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Long Trail (Section 08): Cooley Glen to Birch Glen

A true ridgeline trek in the Green Mountains, this 15-mile point-to-point section of the Long Trail skirts classic Vermont ski areas, offering far-off vistas and several overlooks.

Trip Tools

Starting from the Cooley Glen shelter, this 15.5-mile chunk of the Long Trail (only accessible by car at the Lincoln and Appalachian Gap midpoints), challenges hikers with rugged terrain but rewards with an epic Green Mountain experience. After a short climb to Mount Grant, take a pause to enjoy southward views across the Breadloaf Wilderness. Pick up a steady descent towards Lincoln Gap; 3.6 miles in, stop for a breather at the Sunset Ledge (which offers views to the west).
After crossing Lincoln Gap, hunker down for a steep 1.7-mile, 1,700-foot climb to the above-treeline summit of Mount Abraham; the final push to the top requires steep scrambling of rock slab (that can be very slick when wet). Heading north from “Abe,” use care to stay on trail so as to preserve sensitive alpine plants. Tracking along the ridgeline north, the LT skirts classic Vermont ski areas Sugarbush and Mad River Glen. Take a breather at the Stark’s Nest warming hut atop Mad River to enjoy the view (and the restored single chairlift). After a steep descent to Appalachian (“App”) Gap, the LT makes a final push up Molly Stark Mountain before descending to Birch Glen Camp.

Shelters: Cooley Glen, Battell, Glen Ellen, Theron Dean, Birch Glen

-Mapped by Berne Broudy,

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To Trailhead

Access @ Lincoln Gap: From Bristol, head E on VT-17 for 1.8 mi and turn R on Lincoln Rd. Continue on Lincoln/River/Lincoln Gap Rd for 8.1 mi to LT crossing. Access @ Appalachian Gap: From Brisol, go E on VT-17 for 3.5 mi, then turn R to continue on VT-17. Go another 9.6 mi to LT crossing.

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