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