Hike Mt. Mansfield via the Long Trail

Vermont Mt. Mansfield Long Trail Trailhead

Added by Shannon Kalahan

Earn your bragging rights by highest peak in Vermont with a summit elevation of 4393 feet. The views above alpine in the Green Mountains are spectacular and this one of the few places in Vermont to see Arctic Tundra flora and conditions.

There are several options to reach the summit of Mount Mansfield. The Toll Road (which, appropriately, has a toll to use it), the Laura Cowles trail, the Sunset Ridge trail, Haselton Trail, the Hellbrook Trail… The most popular trail from the east side of the mountain, however, is the section of the Long Trail that I hiked. Starting at approximately 1600 feet of elevation, the trail head looks like a deceivingly easy jaunt through the woods. It doesn’t take long to get the heart pumping though. With only 2.4 miles to climb about 2800 feet of elevation, the trail is comprised primarily of natural staircases with just a few flat tracks to catch your breath. The last third of a mile, after you cross into alpine, you begin rock scrambling. There are even a few sections of easy climbing with established handholds.

Basically, if you hate your knees, this trail is for you. Haha

Mt. Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont, and one of only 3 places in the state that has Alpine Tundra. The trails are also some of the most popular in the state, so the potential for damage to the fragile ecosystem is high. It is very important to do the “rock walk” above the tree line, staying on the rocks to avoid trampling the delicate flora.

Although this is a day hike (it took me 4.5 hours total to do approximately 4.8 miles and I am a slow hiker), there is an option to stay at a lodge 0.6 miles from the summit. While there is a water source and outhouse outside of the lodge, all supplies (aka toilet paper, portable stove) need to be packed in and out. The Taft Lodge is part of the Green Mountain Club’s system, and there is an overnight fee.

Before you hike, make sure to check the weather and give yourself plenty of daylight for the hike. The view at the top is worth lingering for. If you’re of age, a summit beer never hurts. ;-)

If you intend to hike in the winter, be prepared for harsh conditions. Proper winter gear will be required. Also, there are definitely bears in the area (one was spotted at the lodge the week I was hiking) so be prepared for that.

Pack List

  • Hiking poles
  • Lots of water and snacks
  • Toilet paper
  • Camera and tripod
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Layers, as the weather on the exposed summit can be unpredictable
  • Emergency whistle and a way to map the trail (service is spotty on the summit)
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Activities:

Camping, Hiking, Photography, Rock Climbing

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

4.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

2800 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

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How to Get There

10 months ago

One of my favorite!!!💙💛💚🦄🦄

10 months ago

Added by Shannon Kalahan

I am an avid traveler, adventurer, dog owner, chapstick user, professional photographer, teacher and author based out of New England. I love to meet new people, so please, reach out to say hi!

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