Location: Underhill, Vermont
Latitude: N44° 31.737′
Longitude: W72° 50.566′
Elevation: 4393 ft / 1339 m
Trails Featured: Laura Crowles and Sunset Ridge Loop
Dog Friendly: Yes
Trail Length: 6 miles round trip
Amount of Use: Moderate to High
Completion Time: About 4.5 hours
Difficulty: Medium to Difficult
Activities: Hiking and Scrambling
Another of my favorite, more difficult hikes, is Mount Mansfield, located in Underhill, Vermont. It’s infamous for it’s face like shape. It’s highest peak, known as “The chin”, reaches up to 4,393 ft, making it the tallest mountain in the state. The view from the top is incomparable to all the others. You’re so close to the clouds that you could almost touch them as you gaze towards the ocean blue sky and the mountains, lakes, and valleys around you. There are several trails that you can chose to begin your ascent on either the Underhill or Stowe side.
My favorite loop, which is featured in this post, is the Laura Crowles and Sunset Ridge loop. As you ascend the Laura Crowles trail you’re engulfed with Vermont’s diverse nature and the forest, which luminates from the sun. Once you’ve scrambled to the top you can observe one of two areas that have an Arctic Tundra. The Green Mountain Club has placed a board across certain areas of plant life in order to contribute to the conservation of this rare and sensitive zone. They also ask that you keep your dogs leashed so long as you remain at the top. Even if your dog is well behaved it’s always a good idea to be safe. As you make your way past “the Chin” toward the Sunset Ridge trail you’ll notice how incredibly open it is. While you descend, you can enjoy the landscapes and skyline for a the majority of the time until you are suddenly immersed into the enchanted forest once more.
Here are some things to look for if you decide to hike these routs:
- The Laura Crowles trail is steep and there will be many instances where you will have to scramble up rock faces. It’s not rock climbing, but for the inexperience rock scramblers, it might feel that way.
- Make sure you know yours and your pets limits.
- Ski poles are a great accessory to bring to assist with balance for these trails.
- Wear comfortable shoes. It’s a 4.5 hour hike. Bring shoes that offer support and still have their treads so you can grip on to the trails better.
- Know the weather conditions. At such long distances and high elevation you’re exposed to weather. Be wary of low laying clouds as they make it difficult to find descending trails at the top. There’s nothing quite like descending and realizing you parked your car on the other side of the mountain.
- Watch for areas marked with string. The GMC has marked areas with string to let hikers know not to walk beyond that area. This helps reduce traffic on the sensitive plant life at the top.
Directions and other related information can be found here:
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