High Peaks of Vermont Backpacking Trip

Burlington, VT

Trip Highlights

  • Hike Vermont’s Long Trail
  • Backpack over Mount Mansfield
  • Summit Ski Area Peaks
  • Majestic Ponds & Rivers
  • Stay in a Long Trail Shelter
  • Point-to-point Thru-hike
  • Hike Above Treeline

Description

On this amazing Vermont backpacking adventure, we will trek on the Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the US, through the spectacular Green Mountains of Vermont. We will enjoy a thru-hike (so no backtracking!) that summits the state’s tallest mountain and earns us views from the peaks of several iconic ski areas. We will spend one night with a view of the stunning valley bellow Spruce Peak, and we’ll camp near majestic Sterling Pond. To top it all off, we will experience a night in a Long Trail Lodge on the shoulder of Mount Mansfield.

Join us for a backpacking adventure in the incredible mountains of Vermont! Call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your spot today.

Read more …
From
$1210 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 1-6 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 21MI / 34KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip features typical New England hiking with steep ascents over short distances with no switchbacks. Expect technical, broken terrain that will sometimes require you to use both hands going both up and down. Some peaks include significant scrambling over large boulders and some smooth rock slabs. Guests often need extra coaching and guidance to navigate these sections.

Hiking Distances:

4-7 miles

Backpack Weight:

35-45 pounds

Terrain:

Significantly Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 2195 feet

Heights Exposure:

Significant

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF THIS TRIP

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on significantly rugged terrain
* For an official and complete list of physical requirements, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Vermont backpacking trip a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Drive Time: 55 min
  • Hiking Mileage: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft

On this iconic Northeast backpacking adventure, we begin in Burlington and drive through rural Vermont to our starting trailhead. Our hike starts in lush Vermont deciduous forests full of maple, beech, and birch trees. Today is a relatively light day to get our legs warmed up for the next three days. Our hike takes us up 1,400 feet with some great views of the mountains and a unique cave, which requires negotiating a ladder.  Shortly after the cave, we join Vermont’s famous Long Trail. We’ll set up camp at an established tent site and enjoy the quiet forest with a delicious dinner cooked by your guide.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,195 ft
  • Elevation Loss: 750 ft

Today we’ll enjoy a tasty breakfast, then break camp and head out on the trail for a low mileage but rugged day summiting Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak! As we ascend the mountain we will quickly leave the trees behind and transition to rocky footing and over a mile of hiking above the tree line. Hiking above the tree line anywhere is a treat, but in the Northeast, it’s truly amazing. We’ll take some time to relax and enjoy the panoramic views stretching from New Hampshire’s White Mountains to New York’s Adirondacks. Your guide will prepare a picnic lunch before the group descends from the peak to the Long Trail’s Taft Lodge where we will spend the night. The historic Taft Lodge was built in 1920 and rebuilt in 1996. It is a rustic cabin with communal accommodations, similar to backcountry huts. There is often time on this day to relax at the lodge, or explore the area surrounding it, in the afternoon. We’ll cap today off with another guide-prepared, backcountry meal at the lodge.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,400 ft
  • Elevation Loss: 2,050 ft

This day begins with a long descent of Mount Mansfield into Smugglers’ Notch. After crossing the road in the Notch, we will begin our climb up Spruce Peak, another iconic Vermont summit, and the top of a winter ski lift. After ascending through lush forests, we’ll opt for a descent to a steep but beautiful vista, looking back through the notch. Then we’ll summit Spruce Peak and enjoy more dramatic Vermont views. We will wrap up today after descending from the peak and reaching majestic Sterling Pond, where we can enjoy the views from the lake and out over the valley. We will camp at a site nearby and enjoy a final, delicious backcountry dinner.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft
  • Elevation Loss: 1,600 ft
  • Drive Time: 75 min

Although today is our descent out of the mountains, our climbing isn’t quite done yet! From camp we’ll descend gently for about half a mile before ascending nearly a mile to the top of Madonna Mountain. This is a great place for a snack and to enjoy the “view of the day” from a rocky outcropping above the ski lift. We’ll continue on the Long Trail as we make our way down from the mountains. The last part of our hike out descends gently on a meadow trail to our finishing trailhead. Our shuttle will be waiting, and will take us to Burlington for drop-off at the hotel of your choice. What a week it’s been!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Burlington, Vermont to the hike and back
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group at the Best Western Windjammer Hotel in Burlington, Vermont for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. We’re happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you’re not staying at the Windjammer. Your guide will then pick you up the next morning for transport to the trailhead.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 6:30 and 8:30 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Camping

2 Nights

Sleeping for two nights on this trip are in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Taft Lodge

1 Night

The historic Taft Lodge is a wonderful, rustic backcountry shelter. It was originally built in 1920, but completely rebuilt in 1996. It has charming mountain creeks flowing nearby and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. It is a communal shelter in which we use our own sleeping pads and sleeping bags. We recommend having ear plugs for tonights’ stay in case of snoring (it does have lodge keeper and designated quiet time.)

Trip Reviews

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