Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak at 4,395ft (1,340m). Greg, John, Nate, and Victoria all summited on October 20, 2012. We took the Long Trail to the summit, followed the Subway and Cliff Trail to the Toll Road, and finally descended via two Stowe Resort ski trails, Upper and Lower Nosedive (6.5mi loop, 2,800ft elevation gain).

We parked our car at the Southern Gateway parking lot which is directly opposite the entrance to the Stowe Resort ski area on VT Route 108 (44.533183,-72.786664). We hiked north alongside VT Rt. 108 for about 0.4 miles and picked up the Long Trail on our left (44.537135,-72.790848). The trailhead marker is set about 30 feet back from the road and is easily missed. Having rained heavily the day and night before, the trails were wet all day.

After enjoying lunch on the summit in perfect weather conditions, we followed the Long Trail south along the summit ridge until we hit the “Subway” on the western side of the ridge. The Subway is a short trail the runs along the ridge and then rejoins it. It was a lot of fun and involved scrambling, squeezing through caves, and climbing ladders maintained by local boy scouts.

Once we rejoined the Long Trail, we continued south until we hit the Gondola Trail on our left. That took us to Cliff Trail, a strenuous scramble that runs along the ridge on the east side of the mountain. We were all tired at this point and we probably should have stayed on the Long Trail instead of dropping into the Cliff Trail. I’d estimate the Cliff Trail adds an extra hour of hiking compared to staying on the Long Trail. If you are hiking this loop and want to do the Cliff Trail, it makes more sense to reverse the loop we did so that you do the Cliff Trail on the way up to the summit. Cliff Trail has several areas with exposure and terrain including a four foot wide, forty foot deep crevice.

The Cliff Trail dumps you out on the Toll Road which you follow until you hit the Stone Hut. From there, you walk down the Stowe Resort ski trail called Upper Nosedive. We ended up staying on Nosedive all the way down in order to save time, but you can alternatively join Haselton Trail about halfway down Nosedive. It’s on the left going down and is marked by a wooden placard. Lower Nosedive puts you out in the Stowe Resort ski area parking lot where you can walk back out to VT Route 108 and where you parked at the Southern Gateway across the street.

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