Mt. Mansfield is a National Park and is on the Vermont Fragile Areas Registry. It has one of the rare arctic-alpine plant communities. For this reason, it is imperative to stay on the trail, as many of these plants are difficult to distinguish from more common vegetation on the mountain. The rangers can be a resource for learning more about this rare and special area.
The features of this mountain, when viewed from the east, resemble a profile of a man’s head. The distinctive features are the Forehead, Nose, Upper Lip, Lower Lip, Chin and the Adam’s Apple. Many of the guides will reference these features in the description of the trails.
MT Mansfield (4,393 feet) When viewed from the east, the mountain has a profile of a human face, with a forehead, nose, lips, chin and adam’s apple.
There are multiple and varied approaches to the mountain. Depending on your desire and time restrictions, you can find a way to the top that will satisfy your needs. This popular and difficult mountain has a toll road, a gondola, 9 approach trails that link to 15 trails along the summit and those link to 31 trails that branch throughout the Mansfield region and beyond. It is easy to find the hike you want with this many possibilities.
If you approach from Smuggler’s Notch, you will ascend the steepest section of the Long trail. At this point, the trail ascends 3000 vertical feet over 2.3 miles to the top of Mt. Mansfield. This approach, on a clear day, can open up an amazing 360 degree view that can include the Adirondacks of New York, Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and Lake Champlain in Vermont as well as the Granite Range and many other natural attractions.
The mountain is open year round, and depending on your approach there will be a nominal fee, i.e. the toll road, the gondola and Underhill Campgrounds.
Many resource guides advise that hikers allow one day to ascend to Taft Lodge and finish your ascent to the summit the second day. It is recommended that you leave your heavy backpack at the lodge, as it can be dangerous to carry this weight up the rest of the mountain due to the steep and rocky trails. It is recommended that you take a daypack with food, water and you dress in layers in for the changing weather you can experience.
If you have time in the day left after reaching Taft Lodge, you can take a daypack and explore the Adam’s Apple, the Chin or the Lake of Clouds.