Let’s HikeVT! We’re featuring easy, moderate, and difficult trails on the west side of Vermont’s highest peak: Mt. Mansfield. Known originally as Mozdebiwajo, or Moosehead Mountain, by the local Abenaki, Mansfield is one of the state’s most recognizable and beloved mountains.
This area has a lot of hiking and trails alongside each other, so we strongly encourage you to bring a paper map on your hike.
The accessible trail is part of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in nearby Jeffersonville.
- Nebraska Notch – EASY
- Cantilever Rock – MODERATE
- Maple Ridge Trail > Sunset Ridge Trail Loop – DIFFICULT
- Lamoille Valley Rail Trail – EASY, ACCESSIBLE
From Stevensville Rd Trailhead:
Nebraska Notch Trail to beaver ponds – EASY
» 2.8 mi round trip, approx. 470 ft elevation gain
From the parking area, walk past the gate up the grassy old road until you see the signed trailhead on your left. When the trail immediately splits, take the Nebraska Notch Trail to the right.
The trail is a sustained gradual climb mostly along an old woods road. At 1.4 mi you will reach a bridge crossing by a beaver pond. There is a narrow path leading to the edge of the pond. Enjoy looking up at the steep slopes of the Notch above you and looking for signs of beaver activity!
If you want a slightly longer hike, continue up the Nebraska Notch Trail another .1 mi until it ends at the white-blazed Long Trail. Turn right on the Long Trail South and follow along the edge of the beaver pond. You will come to another smaller pond with nice views of the cliffs above. Return the way you came.
Driving Directions to Stevensville Road parking lot:
From Burlington/Interstate 89: Head south on I-89 S. Get off at exit 11 for US-2 W (also x11 from I-89 N). Turn onto US-2 W, then quickly turn right onto VT-117 W. Take an immediate right on Gov. Peck Highway. When road ends, turn left on Browns Trace Rd. When road ends, turn right on VT-15 E. In .5 mi, turn right on River Rd. Pass through Underhill Center and turn right on Stevensville Rd just after the Underhill Town Hall. Stevensville Rd ends at the trailhead parking lot.
From Jeffersonville: From the rotary, head south on VT-108/VT-15 W. Turn left on VT-108/Church St. Pass the post office and turn right on Upper Pleasant Valley Rd. Merge onto Pleasant Valley Rd. In 6.3 mi, turn left onto Stevensville Rd just after Underhill Central School. Stevensville Rd ends at the trailhead parking lot.
From Underhill State Park:
Cantilever Rock – MODERATE
» 3.6 mi round trip, approx. 1,200 ft elevation gain
This hike takes you to a true natural wonder sure to boggle the mind and dazzle the imagination!
From the parking area, follow the Eagle Cut Trail to the CCC Road, an old woods road. Turn left on Sunset Ridge Trail, which is the first trail to split off on the left. Stay on Sunset Ridge when the Laura Cowles Trail turns off to the right.
Continue up the Sunset Ridge Trail for .8 mi. At the sign for Cantilever Rock, turn left and follow the short spur trail to the viewing point. Please stay on the marked path and do not climb above or around Cantilever Rock. Return the way you came.
Mansfield Ridge via Maple Ridge > Sunset Ridge Loop– DIFFICULT
» 8.8 mi round trip, approx. 2,700 ft elevation gain
This challenging loop is a Vermont classic, taking you to the highest point in the state!
NOTE: Do not attempt this route if there is a threat of thunderstorms, as route is above treeline for 1.6 mi and offers little protection from wind, rain, and lightening. Wayfinding on Sunset Ridge will be significantly more difficult in the rain or fog.
Maple Ridge and Sunset Ridge are extremely rugged, requiring the use of hands while hiking. They may not be appropriate for people with an intense fear of heights. Maple Ridge is not passable by many dogs and children. We highly recommend going in the direction described below in case Maple Ridge is not passable and you need to turn back.
From the parking area, follow the Eagle Cut Trail to the CCC Road, an old woods road. Stay on the wide open CCC Road as various other trails split off uphill. The road ends at an intersection with Maple Ridge and Frost Trails. Turn left on the Maple Ridge Trail and start climbing. The trail dips in and out of the trees, becoming more and more rocky and exposed. As you get above treeline, please take care to walk only on rock, as the plants are easily permanently damaged by foot traffic.
NOTE: The trail crosses a narrow, unbridged gap you need to leap over. Many dogs and children are not able to cross this gap! If you have doubts, turn around.
