In the past four months I’ve done more than a dozen hikes to mountain summits in New England: a couple in Maine and several in Vermont and New Hampshire. One of my favorites so far are the Mt Mansfield hiking trails, the highest peak in the state of Vermont (4,393 feet/1,339 meters).
Mount Mansfield is located in Smugglers Notch State Park in the Green Mountains, near the pretty town of Stowe, where you can spend a night or two. Multiple Mt Mansfield hiking trails start on Route 100, an amazingly scenic route that runs from the south of Vermont all the way to the north.
The mountain’s shape, when looked at from the east, looks like a man’s face. The Adam’s Apple, Chin and Nose are a few examples of mountain tops along the ridge that are named after facial features.
Mt Mansfield Hiking Trails: Up and Down
I hiked up along the Hell Brook Trail, which is the shortest and steepest way to get to the summit. It literally runs straight up the mountain and the hike often involves some handwork and rock scrambling. It’s quite slippery, too, which makes it all the more challenging. I loved it, and the views were pretty fabulous.
Sometimes the trail runs in the actual Hell Brook and because of its wet- and steepness it is suggested to hike up and come down via another trail.
Another of the popular Mt Mansfield hiking trails is the Long Trail (or at least a short section of it), which was my route down. The Long Trail is an extremely popular trail, kind of taking the pressure of the Hell Brook Trail. On my way up I was virtually alone. My girlfriend was there too though!
The summit, the roof of Vermont, was surprisingly crowded after that lonely hike up. There were dozens and dozens of people hanging out, taking a rest and eating lunch. The views were nothing less than spectacular, as you may have expected. You could see forever, all the way to New York State to the west and Canada to the north. Again, I loved it.
The way down on the Long Trail was, indeed, longer. And much more crowded.
A short walk on the road later, I was back at my car, tired but satisfied after a great 5.6-mile (9-kilometer) hike in Vermont’s Green Mountains. It took me about three hours and twenty minutes to complete the loop, including food and rest breaks.