Underhill is within Vermont's 34,000-acre Mt. Mansfield State Forest. On the headwaters of the Brown's River, at about 2,000 feet elevation, the park lies on the west slope of 4,300 feet Mt. Mansfield, the state's highest peak. Just over the summit ridge is the Stowe ski area, one of North America's original ski resorts. The elevation and corresponding exposure to harsh climatic conditions have resulted in some relatively unusual vegetation types along the mountain's summit ridge. The low, stunted-plants found in the alpine tundra near the summit, very rare in New England, are more typical of types found on broad expanses of Arctic tundra a thousand miles farther north. These plants are fragile (if you hike to the summit, please stay on marked trails.) The park includes a log picnic shelter, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC, a nationwide public works program created during the great economic depression of the 1930s to provide jobs and training for thousands of unemployed. Many state and national parks trace their origins to the CCC era. In addition, the park contains a small campground, picnic grounds, and a group camping area. The campground has a restroom facility with flush toilets and cold running water, but no showers. Due to the parks hillside nature, it is not suitable for RVs or trailers. All campsites are walk-in. This off-grid park uses solar power for office functions, and to operate the water system. The group camping area consists of a small level field with 9 lean-to shelters, a 0.8 mile moderate walk uphill from the main campground. There is a pit toilet that serves the group area. The park is probably best known for its hiking. There are four trails to the summit ridge of Mt. Mansfield from Underhill State Park. Walking up the gated road from the park headquarters, the trails begin branching off shortly above the group camp area. The Sunset Ridge Trail, 3 miles to the summit, is the most popular. Vermonts Long Trail traverses the summit ridge and, with several trails from the other side of the mountain, many loops are possible. Hiking information and trail maps are available at the park headquarters. The upper camp area, about 3/4 of a mile above the ranger station, has 9 lean-to sites and is reserved for organized group use. In the lower camp area, around the ranger station, are 11 tent sites and 6 lean-to sites. There are cold water and flush toilets in the rest rooms, but no showers. Because campers park in the lot and cannot drive the last several yards to their campsites, this park is not recommended for RV or tent-trailer campers. There is a large log picnic shelter, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s for group functions.
This has to have one the best 360 degree views of any hike. Mt Mansfield is staggering and beautiful. Great hike along the ridge line. The hike up is not bad and the hike down is a total rock scramble. Depends on whether your knees like that or not. This is one of those great day hikes that I am glad I did, but I would not do again , because of the rock scramble on the way down. Did Half way house up and Somerset up.
Great hike. GPS had me closer to 4.5 miles. Definitely would not consider this a difficult hike. Starting from Underhill State Park, you take an easy trail and follow the road to the trail head, from there is gets a little more difficult. The hike reminded me of a stairmaster. Amazing views at the top.