Here’s a new idea for a hike in the future. Maybe after the New England Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and whatever else is in the future.
By connecting the Long Trail, the Appalachian Trail, the Long Path, and the Northville-Placid Trail, you could almost make a loop hike of around a thousand miles. Starting and ending on Lake Champlain, you would spend a lot of time in the watersheds of Champlain and the Hudson River. I’m sure there are a few more watersheds in there, like the Housatonic and the Battenkill. Mountain ranges you would see include the Green Mountains, the Berkshires, the Hudson Highlands, the Shawangunks, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks.
The first few legs of the trail would be simple: The Long Trail, starting at the Canadian border, links to the Appalachian Trail through Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. The Appalachian Trail crosses the Long Path in Harriman State Park, although for long-distance hiking purposes you’d need to continue the AT a short way into New Jersey where the Shawangunk Ridge trail connects the AT to the Long Path near the Shawangunks.
The Long Path could bring you through the Gunks and up into the Catskills, where the Long Path ends outside of Albany. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has had ideas to connect the Long Path to the Northville-Placid trail, but there is currently a forty or fifty mile gap between them. That sounds a little like the New England Trail between Plymouth and Sunapee, so not a big problem. Once on the NPT, you would get through the Adirondacks, making at least one side trip to hit Mount Marcy. I’m not sure about the trails between Placid and Plattsburg, but if you got to the lake, you could ferry over to Burlington and be not far from a complete loop.
The accomplishments you’d make on such a hike would be pretty fun. First, you’d hit the highest peaks in five different states: Mansfield in Vermont, Greylock in Massachusetts, Bear Mountain in Connecticut (not the highest point, but the highest peak), High Point in New Jersey, and Marcy in New York. You would be able to hike from near the end of the Hudson River to its source in the Adirondacks. Very few people have hiked the entire Long Path, and I’m pretty sure no one has continued from the end of it to the Northville-Placid Trail.
I’m guessing this would take at least two months at a steady clip. Total mileage: Long Trail (278 miles), MA AT (90 miles), CT AT (52 miles), NY AT (88 miles), NJ AT to High Point State Park (30 miles), Long Path/Shawangunk Ridge Trail to Altamont (250ish miles), road walk to Northville (50 miles), Northville-Placid Trail (133 miles). Total: 971 miles.