As the summer winds down, it’s time for an exciting way to spend those last sunny and warm days. Whether you are hiking or biking, New England offers many trails for end-of-summer fun. Grab your map, load your car with your equipment and don’t forget the sunscreen and food – it’s going to be a good time!
There’s no better way to experience the region’s landscape; whether you explore remote areas or something more civilized, you’ll get a great experience. Here are some ideas on where to go.
Hands down, the must-hike trail of the whole region is the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Scenic Trail, “A.T.” for short), runs 2,175 miles, from Maine to Georgia – talk about hiking! On the New England portion of the trail, you’re taken through some very scenic wilderness.
Maine’s portion of the trail, 281 miles, is considered to be the most difficult of all. These 281 miles are divided into three segments – eastern, central and western. The eastern section (between Mount Katahdin and Monson) is called “the Hundred Miles” and features mountains, ponds, forests and lakes. Its mountains are low, but rugged, and stream crossings can be tricky in high water. The central section (between Monson and Bigelow Preserve) offers the least strenuous hiking of the sections and crosses the widest unbridged river of the trail, the Kennebec (there’s free canoe service for A.T. hikers). The western section is considered the hardest portion of the entire A.T. with very steep 4,000-foot mountains and the mile-long boulder scramble of Mahoosuc Notch.
The A.T. continues into New Hampshire, giving you the opportunity to explore the rugged White Mountains and their beautiful scenery. Most of the trail here is above timberline and temperatures can change quickly (it can snow in any season!). This White Mountain portion is 117 miles long, from the New Hampshire/Maine state line to Glencliff. Before reaching the Vermont border, the trail becomes a 44-mile stretch of alternating valleys and mountains.
In Vermont, the trail runs 150 miles through rugged country and overgrown farmland between the Connecticut River and the Green Mountains. It then continues through Killington and Stratton Mountains. The Vermont portion of the A.T. features varied terrain. You’ll go through forests, wooded mountains and valleys.
For the next 90 miles, the Appalachian Trail takes you through Massachusetts’ Berkshires, which provide stretches of valleys and hills. Notable peaks on this portion of the trail include Mount Everett and Mount Greylock. In addition, the trail takes you through small New England towns. Thanks to the summits and ledges, you will have amazing views.
The final New England portion of the trail lies in Connecticut, in the northwestern corner of the state. Along the 52-mile segment, you’ll pass through the Taconic Range and Housatonic River Valley. Most of Connecticut’s segments run along riverbanks and the hiking is at a moderate level.
More information about the Appalachian Trail can be found by visiting www.appalachiantrail.org.