The Maple Ridge Trail ends at The Forehead, the northernmost point on the Mansfield Ridge. Turn left on the white-blazed Long Trail and follow it for 1.5 mi along the ridgeline. You’ll pass the small Visitor Center at the top of the auto toll road and see near-constant 360-degree views.
At 1.5 mi, you reach the intersection with the Sunset Ridge Trail. You can turn downhill now or continue another .2 mi on the LT to the Chin, the highest point on the mountain. If you choose to go to the Chin, backtrack on the LT to this intersection when you are ready to descend.
From the LT, head downhill on the blue-blazed Sunset Ridge Trail. Take an almost immediate right to stay on Sunset Ridge when Laura Cowles splits off to your left. Stay on Sunset Ridge as it descends 2.1 mi back to the CCC Road. If you’d like another detour, check out Cantilever Rock when you pass the spur trail (see Moderate Hike above). At the CCC Road, turn right and pick up the Eagle Cut Trail to return to the parking lot.
Driving Directions to Underhill State park:
From Burlington/Interstate 89: Head south on I-89 S. Get off at exit 11 for US-2 W (also x11 from I-89 N). Turn onto US-2 W, then quickly turn right onto VT-117 W. Take an immediate right on Gov. Peck Highway. When road ends, turn left on Browns Trace Rd. When road ends, turn right on VT-15 E. In .5 mi, turn right on River Rd. After passing Underhill Central School, turn right on Mountain Rd, which ends at Underhill State Park.
From Jeffersonville: From the rotary, head south on VT-108/VT-15 W. Turn left on VT-108/Church St. Pass the post office and turn right on Upper Pleasant Valley Rd. Merge onto Pleasant Valley Rd. In 5.6 mi, turn left onto Mountain Rd. If you see the school you just missed it. Mountain Rd ends at Underhill State Park.
NOTE: Underhill State Park closes the second Monday in October. If the park gate is closed, park in the parking area before it. This does not add significant mileage to the hikes until snowfall, when the road is not fully plowed.
From Jeffersonville Trailhead of Lamoille Valley Rail Trail:
Lamoille Valley Rail Trail – ACCESSIBLE/EASY
This recreation path used to be a railroad bed but has been converted to a multi-use path great for biking, walking, and travel by folks with most mobility aids. This is but one of many great options on this 17-mile trail.
Note that this section is crushed stone that occasionally has a grass strip down the middle.
From this trailhead, you can head east for miles of trail, starting in the woods, then passing into open farm fields. The trail is very slightly sloped, so you will be going slightly uphill as you go east and slightly downhill as you return.
You can also head west for a lovely stretch along the Lamoille River. In about .6 mi you will reach the western end of the completed LVRT. The trail is very slightly sloped, so you will be going slightly downhill as you go west and slightly uphill as you return.
Bonus: this trailhead is right by the picturesque Poland Covered Bridge!
For more information, see the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail website at: https://www.lvrt.org/along-the-trail.
Driving Directions to LVRT parking lot on Cambridge Junction Rd in Jeffersonville:
From Underhill: Head north on VT-15 E. Stay right on VT-15 E at junction with VT-104 and stay on it through Jeffersonville. .7 mi after the rotary, turn left on Cambridge Junction Rd. Continue straight on Cambridge Jct Extension. The parking lot is on your left immediately after the turn for the covered bridge.
From Johnson: Head west on VT-15 W. In Cambridge Junction (before the Jeffersonville rotary), turn right on Bourn Rd. Turn right on Cambridge Junction Rd. Continue straight on Cambridge Jct Extension. The parking lot is on your left immediately after the turn for the covered bridge.
Note: Be sure to use the trailhead at these coordinates. There is a second Jeffersonville trailhead (the Park & Ride), but the very short path between the parking area and the trail is slightly steeper than the trail itself and may not be easily passable with certain mobility aids.
Bonus: this trailhead is right by the picturesque Poland Covered Bridge!
Where to eat and drink nearby:
- Palmer Lane Maple in Jericho for cremees and all things maple
- Jericho Café & Tavern in Jericho for farm-to-table post-hike dinner or pre-hike brunch
- Wells Corner Market in Underhill Center for snacks and country store goods
- The Cupboard Deli in Jeffersonville for cremees, baked goods, and to-go sandwiches
- Morse Mountain Grille at Smugglers’ Notch Resort for lunch or dinner