Mount Mansfield Loop Trail

HARD 118 reviews
#2 of 7 trails in

Mount Mansfield Loop Trail is a 7.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Underhill, Vermont that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,880 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

scenic driving

walking

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

Mount Mansfield is the highest peak in the state of Vermont and is located in Chittenden County within the Green Mountains. The hike begins at Underhill State Park off of Mountain Road where there is plenty of parking available in the parking area for a fee of $4/person. Because the park has tent camping, there are bathrooms and potable water available at the trailhead. The hike starts along CCC Road. You will continue on CCC Road until you reach Maple Ridge Trail. Maple Ridge Trail is the most technical part of the hike. Two parts of the Maple Ridge Trail stand out as scariest. One is a rock wall that has only limited grips and toe holds, and a fall off that wall would cause serious harm. The second part is a chasm about six feet deep that you have to leap over. As with climbing the rock wall, there is no margin for error with this leap. You have to commit and then execute properly. The average adult may find it frightening but will be able to do it safely. Because of these two challenging sections, it is not recommend to attempt this hike in bad weather conditions where the rocks would be wet or icy. You will then reach the Long Trail and continue along the Long Trail north, passing the forehead, the nose and northward along the ridgeline to the Chin. From there, you can extend the trip up to Adams Apple or turn around and begin the descent along the Sunset Ridge Trail. The is a great hike to Vermont's highest point that boasts spectacular views once you get to the rocky outcrops on the Maple Ridge Trail and will continue to impress on the Long Trail and for most of the descent on the Sunset Ridge Trail. Mount Mansfield is also one of two places in Vermont where Alpine Tundra can be found.

hiking
4 days ago

Did the loop on October 12 but got started a bit late so took the Halfway House Trail to get up to the Canyons Trail and then eventually met up with the Long Trail to make it to the chin and back down via the Sunset Ridge Trail.

Halfway House was very very steep but offered some pretty views of the valley, especially with the foliage. The Canyons Trail included a lot of rock scrambling but offered some shelter from the wind on the ridge. Also great views on this section. Once we got to the Long Trail, the views were incredible because you get up above the treeline on to the ridge and you can really see the summit, the valley and stowe ski resort. Unfortunately we had a lot of fierce wind during our time along the long trail probably from the combination of elevation and quick changing weather.

Once we started descending via the Sunset Ridge Trail, the conditions were much better and we were able to enjoy the views and get some great photos.

Overall a great hike and worth the views. Strenuous because of steep conditions and rock scrambles. Make sure to check the weather and be ready for temperature drops and wind

hiking
8 days ago

Summary (TLDR): Halfway House up and back in damp, foggy, and cooler conditions took roughly five hours. Challenging hike but very worthwhile.

My girl and I went over the past weekend (10/6) to see all of the wonderful foliage fall colors and the mountain didn't disappoint despite the weather. For our first time up the mountain, the ranger that was assisting in parking cars recommended Halfway House to the Chin, then back down Sunset Ridge. The conditions that day were damp, foggy, very light scattered showers, and windy at the ridgeline. The temperature was between 45-55F.

Halfway House certainly was grueling the whole way up if you aren't used to mountain hiking. The path has great opportunities for photos along the way and is easy to follow. There were two different areas where things were sketchy and both were towards the top. One is a serious rock slope that has very few areas to anchor your feet. We opted on taking a less traveled dirt path to the right of the slope and made it up without facing the troubles we could have encountered. The final dangerous obstacle was a shallow sloping boulder you have to cross that overhangs a cliff to connect with the trail on the other side. There was no going above or below this. I believe the hike up was around three hours.

When we made it to the ridgeline, we broke into the tundra foliage and it was beautiful! The sight was certainly breathtaking regardless of the poor weather conditions. There was still about another hour to the Chin according to other hikers.

We walked about fifteen minutes towards the Chin and ran into a few other hikers coming down from the Chin. They recommended turning back because it was raining pretty good on the summit and gusts were reaching up to and sustaining at 45 mph. I will also add if you are afraid of heights, walking the ridgeline to the Chin is not for the faint of heart. There is a 1000 ft drop to the right that provides for amazing views but will stunt those who may not be comfortable with heights.

