Vermont Self Guided Hiking Details

A to-the-door and from-the-door hike is available for two days of any self-guided hiking itinerary.  Between any of our five inns in Brandon village, the Art & Soul of Vermont, and Blueberry Hill Inn, the trail is 9 miles through the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest, and car shuttling is included in your package.  Another 8 mile day from the door of Blueberry Hill in the opposite direction leads almost to the door of Chipman Inn (and again, car shuttling enables you to finish the distance from trail’s end to front door).  Please click here for a detailed discussion of this popular itinerary.  Other than The “Moosalamoo Traverse”, the inns are too far apart, or trailheads too remote, for door-to-door hiking, and you’ll need a car to participate in the included innkeeper-assisted shuttling service for your inn to inn trip, whether you choose day hiking or Long Trail segments.

Explain this car shuttle thing to me one more time, please?

A version of this video captioned for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers is available at this link 

There are really four ways your hike can work each day, depending on the inn and the trail you’ve chosen:

1  For to the door hikes:  Stow your luggage in your car after breakfast.  The innkeeper who served your breakfast will take care of your hiking logistics for that day.  Collect your trail lunch and map, fill up your water bottles, visit the necessary one last time, and head out the door to make the car shuttle:  Follow him in your car as he drives his car by road to the next inn.  Leave your car and luggage there.  Your breakfast innkeeper then drives (“shuttles”) you to a trailhead of your choosing to hike one-way to the door of the next inn.  You are independent on the trails during the day with a detailed map.  Arrive by foot at the next inn, where your car and luggage are waiting, and enjoy time to relax before dinner.

2  For loop hikes:  Stow your luggage in your car after breakfast.  The innkeeper who served your breakfast will take care of your hiking logistics for that day.  Collect your trail lunch and map, fill up your water bottles, visit the necessary one last time, and drive from the inn to your trailhead.  You are independent during the day with a detailed map.  At the end of your hike, you meet your car at the trailhead, and drive the short distance to your next inn, and enjoy time to relax before dinner.

3  For one-way hikes:  Stow your luggage in your car after breakfast.  The innkeeper who served your breakfast will take care of your hiking logistics for that day.  Collect your trail lunch and map, fill up your water bottles, visit the necessary one last time, and the innkeeper drives you in his car from the inn to your trailhead.  You are independent during the day with a detailed map.  At the end of your hike, you meet your car at the inn you had breakfast at, drive the short distance to your next inn, and enjoy time to relax before dinner.

4  For Long Trail segments:  Stow your luggage in your car after breakfast.  The innkeeper who served your breakfast will take care of your hiking logistics for that day.  Collect your trail lunch and map, fill up your water bottles, visit the necessary one last time, then follow him in your car as he drives his car to the trail’s end.  Leave your locked car and luggage there.  Your breakfast innkeeper then drives (“shuttles”) you back to the trailhead.  You are independent during the day with a detailed map.  At the end of your hike, you meet your car at the trail’s end, drive the short distance to your next inn, and enjoy time to relax before dinner.

So tell me more about this Long Trail of yours.

Our inns are convenient to Vermont’s Long Trail as well as its many side systems and other enjoyable hiking options.  The Long Trail, Vermont’s famous 250-mile footpath in the wilderness, is in a remote location along the main ridgeline of the Green Mountains.  The words of one of our earliest brochures from the 1970’s are still true today:  “The Long Trail is classified as a wilderness trail and is by turns steep, boggy, and difficult … the Trail is forested, within the treeline of the Green Mountains, and offers limited views.  Less monotonous and more rewarding hikes can be taken within its side systems, with options for waterfalls, hidden lakes, stunning vistas, historical and cultural highlights, steep but short hikes to mountain overlooks, and so forth. These trails have the advantage of being located closer to our inns in many cases.”  While the Long Trail holds attraction for serious hikers, more casual hikers and walkers will wish to consider day-hiking from our inns on the LT’s scenic side trails, even if challenging hiking is desired.

If you are a Long Trail purist and wish to hike several segments of the LT inn-to-inn, do not despair!  The use of the car shuttle will enable you to hike as much of the Long Trail as you wish each day.  Generally you will drive to the ending point of your daily itinerary, leave your car there, and the innkeeper with whom you had breakfast will shuttle you back to the trailhead.  This allows you to select the length and difficulty of each day’s hike, and gives you use of your car each night, to drive the short distance to your next inn.  Car shuttling is also available to self-guided hikers choosing other trails that do not offer a loop option.

This excellent post-trip report gives a candid and unbiased assessment of the Long Trail’s features by a pair of through-hikers from California who did the entire trail in the autumn of 2013 (not through Inn to Inn).  For reference, the inns in our network would allow you to hike Divisions 5, 6, 7, and 8 of the 12-division Long Trail, so about the middle third.  This means it is neither the easier southern third where Appalachian Trail management ethos prevails, nor the more rugged and intentionally-neglected northern third from Camel’s Hump to Canada.

I want to be in Vermont to see the trees turn during foliage season.  When is peak foliage?

Rich carpet of scarlet maple leavesThe first Tuesday after the October full moon between 10:15 and 11:45 AM.

Just kidding, Leaf Peeper!  It is impossible to know when the leaves will start to change color, when the foliage will be at its peak, or how long the foliage season will last.  The last week of September and first two weeks of October are generally considered peak foliage for most of our inns.  The State of Vermont has an excellent foliage forecaster here; most of our inns are in the second and third counties from the south on the west side of the state.  The color generally comes earlier in the north than in the south, and to higher elevations before lower elevations.  Don’t try to finesse it too much, just plan your trip for that general timeframe:  the state is so small you’re never really too far from spectacular color.  And it’s worth seeing.