If you’ve done any traveling along the East Coast, you know the mountain ranges don’t compare in size to the mountain ranges of the West. But they’re still worth visiting and exploring. The hiking trails range from easy to strenuous, and the views will take your breath away. When you visit Vermont, you want to make sure you visit Mount Mansfield. The tallest mountain in Vermont, this peak offers stunning views over 4,000 feet above sea level.
Let’s take a closer look at Mount Mansfield and why you should visit!
Where Is the Tallest Mountain in Vermont?
Underhill, a town of about 3,100 residents, is home to Mount Mansfield in north-central Vermont. Stowe and Cambridge also have parts of the mountain range within their boundaries.
The mountain range is popular for outdoor recreation, including hiking and skiing. Stowe Mountain Resort and Underhill State Park are nearby.
If traveling from the Burlington area, take Interstate 89 South to exit 10. Then turn onto Highway 100 North and follow to Highway 108 North. Turn left onto Toll Road, and the visitor center will be about 4 or 5 miles down the road. From Burlington, the trip is about an hour and 15 minutes.
About Mount Mansfield
With a summit of 4,395 feet, Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont, but it’s still dwarfed in size by the towering peaks west of the Mississippi. Alaska, Colorado, California, and other states in the West have peaks from 13,000 feet to 20,000 feet above sea level.
Even along the East Coast, Mount Mansfield is quite a bit smaller than the Great Smoky Mountains peaks in North Carolina and Tennessee, which stand over 6,000 feet above sea level. But in the Northeast, Mount Mansfield can hold its own as one of the more than 100 peaks rising about 4,000 feet above sea level.
It’s probably most famous for its “human profile” of a forehead, nose, lips, chin, and Adam’s apple when viewed from the east or west. Mount Mansfield is also one of only three locations in Vermont where true alpine tundra survives from the Ice Ages. The summit still holds about 200 acres, and in 1980, the National Park Service (NPS) designated Mount Mansfield Natural Area as a national natural landmark.
Can You Drive to the Top of Mount Mansfield?
The 4.5-mile Auto Toll Road begins at Stowe Mountain Resort. The twisting road has several hairpin turns but offers stunning views of Vermont. The landscape is spectacular whether you’re driving in the spring to see the blooms and luscious greenery or in the fall to see the foliage in color.
The road ends at the Mount Mansfield Visitor Center, which isn’t the summit. So if you want to actually see Vermont from its tallest point, you’ll have to take a hike.
But the hike isn’t for the faint of heart. Rocks, steep grades, and tricky ledges are all part of the climb to the top.
How Much Does It Cost to Drive Up Mount Mansfield?
One automobile and drive is $24. Any additional passengers over age 5 are $9 each. The Auto Toll Road is only open seasonally, from May to October, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed as most roads aren’t paved. The paved road portion only extends about a quarter of a mile.
Can You Hike to the Top of Mount Mansfield?
There are numerous trails to reach the summit of Mount Mansfield. One of the most difficult ones is the Mount Mansfield Loop Trail, which begins in Underhill State Park. This 7.3-mile loop is only recommended for experienced hikers due to tricky footwork, intense climbing, and even a jump over a chasm.
Another trail is the 4.8-mile out-and-back Long Trail, which requires rock scrambling and contains mostly natural staircases. The Laurel Cowles Trail to Sunset Ridge Trail is another hard trail with lots of rock scrambling and steep grades.
Things to Do Near Mount Mansfield
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the area around Mount Mansfield is your paradise. Not only are the views spectacular, but you’ll appreciate all of the outdoor activities available every season.
Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum
About: Open Thursday to Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum is free with a suggested donation of $5 per adult. The museum’s mission is “to collect, preserve, and celebrate Vermont’s skiing and snowboarding history.”
Items range from about 275 pairs of boots to about 400 pairs of skis to equipment used in the operation of ski areas. There are approximately 8,000 preserved items here.
Smugglers Notch State Park
About: There’s a day use fee to visit Smugglers Notch State Park in Stowe, Vt. If you’re interested in camping, 20 tent sites are available.
In addition to camping, picnicking, hiking, and mountain biking are common outdoor activities. This pass in the Green Mountains is lined with towering 1,000-foot cliffs for stunning scenery all around. Note the winding road leading to the state park is closed in the winter.
Stowe Mountain Resort
About: The Stowe Mountain Resort is where you can access the Auto Toll Road to drive up the tallest mountain in Vermont, Mount Mansfield. But it’s also worth visiting in itself. The resort features dining, shopping, lodging options, spa packages, and childcare.
In addition, you can book ski and snowboard lessons. There’s no reason you would need to leave the resort to enjoy the beauty of Vermont in any season.
Laughing Moon Chocolates
About: Although Laughing Moon Chocolates will ship goodies, you’ll want to stop in the retail store when visiting Stowe. It’s open Sundays to Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The truffles, caramels, buttercreams, marshmallows, fudge, and buttercrunch are cooked in-house with natural ingredients. The “sweet specialties” include chocolate caramel apples, chocolate-covered Oreos, and homemade marshmallows. You’ll definitely want to take a box of sweets home with you!
Moss Glen Falls
About: Most visitors can hike to Moss Glen Falls to enjoy the 85-foot cascading waterfall. From the trailhead to the falls is only about a quarter-mile. But if you keep hiking, the entire loop is over 4 miles.
Moss Glen Falls is the tallest waterfall in Vermont, so pair it with a visit to the tallest mountain in Vermont for a fun-filled day of outdoor adventure. Get to the trailhead by driving about five minutes from Stowe’s historic Village.
Conquer Vermont’s Mount Mansfield
If you can’t hike to the summit of Vermont’s tallest peak, Mount Mansfield is still worth a visit. You can drive the beautiful Auto Toll Road, enjoy the scenery, pack a picnic, and relax outside the visitor center.
Or, if you’re more active, there are plenty of hikes to keep you moving and enjoying Vermont’s outdoors. You’ll certainly feel accomplished if you attempt and reach the summit of Mount Mansfield. Looking out across Vermont’s alpine tundra at 4,395 feet above sea level is simply breathtaking.
Have you ventured out to Mount Mansfield before? If so, what was the best part of your visit?
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