To finish out the hike, we made our way back down Halfway House. Overall, we spent about three hours going up, two hours coming back down, and about an hour meandering around and enjoying views at the base and ridgeline. I'm looking forward to going back and experiencing the trails again. I highly recommend it.

hiking
22 days ago

I’m not a hiker and this was definitely difficult but it was very pretty. We reached the summit around 10:30am and it was so foggy that we couldn’t see anything. I think the fog burned out by midday but still a little disappointing. It’s not too busy (we went on a Sunday) and we passed our fair share of dogs :). Trail was pretty slippery even though it hadn’t rained in a few days. A lot of DIY rock climbing but worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Decided to tackle another of the highest peaks of the state, this time in Vermont. Another 3.5 hour drive from home and same back. Decided to go up the lesser traveled route, Halfway House. Glad I chose that, saw 4 people as they were coming down but nobody else. Mile to the long trail but seemed longer. I'm not the fastest hiker out there so didn't want to have to move aside a lot. Another mile to the meetup with Sunset Ridge then up to the chin. A fair amount of rock jumping as you get closer to the final climb but nothing crazy. Halfway House wasn't all that bad in regards to actual climbing, just took time. The top was a little busy not that bad for a Sunday. One thing to keep in mind, as I knew where I was going, I met a couple who weren't sure and almost took the Sunset Ridge to go down which would have taken them down to the wrong side of the mountain. I got them straightened out, just glad I could help. Now the fun starts, heading down. I knew before I started I would go up HH and down Sunset. I just didn't think Sunset Ridge was as tough as I went through going down. I read somewhere that from easy to hard on this side was SR then HH then LC. From going up HH, I think SR is about the same really. Took a couple hours and had a constant thigh burn going but didn't want to stop because I knew I wouldn't want to get up :). Got to Cantilever trail and didn't have the strength to go out and back, maybe another year. As they say, doesn't matter how far or how fast you go, just that you go somewhere. It's always a few steps at a time for me, not bad for an overweight mid 50's guy. Enjoy yourselves!

hiking
1 month ago

Was definitely worth each step!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike with beautiful views definitely be prepared with water and food there is a nice mountain top place to eat as well about a 10mile hike

hiking
1 month ago

This was my second time hiking Mount Mansfield, but this time we did it as a larger loop hike. The hike going up to the ridge was slow going due to the wet rocks. Once on the ridge there was a lot of people and the whole ridge was socked in majority of the time with a few breaks of sun here and there. We hiked up the Halfway House Trail to the Long Path and down the Sunset Ridge Trail.

2 months ago

Cool trail, not so hard , great view!!

hiking
2 months ago

The views!! Standing at the top you can see New York, Canada, and New Hampshire. Once at the top you have 360* views. Trails starts off a little easy but the closer you get to the top the more rocky it is.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a challenging hike through varied terrain and environments with a tremendous payoff at the summit with beautiful views across the Green Mountains. You climb through a lovely deciduous forest up a meandering trail before a nice walk through the alpine along the ridge with stunning 360 degree views over the Green Mountains of northern Vermont. Truly a must do for any serious hiker looking for a taste of Vermont’s natural beauty.

The rating on this trail is not overblown though and I would recommend it only to very experienced hikers and would caution that even experienced hikers could run into difficulties on the more technical pitches in wet conditions. The vast majority of the trail follows a path of naked granite. With this in mind I would strongly recommend starting the loop on the Maple Ridge side as that half of the loop has the most challenging granite faces to negotiate going up and those are even more challenging when tired and going down. Be aware also of the fairly significant time commitment required. It is only a 15km loop including the out and back to the summit, but it does some time to navigate everything the trail throws at you. This last time it took me 4 hours hiking alone and moving fast. They recommend 6-9 hours at the ranger station.


Enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

Challenging rock terrain over the forehead, a long day. Exhausted and happy.

backpacking
3 months ago

I would say it’s hard. Mostly because you need to bring a lot of water and marple trail part is not good for children and unexperienced pets.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail! Probably my favorite so far in the North East, and I've hiked in NY, VT and NH. If you have done anything in the White Mountains, this will feel a bit like the Franconia Notch Loop, but a little more technical. I did the Wampahoofus to Butler lodge trail and got to go through a cave (really cool). From there you take Rock Garden trail back to the main path and that had some really cool stuff as well. I also took the offshoot to Cantilever Rock and that had a great view. Overall, the majority of the hike is a breeze but there are a few sections that can be tricky. It was sunny and dry when we did it but I think it would be very tough in rainy conditions as much of the hike is on rock faces that have grip when dry but not when wet.

3 months ago

Hiked up Butler Lodge Trail to Butler Lodge. Pretty quick and easy, and a nice view from the lodge. Decided to continue up Wampahoofus for the first time to the forehead thinking it would be fairly quick and easy.. wrong!! It was so fun though! But a little intimating! I had to take off my pack a few times to hoist myself up slippery rocks, had to walk through a cave, but what an adventure. Once at the forehead, I decided to continue to the chin so I took Long Trail North to the chin, not too windy despite cloudy weather, then on the way back, Long Trail South to Wallace Cutoff back to Butler Lodge. Keep in mind going down LT south is a little daunting, those ladders going down can be scary if you don’t like heights and a few points where if you mis step, you could fall down some rock crevices. All in all I’m glad I did that loop, exciting adventure 8.8 total miles.

