Get ready for a thrilling addition to the world of hiking! The Longest Hiking Trail in the USA, known for its captivating beauty and challenging routes, is set for a substantial extension. This expansion will link Vermont’s Long Trail with the Appalachian Trail, creating an epic hiking journey spanning about 4,600 miles, all the way to North Dakota. Let’s explore the details of this remarkable endeavor.
The North Country Trail: A Trail of Diversity
Although the North Country Trail may not be as famous as its counterparts like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, it has its unique charm. Stretching over 4,600 miles on the map, this trail guides hikers through diverse landscapes, offering a wide range of experiences. However, it’s essential to note that only about half of this extensive trail consists of traditional hiking paths. The rest involves road sections, providing a different kind of adventure.
This trail meanders through farmlands, rolls across the hills of New York’s Finger Lakes region, and leads hikers along canal towpaths. Unlike traditional trails that follow geographic features or ecosystems, the North Country Trail immerses travelers in the rich tapestry of the North Country’s culture and its history of resilience and resourcefulness.
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Bridging the Gap: Connecting to the Long Trail
The latest extension of the North Country Trail aims to bridge a gap in the system. Currently, the trail’s eastern endpoint is in Crown Point, New York. However, the route to connect it with Vermont’s Long Trail is yet to be finalized. It is expected to cover approximately 40 miles, leading hikers through the picturesque landscapes of Addison County, Vermont, and eventually into the rugged mountains, most likely intersecting with the Long Trail amidst the scenic farm fields of Weybridge.
A Collaborative Effort
Building this new trail extension is a collaborative effort involving multiple organizations and agencies. The North Country Trail Association, based in Michigan, is spearheading the project. The Association is working closely with the National Park Service, Vermont’s Green Mountain Club, and other stakeholders to ensure the successful creation of this trail.
The envisioned path will extend east from Middlebury, Vermont, eventually meeting the Long Trail somewhere in the eastern mountains. From there, the North Country Trail and the Long Trail will run concurrently for about 25 miles south, culminating in Killington. At Killington, hikers can choose to continue east along the Appalachian Trail, venturing into New Hampshire and Maine.
The Significance of the Connection
Extending the eastern terminus of the North Country Trail to link with the Appalachian Trail marks the connection of two significant national trail systems. This union will create an unprecedented opportunity for hikers to embark on an epic journey through the heart of America, exploring diverse landscapes and cultures along the way.
A Trail of Patience and Passion
Bringing this ambitious project to fruition is no small feat. It may take years of planning, approvals, and construction before hikers can witness the shield-shaped markers of the North Country Trail extending across Vermont’s agricultural heartland. However, for those dedicated to this trail’s vision, it’s a labor of love—a commitment to connecting people across the North Country and sharing their collective experiences.
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