The Catamount Trail is a cross country ski trail that runs the entire north-to-south distance of Vermont – 300 miles or 483km. The trail was conceived by three Vermont men in 1984 who formed the Catamount Trail Association (CTA) who oversee the trail. The last section of the trail was completed in 2007. 60% of the Catamount Trail crosses the private land of nearly 200 landowners while the remaining crosses public land such as the Green Mountain National Forest.
The trail is divided into 31 sections with section 1 starting in the south in Readsboro and the trail completing with section 31 in the north in Jay at the U.S. border with Canada.
|3||7.4||Intermediate and remote|
|4||7.8||Easy and remote|
|5||11.2||Easy to Intermediate|
|6||9.0||Easy with 1 steep descent.|
|7||8.9||Easy to Intermediate|
|9||12.6||Intermediate with difficult sections|
|10||7.8||Intermediate with difficult sections|
|12||14.0||Difficult, expert skiers|
|14||10.4||Intermediate with a few difficult sections in the groomed portion of the trail, difficult for the rest|
|15||9.3||Intermediate to difficult|
|16||9.7||Easy to intermediate|
|18||11.3||Intermediate to difficult with an easy section|
|19||10.3||Difficult and very remote – expert skiing abilities|
|22||9.4||Difficult – advanced skiers only|
|23||12.8||Intermediate to difficult|
|25||13.1||Intermediate in the beginning and then difficult|
|29||7.5||Intermediate but ends with one narrow twisty decent shared with snowmobiles|
|30||6.5||Intermediate and difficult|
For in-depth descriptions of the sections see the List of Trail Sections.
To date 46 people have skied the distance of the Catamount Trail.
Along the length the trail follows snowmobile trails, old logging roads, groomed ski trails, and remote back-country routes. Because of this, the trail presents its own brand of unique challenges. Weather can also be a very important factor when skiing the Catamount Trail. Fresh snow on ungroomed back-country trails can make skiing much more physically demanding and make a trip last much longer. Freezing rain can put an icy crust on everything making skiing more challenging and dangerous. In addition, many remote back-country sections of the trail require expert back-country skiing skills.
Whenever skiing a section of the trail, one should plan on being out in the cold for hours and have the appropriate gear. You should also not ski the trail alone. It is really important to be prepared and know what you are doing when skiing the Catamount Trail. To help plan a trip you should check out the following resources:
For those who are not expert cross country skiers the first section of the trail is one of the easiest portions. Although ungroomed, the section is flat with only one short steep climb that can be walked.
The Catamount Trail Association hosts numerous events during the season including tours and races. Check out their event calendar for more details.