the top of Smugglers Notch Resort (also the summit of Madonna Peak). Continue heading east/northeast on the Chilcoot Ski Trail.

LNG160

Location: 44.559301, -72.7598548

Turn left on the ski trail to continue up to Madonna Peak.

LNG161

Location: 44.5635997, -72.7561838

Here the LT leaves the ski trail and heads north into the woods on a descent to Chilcoot Pass. Ahead the route crosses the ski trail one more time before reaching the pass and then climbing Morse Mountain.

LNG162

Location: 44.5738071, -72.7527537

Below the summit of Morse Mountain, come to the Hagerman Overlook of Mount Mansfield (back southwest).

LNG163

Location: 44.5788018, -72.7409027

The LT comes to the Whiteface Shelter before turning left up a steep 200-foot climb of Whiteface Mountain (the last ascent of the section).

LNG164

Location: 44.5823557, -72.7400244

At the wooded summit of Whiteface a spur trail leads to a few viewpoints. The LT continues northwest, descending from the summit before curling east to continue downhill.

LNG165

Location: 44.6033765, -72.7175264

Pass the Bear Hollow shelter; from here, the trail becomes a wide path.

LNG166

Location: 44.6209258, -72.7229498

Exit the woods and turn right onto the logging road (which becomes gravel ahead).

LNG167

Location: 44.6417163, -72.7216937

Just before reaching Ithiel Falls, turn left on the Rail Trail to head west.

LNG168

Location: 44.6428287, -72.7291068

Turn right to head north off the Rail Trail through an open field towards VT-15.

LNG169

Location: 44.6450305, -72.7282256

Section 10 ends at a parking area on VT-15.

View from Bolton Mountain

Location: 44.439742, -72.849337

Pausing at an overlook of the Green Mountains on the climb up Bolton Mountain.

Mansfield View

Location: 44.450119, -72.836661

Looking north to the exposed summit of Mount Mansfield

The Puffer Shelter

Location: 44.453901, -72.838892

Descending from Bolton

Location: 44.454902, -72.838921

The LT gets burly in Section 10

Across the Saddle

Location: 44.457644, -72.837354

Crossing the saddle between Bolton Mountain and Mount Mayo

Descending Mayo

Location: 44.462715, -72.838499

Views north through the trees on the way down Mount Mayo

Trail Ladder

Location: 44.4784419, -72.8362656

Descending a trail ladder on the eastern face of Mount Clark

Beaver Pond Crossing

Location: 44.482851, -72.83476

Taylor Lodge

Location: 44.4849331, -72.8267384

Named for the founder of the Green Mountain Club, the Taylor Lodge offers thru-hikers a front porch with a view.

Crossing Clay Brook

Location: 44.486994, -72.835042

Up and up

Location: 44.515672, -72.817947

A trail ladder aids in the steep climb up the Forehead.

Above Treeline

Location: 44.5174, -72.817994

The LT enters above treeline terrain for an extended period on the route up Mount Mansfield.

The Forehead

Location: 44.521187, -72.818085

The southernmost peak of Mount Mansfield

Mount Mansfield Visitor Center

Location: 44.5279958, -72.8156662

Lake Champlain View

Location: 44.530111, -72.817339

Looking west over the Champlain Valley to its namesake body of water.

Exposed on Mansfield

Location: 44.537106, -72.817212

The approach to the true summit of Mansfield (the Chin) is wide open.

White Blazes on Mansfield

Location: 44.541757, -72.815734

Continue following white blazes painted onto the rocks atop Mount Mansfield. Ahead the LT skirts the Stowe Mountain ski area on the descent down to Mountain Road/VT-108.

The Exposed Summit

Location: 44.544872, -72.813876

Looking down the exposed summit of Mount Mansfield

Slippery When Wet

Location: 44.54432, -72.811

Trail Register

Location: 44.539036, -72.79072

Sterling Pond

Location: 44.556557, -72.776411

Ski Trail Hiking

Location: 44.561677, -72.758232

Chilcoot Pass

Location: 44.569812, -72.753457

Hagerman Overlook

Location: 44.5739003, -72.7526665

Looking back to Mount Mansfield

Sterling Pond Shelter Map

Location: 44.5567783, -72.7727079

Bear Hollow Shelter

Location: 44.6032406, -72.7171326

The Gravel Long Trail

Location: 44.629035, -72.724372

Rail Trail

Location: 44.641642, -72.722741