Vermont’s Highest Peak
Welcome to Vermont’s most unique mountain summit. Not only is Mt. Mansfield’s summit the highest in Vermont, it also supports the largest of only two alpine ecosystems in Vermont. From anywhere along the ridgeline, the mountain offers breathtaking views of Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, the White Mountains, the Green Mountains and Mont Royal in Quebec.
Hiking from the Gondola SkyRide
The main trail along the ridgeline of Mt. Mansfield is a section of the Long Trail, which is a moderately difficult route. This section of trail may be accessed from the Gondola SkyRide:
· The hike from the top of the Gondola SkyRide up the Cliff Trail is extremely challenging. Wear proper hiking boots and expect tough, rocky terrain.
· For a moderate hike between the Gondola SkyRide terminals, follow the gravel work road that winds along the Switchback and Perry Merrill ski trails. Be alert for maintenance vehicles.
Both the Adirondacks to the west and the White Mountains to the east can be viewed from the Visitor’s Center at the top of the Auto Toll Road and anywhere along the ridge. We suggest a short walk to Frenchman’s Pile where you can see for 360 degrees. Ask summit caretakers for directions.
Vegetation on Mt. Mansfield
When hiking Mt. Mansfield, as you ascend the mountainside, you will pass through numerous forest ecosystems. At low elevations, the forest around you is composed of northern hardwoods—maples, beech and birch. As you climb further, you will enter a transition zone of hardwoods and evergreens. Near the summit, the forest is primarily balsam fir and spruce.
The ridgeline ecosystem is most spectacular! It is an arctic-alpine zone whose vegetation parallels that of arctic areas 1,500 miles to the north. High winds, extreme temperatures and high precipitation have allowed these tiny outposts of arctic life to grow on this summit. The vegetation here is very fragile and consequently needs as much protection as it can get.
Please help us ensure the preservation of this unique vegetation:
• Walk only on the marked trail. Footsteps will kill the plants.
• Leave all the plants and rocks in place. Most of the plants at this elevation are rare and endangered. The rocks provide shelter from the fierce elements.
• Dogs must be leashed and on trail at all times.
Mt. Mansfield’s tundra ridgeline is accessible from the Gondola SkyRide and the Auto Toll Road summit parking lot.
• The hike from the top of the Gondola SkyRide up the Cliff Trail is extremely challenging. Wear proper hiking boots and clothing and expect tough, rocky terrain. For a more moderate route to the Chin (summit), follow the Long Trail along the ridgeline for 1.5 miles to the Visitor Center at the top of the Auto Toll Road.
• Auto Toll Road Drivers: This is a dirt/gravel road with tight turns and steep pitches. Brakes may overheat while descending; use low gear and brake appropriately. Watch for hikers, wildlife and oncoming vehicular traffic.
• Mountain weather is unpredictable and changes fast. Hikers should carry water, warm clothes, a headlamp and a map.
• If you are caught in an electrical storm, get below the tree line and do not seek shelter in a cave!
• Trail Markings: The Long Trail is marked with 2” x 6” white blazes. Other trails are marked with blue blazes.
• Dial 911 in an emergency and stay on the line until the dispatcher releases you.
To reach Stowe Mountain Resort, call (802) 253-3000.
For More Information
The Green Mountain Club’s summit caretakers are stationed along the ridge to help protect the alpine plants, and to answer any question that you may have about the mountain. We recommend a visit to the GMC Visitor’s Center on Rte. 100, south of lower Stowe Village: call 244-7037 or go to greenmountainclub.org to learn more. An informative display of the summit ecosystem can be viewed at the GMC Visitor’s Center located at the top of the Auto Toll Road and in the Gondola SkyRide top terminal.
Please visit our resort retail shops where more detailed hiking guides & maps for the Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak regions are available for purchase.
There is a unique energy here which is derived from our sense of place. The principals that guide Stowe Mountain Resort focus on respecting each other and the environment. In 2011, Stowe Mountain Resort earned ‘Sustainable Community Certification’ from Audubon International, becoming the first ski resort in the U.S. to receive this environmental achievement. Stowe adheres to the highest environmental standards covering 15 focal areas including: local food sourcing, rural heritage, wildlife preservation, water quality, energy efficiency, waste reduction and more.