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Sunset Ridge Trail

Difficult

Trail

1.7 mile 2.7 kilometer point to point
47% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,891' 576 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 4,240' 1,292 m
Low: 2,349' 716 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 21% (12°)
Max Grade: 49% (26°)

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Trail shared by Chris Jones

This beautiful path showcases a mile of alpine views up the western flank of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont's tallest rock pile.

Chris Jones

Features Fall Colors · Views

The state park does close during the winter, and a large portion of the road is unmaintained. To access this trail in the winter will require an additional 0.75 miles of running to get to the base of the CCC Road or Eagle Cut Trail.

Description

Beginning at Underhill State Park, follow either the CCC Road or the Eagle Cut Trail (which trims off 0.3 miles) to the actual trailhead about a mile up the CCC Road. From here, the trail dives into the woods, soon reaching a junction with the Laura Cowles Trail on the right. Sunset Ridge Trail continues on and plays leapfrog with a woodland stream a few times. About 0.7 miles in from the trailhead, the short access trail to Cantilever Rock snakes off to the left. The side trail takes you 0.2 miles out to see a precariously balanced rock that looks like it'll take a stiff wind to render the trail name pointless.

From this point, the trail begins to switchback its way up the alpine ridge. Once you break onto the ridge, you are at the mercy of the elements until you descend back from your summit bid. There is no real shelter unless you hide behind the odd rock outcrop. The ridge ascent is a true joy though, with phenomenal views of the Mansfield Ridgeline to the front and Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the rear.

After about 1.7 miles, the trail veers sharply right and climbs directly parallel to "The Chin". At 1.8 miles, the trail reconvenes with the Laura Cowles Trail coming in from the right. From here, it is a short scramble to the Long Trail. Take the Long Trail northbound on a short climb to the summit. Upon reaching the top, reward yourself by taking in the phenomenal views! To the north is Canada, and as you look eastward you can see Big Jay and Smugglers Notch (Madonna). Off the cliff to the east is Stowe Resort with the White Mountains in the distance, dominated primarily by the Franconia Ridgeline. To the south is Mansfield Ridgeline, Camel's Hump, Mt. Ellen, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Abe, and in the far distance you can see Killington. To the west still lays Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes

#5154

Overall
  4.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#32

in Vermont

#5,154

Overall
229 Views Last Month
7,832 Since Mar 21, 2017
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Photos

Don't be discouraged by the Sunset Ridge Trail's strenuous climbing and multiple false summits. The view up top is worth it all!
Mar 30, 2017 near Morristown, VT
Toward the base of Mount Mansfield, the Sunset Ridge Trail traverses thick forests rife with roots and rocks.
Apr 4, 2017 near Jericho, VT
Clouds float over the Sunset Ridge Trail heading up to Mt. Mansfield.
Mar 30, 2017 near Morristown, VT
The Chin of Mt. Mansfield can be seen from the Sunset Ridge Trail.
Apr 3, 2017 near Morristown, VT
Mansfield Ridge features the Nose (with TV towers; i.e. "NoseHairs") and the Forehead when seen from the Sunset Ridge Trail.
Apr 3, 2017 near Morristown, VT
About 85% of the way up the Sunset Ridge Trail, you'll have to navigate this rocky bit that winds through short evergreens. While the trees block the view of the summit, you'll be rewarded with expansive views from the top!
Apr 4, 2017 near Morristown, VT

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