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