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
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