By Steve Hinchliffe
The Green Mountains run the length of Vermont and are a part of the Appalachian Mountains, which extend north through Canada. The Appalachian Trail is the world’s longest linear National Park and extends 2,150 miles from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Katahdin in Maine. Paralleling the Appalachian Trail for 100 miles is the Long Trail. The Long Trail follows the main ridge of the Green Mountains for more than 270 miles, from the Massachusetts line to the Canadian border. An additional 175 miles of side trails complete the 445-mile Long Trail system. The Long Trail was built between 1910 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club, and is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the country. One of the many day hikes in the area exposes visitors to both of these great treasures:The Long Trail/Appalachian Trail intersect Route 9 only 4.5 miles east of Bennington. Rated moderate in Green Mountain Club’s “50 Hikes in Vermont”, Harmon Hill starts with a steep ascent up a series of stone steps. After 1/2 mile, the trail levels out and continues through a combination of thick forest and open meadows. At its 2,325 foot summit, you will find views of the Bennington Monument, the Taconic Range, and Mount Anthony. The total distance is 3.7 miles and is best enjoyed during the summer and early fall.
Before venturing out on any hike, be sure to check with your local outfitter to be updated on trail conditions. Several excellent guide books are available and are a valuable tool before, during and after your hike. The proper clothing and equipment will help insure a pleasurable experience and memories to hold until your next visit to the Green Mountains.