Sunset Ridge Trail

Tips for Birding

Due to limited parking capacity, carpooling to Underhill State Park is recommended. In times of peak visitation, visitors may need to park along Mountain Road below the State Park entrance.

About this Location

One of the must-do hikes in the Northeast, Mount 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 hiker 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 hiking 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.

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

About Underhill State Park and Mount Mansfield West Slope

See all hotspots at Underhill State Park and Mount Mansfield West Slope

Underhill State Park is within Vermont’s 39,837-acre Mount Mansfield State Forest. On the headwaters of the Browns River, at about 2,000 feet elevation, the park lies on the west slope of 4,300 feet Mount Mansfield, the state’s highest peak. Just over the summit ridge is the Stowe ski area, one of North America’s original ski resorts.

The elevation and corresponding exposure to harsh climatic conditions have resulted in some relatively unusual vegetation types along the mountain’s summit ridge. The low, stunted plants found in the alpine tundra near the summit, very rare in New England, are more typical of types found on broad expanses of Arctic tundra a thousand miles farther north. These plants are fragile (if you hike to the summit, please stay on marked trails).

The park is probably best known for its hiking. There are four trails to the summit ridge of Mount Mansfield from Underhill State Park. Walking up the gated road from the park headquarters, the trails begin branching off shortly above the group camp area. The Sunset Ridge Trail, 3 miles to the summit, is the most popular. Vermont’s Long Trail traverses the summit ridge and, with several trails from the other side of the mountain, many loops are possible. Hiking information and trail maps are available at the park headquarters and from the park website.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Official Website and Underhill State Park and Mount Mansfield West Slope Official Website

Last updated October 13, 2023