August 28, 2004
Mt Mansfield, VT
Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont as well as the most frequently visited mountain in Vermont. From the East its ridge resembles the profile of a human face, and the names of its prominent features reflect this: Adams Apple, Chin (highest point), Nose and Forehead. We decided to start in Underhill State Park which is west of the mountain and take the Sunset Ridge Trail, which follows the Sunset Ridge above treeline for about one mile.
Directions to the trailhead:Take Exit 11 off I89 onto Rt 117. Almost immediately take a right on Governor Peck Road. Follow it to the end and take a left onto Brown's Trace Road. Follow this to the end and take a right onto Rt 15. Go a short distance to a fork, take the right fork (River Road) to Underhill Center. There the road continues with a new name, Pleasant Valley Road. After about a mile Mountain Road forks off to the right, follow it to the park.
This is the profile of the hike from our GPS.
The view of Mt Mansfield as you approach the Underhill State Park.
The trail is well marked starting in the Park. Just follow the signs through several trails that cut across a winding fireroad to the real start of the Sunset Ridge trail. Less than 3/4 of a mile from the start is a side path that leads to Cantilever rock pictured here. It is @ 30 feet long sticking straight out, balanced only at one end.
We started the hike with the summit in the clouds with a forecast calling for showers. Here we stopped for a rest at Cantilever rock to enjoy the views.
As you climb higher the trail climbs over bolders and slabs of rock.
Another break to give the dogs water. Once above treeline we only came across a few puddles, and no streams, however there are several spots below treeline that you can fill up at on your descent.
Still couldn't see the summit at this point , but at least the showers were holding off. The rocks were slippery from rain the night before, but the trail was in good condition.
One more stop to give the boys a rest before we started out for the last leg.
As we reached the summit the clouds lifted giving us views of the area.
The boys decided that a good size puddle would be just the thing to cool down in. As usual they were the center of attention even though there were 30 to 40 people on the summit.
Here is Julie (aka Cantdog) enjoying the views and her lunch..
The longer we stayed on the summit the more blue sky we saw.
Geri checking out the views while another hiker chats with the boys. We estimated that about half of the hikers we saw were French Canadian.
This is a view of the ridge from the top.
More views. Mt Mansfield has the largest expanse of artic vegitation in VT.
And still more. Although there was a good breeze at the top it was very warm. Jackets were not needed today.
A view of the ridge as we start descending. The alpine zone has creas of beautiful alpine flowers to view.
The intersection with the Laura Cowles trail which can be used to get below tree line quickly if the weather changes on you. the ridge behind Geri and Julie is the Sunset Ridge.
Looking back up the moutain as we descend you see the summit (the Chin) to the left of the large rock mound. If you look hard you can see people standing there.
The Sunset Ridge trail is above treeline for quite some time offering great views on a clear day.
After we returned to the park we washed up in the clean restrooms and enjoyed a snack.
Can you guess where we stopped on our way back to the campground?.
How could we pass up an ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry's! Julie (left) and Geri (right) were all smiles afterwards. The manufacturing plant is located in Stowe VT and offers tours.
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