Hike Mount Mansfield via Sunset Ridge Trail

Rate this Adventure 6.6 miles 2600 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Shaya Christensen

Mount Mansfield is the highest peak in Vermont, and well worth the day hike. It is steep and challenging, but the views on a clear day are stunning. With Stowe resort and the ranges to the East and the Champlain Valley to the West, you can experience a challenging hike with the best Vermont views.

This hike is one of the most fun and most beautiful in Vermont. It's also the tallest! For that reason, I rated it beginner/intermediate. While the trail is not at all technical, the signs are easy to follow, and I truly believe most can reach the top, it is steep, which can pose a challenge for beginner hikers or those with injuries or disabilities! This specific trail, in contrast to the others posted, begins on the Western side of Mount Mansfield. This makes it the closest option to those coming from Burlington, Shelburne, Middlebury, or Bristol area.

This hike begins at Underhill State Park. Underhill can be accessed via Route 15. Near the Jolley Mobile Station, you will turn onto River Road. Follow this for 2.7 miles, after which it will become Pleasant Valley Road. Continue 1 mile, then make a right onto Mountain Road, following this until you reach the park. During high season, the parking lot is often full, so people will park along the side of the road. 

Sunset Ridge (3.3 miles one-way):

Once you park at Underhill State Park, you will begin at the CCC road/ Eagle Cut Trail, following signs for Sunset Ridge Trail. The trailhead itself begins 1 mile later. The beginning of the trail will meander through the trees, then slowly climb out onto an exposed rock trail following the ridge with stunning views of the Champlain Valley. The destination, “The Chin,” will always be in view. Near the summit, the Sunset Ridge Trail combines with the Long Trail, leading to the summit. There, you can enjoy 360 degree views of the Vermont landscape, with Stowe resort and the ranges to the East and the Champlain Valley to the West.  

Laura Cowles Trail (2.7 miles one-way):

This trail covers 2.7 miles with around 2600 feet of elevation gain. Laura Cowles will branch off from the Sunset Ridge trail but then rejoin it near the summit, with a combined trail to summit. Pros: the trail goes through forest, so if you need protection, it’s a great break from the elements. Cons: it is steeper, and you miss the views that you get along the Sunset Ridge Trail. 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Bathrooms are only open at Underhill State Park during certain seasons. 

Make sure to follow trail markers to stay on trail. The plant ecosystems on the rocks along the Sunset Ridge Trail and near the summit are quite fragile. 

This is a seasonal hike— wonderful during the late spring, summer, fall or winter. However, the Green Mountain Club discourages hiking during mud season (usually early spring but varies year-to-year) to reduce impact and erosion. Please check their website and state park/ national forest sites for the latest information on the trails you would like to use.

Dogs are allowed on these trails!

Always remember to preserve our trails. Here's another great read on the importance of proper trail use: https://www.theoutbound.com/ti...

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Tags

Hiking
Dog Friendly
Scenic

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