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  • Long Trail Founded by VA Faculty Member

    Former VA teacher and Assistant Headmaster, James P. Taylor, 1908-1912, began his crusade in 1909 to open up Vermont's mountains and woodlands. He was inspired by a difficult trip with VA students up a washed-out road to Killington and an attempt to climb Pico Peak, only to be turned back by impenetrable brush. By 1910, he and 23 supporters organized the Green Mountain Club "to make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people." The construction of the trail took over 20 years and hundreds of people were involved in its creation. It is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States and spans the entire length of Vermont, following the spine of the Green Mountain range from south to north, stretching 275 miles total. Taylor is also credited with founding the country's longest-standing Winter Carnival, which he started at Vermont Academy in 1909.

    With James Taylor taking the first step in 1910, Vermont Academy has continued to this day utilizing the Long Trail as a venue for students and teachers alike to connect with Vermont’s natural world.

Meet the Team

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Nate Williams

    Mr. Nate Williams 

    Science Faculty / Director of Outdoor Programs
    Castleton State College - MA
    Castleton University - BS
  • Photo of Christine Armiger

    Ms. Christine Armiger 

    Science Faculty / Director of Environmental Programs & Sustainability
    (802) 869-6682
    University of Montana - BS
    Antioch University New England - MS
  • Photo of William Norton

    Mr. William Norton 

    Science Faculty / Head Coach, Wilderness Skills
    Colby College - BA
Student Life

Long Trail Hike

“The Long Trail enabled me to connect and form new relationships with my friends and get to know them in a way I didn’t before.” - Caroline ’20
Each year before the school year begins, a group of students set out to hike a section of the Long Trail. The six-day journey finds students and teachers hiking over mountains, through valleys, and swimming in rivers and lakes, submersed in the natural landscape of Vermont. Within this technology-free journey, participants focus on personal growth through real challenges. Leadership training is one of our main goals, with each student acting as “Leader of the Day”, taking full responsibility for the group and reflecting at the end of the day how it all went. It is experiential learning at its finest.

"The Long Trail project is an extension of what I aim to provide students through Outdoor Programs. During our week long journey, students will hike over 40 miles, carry everything on their backs, live outside with the elements, and bond as a micro-community. As they test their physical and mental strength, students will experience an increased level of self-awareness and self-reliance—that's really empowering. As they learn more about themselves, they will determine their role to best serve the community. Working together as a whole and recognizing that each member of our community plays a vital part is an underpinning of Vermont Academy." - Nate Williams, Long Trail Hike Coordinator and Director of Outdoor Programs

“The Long Trail Hike was a great experience as a new student coming to VA. I got to form long lasting friendships and learn outdoor skills. Hiking is my favorite way to connect with nature so I would highly recommend others who like hiking to go on the Long Trail.” - Annie ’21

“Support, teamwork, character development, and freedom to be oneself may be hallmarks of life on the trail, but they are also characteristics of life at Vermont Academy. That’s why the hike is such a great introduction to each new school year.” - Erikki Mackey, former English Teacher

Education for Life - One Student at a Time

Vermont Academy is a coed college preparatory boarding and day school in southern Vermont, serving grades 9-12 plus a postgraduate year.
MAPS® is a registered trademark of Vermont Academy.