The Catamount Trail
Cross-country ski across the state of Vermont
At 300 miles long, the Catamount Trail is the longest cross-country ski trail in the U.S., connecting wild terrain and finely groomed trails—with many of Vermont’s finest country inns located along its length. Named after the eastern mountain lion, the Catamount Trail was developed in 1984 by three geography students at the University of Vermont, who researched the route for a thesis project, obtained access privileges from landowners and skied every last mile of the route—the only one to run from one end of a state to the other.
The route offers a tremendous range of experiences, from easy, well-groomed trails to breaking trail in two feet of newly fallen snow. (Snowshoers are allowed on its whole length and snowmobilers on 70 miles of it.) In the remote backcountry, part of its magic is that you never know quite what conditions you’ll find or who—if anyone—has been there before you.
Interconnecting with major Nordic ski centres at Okemo, Stowe and Stratton, the Catamount Trail offers experienced skiers a chance to travel from inn to inn, spending the night in well-fed comfort before moving on. One stop is Blueberry Hill Inn in Goshen, a restored 1813 hostelry originally built by loggers and perched at the edge of the 22,000-acre Moosalamoo region of the Green Mountain National Forest. The 12-room inn has 45 miles of trails that feed into the Catamount from its doorstep, including the highest (altitude 3,000 feet) groomed cross-country trail in Vermont. Tony Clark, who bought the inn in 1968, developed the Nordic Ski Center just across the road, making this a major destination for skiers of any skill level. To work out the kinks at the end of the day, try out the bracing real-deal Nordic experience: a plunge in the inn’s pond before a race back to the heated sauna.
This trip idea can be found in:
Trip idea text ©Patricia Schultz. For contact information about the places mentioned and many more USA trip ideas, see Patricia Schultz's blockbuster book.