Doesn’t take very long to get up and down. Most of it is done up on the ridge. I added Bad Weather Pass as an option up top which was fun although you have a few up close encounters with cliff edges. Fun trail all in all.

hiking
4 months ago

Awesome hike! Took about 4.5 hours. The first part (CCC road) leading up to the Maple ridge trail is very easy. I am a pretty experienced hiker and this was the hardest one in Vermont I have ever done. There were definitely some technical parts leading up to the Forehead. I would not suggest attempting any of it when the rocks are wet. Awesome hike along the ridge line where you can see the Burlington side as well as the Stowe side. The distance listed on here is off in my opinion. My Iphone said about 8 miles. The park rangers guide says 8.4. Will definitely do again at some point!

hiking
4 months ago

Did the CCC road/Eagle Cut-Maple Ridge-Long Trail-Chin-Sunset Ridge (approx 8.5m per the parks handout map). Perfect day and trails in good shape. Took under 5hrs including stops vs the 8hrs per the park ranger. I found Sunset to be a little wet and Maple Ridge was dry.

hiking
4 months ago

I took halfway house trail to go up and reached the nose. Hiked the long trail to reach CHIN (Summit). Took the sunset ridge trail on my way back.

hiking
5 months ago

Goodluck!

5 months ago

Awesome hike. Best one I’ve done on the east coast.

hiking
6 months ago

The trail condition was somewhat difficult today, the snow was semi hard and the path has been trampled, so hard with snowshoes. Was a beautiful day though and not too windy nor cold ! Long walk from the winter parking to the beginning of the trail. Will try again this summer !

11 months ago

bit muddy and wet. crazy views througout the hike. some tricky rock scramble sections. very well marked.

11 months ago

Nice hike. Hells brook ascent to the Adam's apple and chin was definitely a rigorous but rewarding climb.

hiking
Saturday, October 07, 2017

conditions : wet + windy + leaves
Trail : loop starting from ccc road @ up maple ridge @ long trail (forehead to chin) @ down sunset ridge
stats : 5h (including breaks) / 12km / 867m
cost : 4$ US per person, they also accept Canadian money.
This is my 4th hike ever (my biggest yet), it was a great personnal challenge.
Great advice from the park ranger : start going up maple ridge in these wet conditions, it would've been very dangerous going down those slippery rock walls.
Very hard on the knees going down such technical terrain, using hiking poles normally help but the ground is so irregular we could use them only near the bottom.

trail running
Sunday, August 27, 2017

Great hike and views, though highly trafficked on the Sunset Ridge portion. Would recommend going counter-clockwise, as others have reported.

hiking
Thursday, August 24, 2017

I did this loop counterclockwise just like at least two other reviewer's had suggested. It was fantastic. Completely socked in with fog for the first 3 1/2 hours, it finally cleared and the mountains revealed themselves. Next time I'm going to head up the Cliff Trail.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

amazing!!! the way up via sunset ridge is relatively easy, but the way down on the Half way house trail is another story!! Very technical and slippery but the views were incredible!! Loved every minutes of the day!!! I will hike it counterclockwise next time! Happy trails

Sunday, June 11, 2017

G

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This is a tough hike that begins at Underhill State Park, which had plenty of parking available for Memorial Day weekend in 2017 and charged $4/person. Because the park has tent camping, there are bathrooms and potable water available at the trailhead. The total time actually hiking was about 6.5 hours, and the actual distance of the hike was about 9.7 miles. GPS systems will calculate the distance as if this area were flat and show a distance of 8.7 miles.

My girlfriend and I did the Mt. Mansfield loop counterclockwise, which is the direction I would recommend because the Maple Ridge Trail is the most technical part of the hike and would be more difficult to do descending than ascending. Two parts of the Maple Ridge Trail stand out as scariest. One is a rock wall that has only limited grips and toe holds, and a fall off that wall would cause serious harm. I took off my backpack for that part and still found it to be scary. I wish they would add some rebar grips or a ladder there. The second part is a chasm about six feet deep that you have to leap over. As with climbing the rock wall, there is no margin for error with this leap. You have to commit and then execute properly. The average adult may find it frightening but will be able to do it safely. I would not recommend it for small children or for anyone with limited mobility. Because of these two challenging sections, I would not recommend this hike in slippery conditions where the rocks would be wet or icy.

The views on the hike are spectacular once you get to the rocky outcrops on the Maple Ridge Trail and will continue to impress on the Long Trail and for most of the descent on the Sunset Ridge Trail. The Sunset Ridge Trail gets much more foot traffic than the Maple Ridge Trail because most hikers from Underhill do an out and back taking the Sunset Ridge Trail toward the peak of Mount Mansfield.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Well kept and indicated! Did do the loop trail, but walked from p2 to taylor lodge for day1, long trail to butler lodge for day2 and back to p2 for day3! Nice little hicking, still had a lot of snow up to butler lodge! The lodge are clean and well done.

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