Exhibit: The History of the Long Trail
“… to make the Vermont mountains play a larger
part in the life of the people.”
– mission of the Green Mountain Club since its founding
A Footpath in the Wilderness; the History of the Long Trail
On view now in the Calder Gallery
When James P. Taylor first advanced the idea of a wilderness hiking trail through Vermont’s Green Mountains, his vision was as expansive as the landscape itself. People would come to Vermont, fall in love with the trail and the mountains, and grow to love and support the state itself. To that end, he and twenty-two others founded the Green Mountain Club (GMC).
The newly-formed Green Mountain Club intended to build a hiking footpath from Massachusetts to Canada. Construction began in 1912, and the first completed section ran from Sterling Pond to Camel’s Hump. Over the next ten years, GMC members and other volunteers constructed an additional 209 miles and raised 44 trail shelters. In 1930, trailblazers cut the final link of the Long Trail from Jay Peak to the Canadian border.
Over the years, the trail underwent a series of reroutes in some areas to lift it from lower elevations to the high ridgeline. Work continues today to upgrade or relocate the trail to more suitable locations or onto conserved lands. Through all the trail changes, the experience of hiking on the Long Trail remains a timeless and meaningful endeavor.