Mt. Mansfield

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Description

  • Driving Distance: 80 miles, approx. 1.5 hrs
  • Hiking Distance: several routes available, 4-6 miles along the Long Trail
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to strenuous, depending on chosen route and time of year

Mt. Mansfield is the tallest mountain in Vermont at 4,393 ft. Its name is derived from the fact that, when viewed from the side, the ridge looks like the profile of a human face. The Long Trail takes you by the adam's apple, over the chin, upper and lower lips, by the nose, and over the forehead along a rocky, open ridge. The ridge stays above treeline for over two miles, offering beautiful views of three states-New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire. On a clear day, one can enjoy views of the Adirondaks, Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, and even as far as the Presidentials. The Chin is the highest point and makes for an excellent lunch spot.

Driving Directions

  • To Smuggler's Notch/ Stowe Mountain Resort trailhead: Take W. Wheelock out of Hanover to I91 South. Turn onto I89 at White River Junct. and continue on the highway (for the bulk of the trip)to exit 10 (Waterbury/Stowe). Take a right onto Rt. 100. Soon after crossing into Stowe, take a left onto Moscow Rd. Follow for about 1.5 miles, then take a right onto Barrows Rd. At the end of this road, turn right onto Luce Hill Rd. Follow for about 0.5 miles and turn left onto Rt. 108. This takes you to Stowe Mountain Resort and Smugglers Notch. There is a parking lot at the base of Smuggler's Notch and at the base of the ski trails at the Gondola. In winter the road is closed just after the gondola parking lot. If you park there you can walk 0.3 miles down the road to the Long Trail South trailhead on your left. The trailhead for the Hell Brook Trail is further on.
  • To Lake Mansfield trailhead: Follow the directions above to Stowe. Turn onto Moscow Rd. At Barrows Rd., continue straight. Moscow Rd. Turns into Nebraska Valley Rd. Follow this road for about 4 miles. The road ends at the Lake Mansfield Trout Club, where there is an upper parking lot for hikers.

Hiking Directions

  • Long Trail South: Start at the Long Trail trailhead near the base of Smuggler's Notch. This route offers a pretty direct climb to the chin. The trail climbs moderately up, passing close to the ski trails before excellent views are afforded. The trail then passes Taft Lodge at 1.7 miles, then ascends steeply to the summit at 2.3 miles. The last pitch is very steep and involves some scrambling. In winter, this route is the most accessible up the mountain, and the most likely to be well packed and traveled. The Taft Lodge is an excellent lunch stop, and the trail is mostly protected until the last 0.5 miles or so. Conditions on top can be dangerous, though.
  • Haselton Trail: Start at the base of the Gondola lift at the Stowe Mt. Resort. The Haselton Trail is one of the easiest and most direct routes to the ridge. It threads through the woods between ski trails, finally emerging on the Nose dive trail. It then turns onto the Toll Rd. and follows this gradually up to the information building below the nose. To reach the Chin from here, follow the Long Trail North along the ridge for about two miles.
  • Long Trail North: Start at the Lake Mansfield trailhead. The Lake Mansfield trail climbs moderately for about 1.5 miles to Taylor Lodge. From here, take the Long Trail North or the Clarabow Trail. The Clarabow trail is an alternative route which ends back on the Long Trail further north. It is a short,fun and slightly more challenging route that winds through a rocky valley and a cave! Continue north on the Long Trail over the forehead. This is a moderately challenging climb involving ladders and some scambling. A bypass trail is recommended in poor weather. As you ascend the forehead you break out above treeline, and there are some beautiful views, especially of the Green Mountains to the south. Look out for blueberries by the trail if you are hiking in mid-to-late August! The Long Trail continues on to the information building, and then on along the ridge to the chin.

Suggested trips/loops

  • Smuggler's Notch to Mt. Mansfield Trout Club: About 11 miles, 6+ hours

This is a full Long Trail traverse of the ridge. It can be done in either direction, although it is perhaps more climatic heading north. The section from the base of the forehead to Taylor Lodge can seem long at the end of the day. This trip also starts and ends at different places, so transportation should be organized accordingly.

  • Haselton-Long Trail Loop: About 6 miles, approx. 4-5 hours

This is an easier loop which starts and ends near the base of Smuggler's Notch and the Stowe Mountain Resort, which makes transportation logistics easy.

Trip Reports

3/29/14: Group: Annelise Brinck-Johnsen '17, Matt Bossart '14, Shivam Chadha '17, Wanda Czerwinski '17, Dana Wieland '17, and Angela Liu '17 led by Paige Wilson '14 and Loring Schaible '17

Weather: Fairly warm, ~20s-30s, overcast, very windy and cold at the top

Route: Long Trail

Time: 5.5 hours, with a very short break for lunch

Notes: We left campus at 8:45am and arrived at the Stowe gondola parking lot by 10:30am. We walked to the trailhead and started hiking by 11am. A fantastic crew of 8 summited but the view was not so great, on account of the clouds. There was a lot of snow, right from the start. The snow in the woods was probably between 3-6 feet deep at all times. Fortunately, the snow was somewhat packed and we were able to hike on top of it although everyone stepped through up to their knee, thigh, and hip a few times, some more than others. We passed several snowboarders on their way down (watch out, they travel fast through the woods) and a few other hikers. The woods was gorgeous, with lots of beautiful snow and ice formations, along with many majestic, huge trees. At some points, it was hard to tell where the trail was because of the snow, but we managed to work our way through. At about 1 mile, the trail passes within several yards of one of the Stowe ski trails. We ate lunch at Taft Lodge (at 1.7 miles) after summiting to the roof around 1:15pm. The hike was fairly moderate up to Taft Lodge but the 0.6 miles from the Lodge to the summit were VERY steep. Some people used snowshoes, which were especially helpful in the less traveled paths in the woods while others were fine without them. The last 100 yards to the summit were extremely windy so we were glad to have extra layers, but we made it there by 2:15pm. Also, the path was overblown with snow in areas, but we managed to follow the tracks of some other hikers to make it safely to the summit and back to treeline. The descent was a great deal of fun as we all took turns sliding down the steepest parts on our butts and fronts, while others chose to run and/or roll down, which was equally fun. We made it back to the car by 4:30 and home by 6:15pm.

7/4/2016

  • Group: Adam Burnett '18 (leader), Michelle Dundek '18 (heeler), Keenan Wood '18, Lily Zhang '18, Riley Carbone '18
  • Weather: Weather was sunny, dry, and warm. The summit ridge was moderately windy and chilly when we stopped moving.
  • Route: We parked at the Stowe gondola parking lot, ascended via the Haselton Trail, traversed the ridge from Nose to Chin, descended via the Long Trail, then had a brief roadwalk back to the vehicle. It was about 6.3 miles total. This includes a neat detour we took on a side trail called 'Subway'. The Subway was a .1-mile loop off the Long Trail just north of the Chin. It wound among big, jagged rocks, and true to its name, even passed through some rock tunnels of sorts. It was rough but short, and tons of fun for our group.
  • Trail Conditions: The trailhead for the Haselton Trail was somewhat difficult to find. We looked around for a little while before a construction worker at the ski resort directed us to the tralihead. The trails were well maintained. From the Nose to the Chin was heavily trafficked because of the toll road.
  • Time: We left campus at 8:15 AM and were back at 6:15 PM. The drive was 1.5 hours each way. We were on the trail for 6.25 hours. We took our time to appreciate the views and eat lunch.

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