Long Trail Hiking: Trail Maps
The Long Trail has blazes – markings painted on trees or signs – to help you find your way. Blazes for the Long Trail are white, and side trails have blue blazes [source: Green Mountain Club]. You can most likely follow blazes and signs on a shorter hike, but for any kind of distance hiking, you'll want a trail map on hand.
Your best option is probably purchasing the Green Mountain Club's waterproof trail map. It's only $10 and has information not just on trails and landmarks but also on elevation and shelters. The proceeds benefit the Green Mountain Club which maintains the trail. If you're going to be doing a lot of Long Trail hiking, you can also become a member of the Green Mountain Club. Membership starts at $40 for individuals, and Green Mountain Club members get a 10 percent discount on items in their store, including their maps.
There are also a couple of free resources for maps that you can use instead:
- Postholer.com – At Postholer, you can check out a map of the Long Trail as well as many other popular hiking trails. The interactive map not only shows the route, but also topography and satellite views and you can zoom in on the areas where you're planning to hike and look for important landmarks like mail drops.
- Backpacker – If you want to find routes by distance and difficulty, this is the site for you. You can choose any section of the trail you like, and it includes an interactive map where you can zoom in and examine your route in detail.
Just remember that not all of the Long Trail has cell coverage, so you don't want to rely on your smart phone or the Internet alone for your map. Make sure you have a physical copy, so you'll always know where you are and where you're heading. For longer hikes you might want to invest in a handheld satellite GPS to help you find your way if you get turned around in the woods.