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Sunset Ridge Out-and-Back

Difficult
 4.8 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This is the quintessential Vermont run, offering spectacular 360° views as your reward for climbing a steep pitch.


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.2

KM

52%

Runnable

4,342' 1,323 m

High

1,845' 562 m

Low

2,496' 761 m

Up

2,491' 759 m

Down

18%

Avg Grade (10°)

51%

Max Grade (27°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features River/Creek · Views

Overview

One of the must-do runs in the Northeast, Mt Mansfield via Sunset Ridge Trail is an experience one will soon not forget. In total, it is about 6.5 miles via an out and back, taking the runner through forest lands, over rivers, and past a few false summits on the way to the true summit.

The second portion of the route is wonderful, with minor rock scrambling and a lot of running on exposed rock faces. The summit itself is the highest peak in Vermont and offers 360° panoramic views of the surrounding areas including the town of Stowe.

Need to Know

Parking fills up extremely quickly, especially on weekends. Over 40,000 take this route annually.

Description

Start your journey on Eagle Cut Trail, just a few steps north of the Underhill State Park parking lot. Eagle Cut Trail is an easy trail that first bisects some vehicle switchbacks on Mountain Road and then follows Mountain Road itself. Not much to see here as it is a means to an end.

A little under a mile later, end your trek on Eagle Cut Trail and CCC Road (also called Mountain Road) and get on Sunset Ridge Trail (there is signage for this trail and the Laura Cowles Trail).

The fun begins here as you traverse through forest, alongside many streams with multiple bridge crossings, and the incline starts in earnest.

After the low woods, the trail emerges into mountain evergreens and eventually exposed rock face up to the summit. Eventually, the trail breaks through the treeline as well.

When Sunset Ridge Trail concludes near the top, be sure to make a quick left onto the Long Trail (Mansfield to VT108) to truly reach the summit and bask in the wonderful view.

Descend the same route, or for a longer descent and crest running, follow the Long Trail to CCC Road and back to the Underhill Parking area.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lou Poulas

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 6 votes

#727

Overall
  4.8 from 6 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
17%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Vermont

#727

Overall
547 Views Last Month
10,070 Since Apr 4, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
86%
14%

Photos

The summit of Mount Mansfield leaves little to be desired.
Mar 30, 2017 near Morristown, VT
You can drive to the summit of Mt Mansfield or or hike the 2,500 ft in elevation over a one of kind 5.1 mile trail.... you know what to do!
Feb 28, 2018 near Morristown, VT
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
This is pretty typical for the Eagle Cut Trail.
Apr 4, 2017 near Jericho, VT
Clouds float over the Sunset Ridge Trail heading up to Mt. Mansfield.
Mar 30, 2017 near Morristown, VT

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Jun 10, 2019
Stavros Mitchelides