Have you ever dropped into a cave, squeezing through a space just wide enough for your body and your pack? Well, if that's the kind of thing you enjoy, have I got a hike for you!

The trails less traveled: Most people summit Mount Mansfield via the scenic Sunset Ridge Trail or the Long Trail. Adventurous types tackle the short and steep Hellbrook Trail but check out the Halfway House Trail to the Canyon Trail if you're looking for something unique and a bit off the beaten path. This route, which passes just below the ridgeline of Vermont's highest peak, is a playground of caves, rock scrambles, and bouldering. 

35919502_10160459274330006_6040640230720012288_n.jpg

Adam, our son David, and I explored the Canyon Trails (there's the Canyon Trail and the Canyon Trail North) on a bluebird day. We were ready for an adventure, and we got a great one! David was preparing for an overnight hike, so he hiked with his heavy pack to get a feel for it. I was glad to have my light pack since there were lots of tight spots! 

20180621_114608_HDR.jpg

 

I'm a big fan of rock scrambles and caves! I'm one of those people that loves a good rock scramble, and the caves on the Canyon Trail are right up my alley! They're large and airy, with views that look out over the valley below, and you never feel like you're getting swallowed by the earth (that's a big plus!) 

There are views to be seen along this route, but the traverse requires many hand and footholds, so our eyes were on the terrain around us most of the time. 

After passing the Subway (cool ladders in here if you do it!), we continued our scramble, eventually leaving the caves behind and coming out onto a series of boulders and ledges with expansive views.

At the end of the Canyon North Trail, we hopped onto the Long Trail to make our way to the Chin (the summit of Mt. Mansfield) before heading down Sunset Ridge to our car.

35923610_10160459273340006_2955134157610549248_n.jpg

Adam takes in a view from the Canyon Trail on Mt. Mansfield.

Are you looking for something truly unique to hike in Vermont? If you're okay with heights, caves, and scrambles, and you want to see an entirely different view of Mt. Mansfield, check out this hike. I've summited Mansfield many times, and the first time I hiked this trail, I felt like I was hiking a different mountain. The trail has the flavor of some of its White Mountain neighbors while still being totally Green Mountain in nature.  

(1) comment

Bill Thurber

For more trails like these, try Rock Garden to Wampahoofus(just had to say that) from the Maple Ridge Trail, and the Cliff Trail(s)--I consider Cliff as two trails because I couldn't get across the pit in Wall Street at the middle! The GMC has an excellent waterproof map of Mt Mansfield and the Worcester Range.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to darkin@orourkemediagroup.com.

Share your opinion

Avatar

Join the conversation

Recommended for you

Recommended for you