Terrain By State: Vermont
Between the Connecticut River and the Green Mountains, the Appalachian Trail passes through high, rugged country with woods and overgrown farmlands. From "Maine Junction" (near U.S. 4) south, the A.T. follows about one hundred miles of the famed “Long Trail” along the rugged crest of the Green Mountains.
The Trail approaches treeline at Killington and Stratton mountains, and parts feature strenuous ascents. But, in general, Vermont hiking crosses varied terrain, at lower to mid-range elevations with a fair amount of elevation gain and loss. It passes through forests of paper birch and white pine, wooded mountains, and farm valleys. Some overnight sites charge a fee.
Avoid Vermont trails in "mud season," mid-April through Memorial Day. Hiking there in wet, sloppy conditions leads to serious Trail erosion. Organized groups can reduce their chances of arriving at already-crowded sites by contacting the local trail clubs about group voluntary registration programs.
Difficulty Ratings for A.T. Sections
Because the A.T. spans a great variety of terrain, ranging from relatively flat and easy, to extremely difficult, the following scale was created as a general guide:
1 = Flat and smooth
2 = Flat terrain but uneven treadway, or slight elevation change
3 = Moderate elevation change, but well graded trail, or flat trail with very rough treadway
4 = Strenuous climbs, but of moderate duration, or short but steep climbs
5 = Lengthy graded climbs, alternating with easier sections
6 = Extended climbs that may last hours or shorter climbs with difficult footing
7 = Includes rock scrambling that is relatively easy and of short duration
8 = Includes rock scrambling that is somewhat challenging
9 = Rock scrambling that is difficult and extended
10 = Use of hands required for extended periods of climbing, footing precarious, and leaping may be required — not recommended for those with fear of heights and not in good physical condition. Shorter hikers may be at a disadvantage