Mount Mansfield is the highest point of the Green Mountain State and hosts spectacular trails on every face of the summit.
Fun Mountain Facts
* At 4,395 feet Mount Mansfield is the tallest mountain in the state of Vermont
* The average annual snowfall is 223 inches at the summit
* The University of Vermont owns a 400-acre plot of land on and around the summit
*The Vermont Long Trail traverses over Mount Mansfield
*The name is derived from a dissolved town, Mansfield, VT which drew its name from where the few residents came from, Mansfield, CT. The Connecticut town got its name from one of the primary landowners Moses Mansfield.
*You can ski Mount Mansfield - you probably have heard of the popular ski resort Stowe
About The Hike
There are many options of base starts for this hike but for doing it as a day hike I would recommend starting at Underhill State Park. This is also a good spot if you're looking to car camp before and/or after your hike. The camping and parking both fill up early on peak weekends so getting there or reserving ahead of time are suggested. The other ways to summit would be from the north or south portion of the Long Trail.
From Underhill, you have several trail options to the summit (and several trail options back down). The most popular trail names are Sunset Ridge and the Laura Cowles Trail. The shortest amount of mileage I believe is 4.5 miles per AllTrails (probably closer to 6) which takes the Laura Cowles Trail up to the summit and Sunset Ridge trail back down. To extend this mileage and get a variety of trails and summits there is a loop trail that is listed on AllTrails which is 7.3 (probably closer to 8 to 9) miles. The loop is what I would recommend but if not you can always reach the summit and follow the Long Trail south to other smaller peaks, The Nose and The Forehead. Consider adding a stop at Butler Lodge if doing the loop - more information in the blog post below!
Sunset Ridge is aptly named for its open rock ridge that slopes the western face of the mountain. If you are able to plan your hike with this as your exit off the summit back to Underhill in the late afternoon or evening you'll be heavily rewarded. The Laura Cowles trail stays mostly in a ravine and in the woods so views aren't as great coming up or heading down.
A fun aspect of the Mount Mansfield summit is that the eastern slope is the Stowe Mountain ski resort. The views of the ski trails and lodges are great and you can even hike down to the lifts. From the summit of Mansfield, you'll take the Long Trail south towards The Nose which at a point you'll notice a split and to the east, there is a .3 to .5 mile rocky trail down to the summit lodge and the Stowe Gondola.
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