Stowe-Area Hiking: Mt. Mansfield Chin via Hell Brook Trail
- Skill Level: Expert
- Type: Full-day hike
- View trail map
- Distance: 5.1 miles (includes walk back to car)
- Time: 4 – 5 hours
- Climb: 2,800’
- Trailhead Location: 6443 VT-108, Jeffersonville, VT 05464 From the historic village, take Route 108 north approximately 9 miles. Look for the Hell Brook Trail signs on the left side of the road marking this trail. There are a few small parking areas along the road. If this parking area is full, drive about 0.2 miles north on Route 108 to the top of Smugglers’ Notch, or south about 2 miles and park at Stowe Mountain Resort.
About the Hike
Appropriately named, the Hell Brook Trail is one of Stowe’s most challenging hikes on Vermont’s tallest peak, and is recommended only for expert hikers who are comfortable climbing steep, wet, rock faces with high consequences. This trail ascends up a brook, and thus is almost always extremely wet and slick. Due to the steep grade, the Hell Brook Trail should only be used for ascent, not descent. Hikers are encouraged to descend the Long Trail to route 108 and walk north back to the Hell Brook parking area.
Expert hikers looking for an adrenaline rush, spectacular views, and a thoroughly exhausting route will be in for a treat on this full-day adventure.
The trailhead for this hike has a large sign and is clearly visible on route 108. The hike starts out with a 0.9-mile climb up a very steep river bed with occasional views of Smugglers’ Notch through the trees along the way. After this challenging ascent, you will arrive at a trail intersection for the Hell Brook cutoff. This traverse can be taken for an easier route and leads to the Taft Lodge, the oldest and largest shelter along the Long Trail, originally built in 1920. View our guide for The Long Trail (South) to Taft Lodge and Mansfield Chin for more information on this route.
Alternatively, hikers looking for even more of a challenge and better views can proceed straight ahead another 0.4 miles up towards the Adams Apple. This section of trail overlooks the Lake of the Clouds to the right, one of the highest-elevation bodies of water in Vermont, and soon reaches an intersection with the Adam’s Apple Trail. Both the Hell Brook Trail and Adams Apple Trail continue on for 0.2 miles in the same direction. While the Adam’s Apple Trail offers better views, it is more exposed to the wind. Soon, both trails reconvene and connect to the Long Trail for the last 0.3 mile rocky climb up to the summit.
After celebrations, photos, and relaxation at the highest peak in Vermont, hikers can either reverse course and proceed down the Long Trail North—the direction you hiked up—or continue along the Long Trail South 0.2 miles to the next trail intersection to take the Profanity Trail, a 0.5-mile trail that is slightly easier to descend. Both trails lead to the Taft Lodge. Continue down the Long Trail North to Route 108. Upon reaching the road, walk north up Route 108 about a mile to the Hell Brook parking area.