Explore Contenders - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
1 month ago

Perfect day. The stream was rushing wild. Needed more time to explore the lower falls. Foliage was past peak but still spectacular!

Trail has been relocated near the top (after the upper Jenny/Ratllesnake intersection), adding 1/3 mile in each direction, winding up towards the Oak Ridge trail then back to the cliff overlook. New section is fairly steep, and was a bit slippery when I visited. Still, a great payoff at the end with amazing views of Lake Dunmore, Silver Lake, the Moosalamoo woods, and the Champlain Valley.

Nice trail for a day hike. the trail itself is actually slightly more than 5 miles.

Tough hike with amazing views. Worth the payoff. Took us about 5.5 hours total but we took our time going relatively slower than a steady up-beat pace. The park ranger recommended we go up Laura Cowles and down Sunset Ridge, as even advanced hikers have a hard time coming down LC, and I’m very glad we followed his direction. I highly recommend doing the same.

Very nice trail! The end of the trail is much longer than you would expect. You keep getting the sense that you are almost done, but then it just keeps going on. It connects with the old trail near the end. The end of the trail is not difficult, but it is a bit risky with steep rocks to maneuver over, so people who are afraid of heights or ledges won't make it all the way. There are still views they can enjoy without going all the way to Eagle Rock. Gorgeous views all around! One more piece of advice - when traveling there, be sure to go through Barton, not Westmore, as that side of Wheeler Mountain Road is not well kept.

Very nice! A perfect short trail ☺️

Was a lot of fun. View was incredible.

The summit is amazing! The pro of taking this route vs. the Stowe side is there are way fewer people. The first 3/4 is fairly easy. The last 1/4 is intense. The rock scrambles are steeper than the ones on White Rocks, Mt. Abe, and Worcester. They are doable, but for sure not easy.

Great hike in an amazing forest. The last 30 minutes to Eagle Rock is quite technical. The views are phenomenal!!

Up Laura Cowles, down Sunset Ridge. It's the way I've done Mansfield for most of my life. Traffic can be a concern in peak seasons, but here's the move: Get up real crazy early, put on a reliable headlamp, and don some warm hiking clothes (whoa, not THAT warm, champ! This is going to be exercise, after all). Make the summit minutes before sunrise. Pour yourself a cup of coffee from your Thermos while you enjoy the show. Descend by Sunset Ridge just as the sun starts to light up the landscape below. The experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. Side note: If you plan this as a date (with the right kind of companion, of course), you're an instant legend.

The rock face at the top is breathtaking, photos will never fully capture the majestic feel. The views are spectacular.

Awesome payoff at the top, the views were amazing. I did Rattlesnake both up and back. I think the mileage is off however, they have rerouted the trail and added several switchbacks, the signs say is 1.5 miles from the falls, it was closer to 2 miles from the falls to the Vista points on the cliffs-so worth it however!!

great trail for bringing my dog. gorgeous views at the top. went on a hot day so when we got back we went over to Danbury Park for a swim. will definitely go again!

Five Stars for a Moderate. Perfect day and weather for 9/6. Wouldn’t want to do this in the rain or in the Spring when water is flowing heavy down the mountain.

Great hike with our dog on 9/2/18. The views from the top were spectacular. Took us about 2.5 hours.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a pretty easy hike along the forest for about the first half as it runs along a really nice brook. When you come to the rocky steps it’s very steep (not dog friendly) and remains that way all the way to the top. Views were a little limited today because of incoming rain.

Trail started out in a campground ($4 to park for the day per person). Hiked .6 miles up to the beginning of Sunet Ridge, which soon split into Laura Cowles. Laura Cowles was the most unrelenting trail I've done in Vermont, very steep with very few, if any, flat sections. It was all worth it for the great views coming above the treeline. The summit was covered in a cloud the whole time, but going down Sunset Ridge led to some of the most spectacular views.
My advice to anyone not extremely experienced, pack a LOT of water and be prepared to take most of the day. We did this in about 6 hours.

Going down this trail felt like falling down a mountainside in slow motion. Super slick and straight down, it took us an hour to go just one mile. We had gone up to the Chin via Sunset Ridge and decided to come down on Laura Cowles. If you are trying to reach the Chin I highly recommend taking Sunset Ridge instead, which leaves from the same parking lot (you have to pay $4 per person). That one has views along the hike and makes for a more varied and less grueling excursion.

Did this trail yesterday as loop. Laura cowles still rates as one of the toughest I’ve done it is uphill the whole time and doesn’t stop until you reach the top. Great views from the chin as usual. Was a warm and not much wind at all. GPS had this more like 5.4 miles round trip.

nature trips
5 months ago

Great hike.

Kicked our butts. We took the Eagle cut to Ccc road to Laura Cowls Trail to the top. The LC section was steep and seemingly unending but fun in that it was a challenge — mostly a boulder and rock scramble. It had rained off and on the day before and much of the way was damp. Came down via the sunset ridge trail — easier and drier. Might try it as the way up and back if I do this Trail again. (Hubby says he never wants to do it again)

The reviewers who talk about a great view aren’t going to the top of Mount Horrid, where there is no view that I could find near the peak. There is a nice view from Great Cliff, on the east side of the mountain about two-thirds of the way up. Nice hike with some steep spots and rock stairs to the top.

love this spot!! great if you want to hang out for a bit or bit the falls for a swim after your hike!

Hiked this several times last year, again in early May (still lots of snow still!) and am going today.

However, I don’t take this trail the whole way. About a mile in, Bob Kemp Trails breaks off to the left and Middlesex bears right - there is a sign. I take Bob Kemp as to detour to White Rock which has great 270 degree views itself with a lot of exposed, flat terrain. From there, I ride the ridge line over to the Mt. Hunger summit - it is less than mile and there are signs to direct you. One steep push right at this end but very doable. The rest has some steeper sections but flattens out in between. I would say moderate is a very accurate rating. Extremely worthwhile for near 360 views from the top of Hunger

Have done this trail more than once- absolutely beautiful. Highly recommend taking the Sunset Ridge Trail up and down. I did not find it too difficult and my 3 younger siblings aged 8-12 found the trail very exciting, and loved exploring the caves on the way up!

hiking
6 months ago

We travelled up the Rattlesnake Cliffs trail and down the Aunt Jenny.
Both seemed equivalent to me and moderate difficulty seems accurate.
We went on a pleasant June morning about 70F 20C.
Of course you cannot get to the scenic overlook between April and September because of the peregrine falcons nesting.
I would like to do it again when it is open.
Enjoyed the falls at the bottom.
The path at the top has been re-routed but will still take you to the overlook.
Follow the signs not the all trails map.

Fun trail with a lot of great views on the way to the top! Very enjoyable

nature trips
6 months ago

Great elevated view for a quick park and hike. Made it up and down in 45 min - a hour total. Gets steep and stair like in parts

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