Packing over 8,000 feet of climbing and descending into 22.5 miles, the 9th division of the Long Trail is one of the toughest for thru-hikers. Start from Birch Glen Camp and hike northwest to begin the 8-mile haul to the crux of the hike, the Camels Hump summit.
After passing Cowles Cove shelter, hunker down for a steep climb of Burnt Mountain, the first of four rugged challenges up to Camels Hump. After descending a trail ladder, the Long Trail continues climbing to skirt the summit of Mount Ira Allen; from there it’s a short grunt up to the summit of Mount Ethan Allen (where an overlook offers views east to the White Mountains).
From there, descend past the Montclair Glen Lodge to Wind Gap, and the start of the 1.4- mile, 1,300-foot climb (a 17% grade!) up Camels Hump. Scramble up steep rock slab, navigate exposed sidehill sections, and use occasional hand-over-hand moves to reach the summit (a bad-weather bypass is available via the Alpine Trail). From there, enjoy views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks (west), Mount Washington (east), and Mount Mansfield (north).
Heading down the Hump is not much easier; from the top, the LT begins a beautiful 4,000-foot ridgeline descent (passing the Bamforth Ridge shelter about halfway down)–this is one of the few sustained exposed stretches on the Long Trail. Reach Duxbury Road at the bottom and turn west for 3.6-mile walk to rejoin the LT north of the Winooski River outside Jonesville Vermont. End your day at the Duck Brook shelter or trudge on a bit further to make camp on the western slopes of Bolton Mountain at the Buchanan Shelter.
Shelters: Birch Glen Camp, Cowles Cove, Montclair Glen Lodge, Bamforth Ridge, Duckbrook, Buchanan
-Mapped by Berne Broudy, AuthenticOutdoors.com
MORE LONG TRAIL MAPS
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