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Hiking the AT in July

St. Augustine...
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Hiking the AT in July

Hi all! I have a trip planned in September to hike the AT but I'm thinking of changing it to July when the kiddos are out of school. For those of you that have hiked during this time or just locals who live there what concerns should I have? I was hoping to hike in cooler weather to hopefully avoid bugs (I'm such a girl when it comes to bees, bugs etc). In TN where I live July would be miserable but it looks like weather averages in VT are much more manageable with 70/80's and 60's lows. Is that about right? It also looks like the average rainfall would be about the same July or September so that really isn't factoring into our decisions.

Our plan is to fly to NH and take a bus to Dartmouth to get on the trail in Hanover. Then we will hike for several days and stop in or around Killington for a hotel night stay. Then hop back on the trail and end in Manchester (if we can make it there if not we may have to stop and figure out transportation). If we can make it to Manchester we will take the Manchester Connection (i think that is the name) but to Rutland and take the Amtrak to NY to catch a flight home to TN.

So my questions are:

1. Better to hike July than September or stick with my original Sept plan and find sitters for kiddos?

2. For those of you that are locals are these possible stopping points and any other transportation options?

3. Hikers and/or Locals: Should I flip this to South to North or am I okay with my North to South plan?

Burlington, Vermont
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1. Re: Hiking the AT in July

The first two weeks of September, on average, will offer more ideal hiking conditions in Vermont than July. However, this will not hold true by any means in every single year.

The trails can still be drying out in July if we have a wet start to summer. Hiking in wet and muddy conditions on a multi-day hike can get old fast. July can also be hot and humid and while at elevation you will get some relief, in the valleys along the AT it could be brutal hiking with a pack in mid 90s with high humidity. July can also bring thunderstorms. Or July could also offer you a week of very nice 70s/80s with cool nights.

Often the weather in VT will moderate by early September and be a little less unpredictable. However, this past September we had family visit around Sept. 20 and we had a rainy couple of days with temps in the mid 50s (which then returned to 60s/70s and sunny thereafter).

So, I'm not sure if that helps, but again, on average, early September is your better bet.

As for direction, I don't see a whole lot of difference. I've hiked much of the AT from Killington south (where it overlaps with the Long Trail) My observation has been that most through hikers on the Long Trail go south-north and sometimes its fun to see the same people over the course of a few days, but otherwise I can't think of a good reason to do your route in one particular direction.

St. Augustine...
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2. Re: Hiking the AT in July

Thank you AdamTraveler! I think I need to do a little more research on finding sitters for the kiddos. September was my first choice so maybe I just need to work a little harder to figure it all out.

Ormond Beach...
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3. Re: Hiking the AT in July

Adam's comments are right on. July is usually great for hiking, but is generally a bit hotter than Sept. It varies quite a bit year to year tho, so not a really big deal either way. Sept will generally have fewer biting flies too - since May/June tends to be black fly season, and some hang around into July. They're pesky little buggers - always good to bring deet or some othe repellent, regardless of when you hike.

St. Augustine...
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4. Re: Hiking the AT in July

Chris_and_Liz_VT....these are the bugs I want to avoid for sure! So it sounds like if we had to go in July then maybe end of July would be good. We are still shooting for September but want to make sure we have a back up plan.

Burlington, Vermont
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5. Re: Hiking the AT in July

You will have a great time no matter what any time July through September so it's not imperative to rearrange your plans to make it happen in September. All things equal, early September is when I would aim for, but that's only one consideration.

6. Re: Hiking the AT in July

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