Sunset Rock offers a serene vantage point for viewing Stowe village and the tall peaks of the distant Mt. Mansfield State Forest.
Sitting high above the village of Stowe, Sunset Rock is a small pine-needle-covered plateau of rock ledge. The rock is secluded from view in all directions by trees, yet affords a good view of Stowe’s landmark Community Church and distant points to the west. Large enough to accommodate a nice family picnic, Sunset Rock takes its name from the wonderful sunset views it provides. It’s also a wonderful spot to view the area’s impressive fall foliage.
This rock plateau is actually a boundary between two different worlds. To the west is civilization and a busy village. But head east from Sunset Rock and you soon enter the woods of the Putnam State Forest, which borders the Worcester Mountains wilderness region.
The trail to Sunset Rock begins as a path at the end of Sunset Street in Stowe Village. Since there is no parking on Sunset Street, park elsewhere in Stowe Village and walk just a few minutes to the end of the street.
At the end of this dead-end street, look for a telephone pole next to a wooded area. A narrow path that leads through tall ferns. About 15 feet up the path, the trail opens up and leads into the forest. (A parking area for handicapped use of Sunset Rock is accessed via Taber Hill Road.)
The trail to Sunset Rock is a fairly steep, though short, climb. Most adults and children should have little difficulty. A person in just average physical shape can climb to Sunset Rock in about 10 minutes, even with a brief rest period. The trail is a few feet wide in most spots as it twists and turns upward. Despite its fairly steep incline, the path is pretty easy to negotiate, and its course to the rock is obvious.
While Sunset Rock’s secluded plateau area is not perfectly flat, it is reasonably safe, though the drop-off is precipitous. Watch your kids and exercise caution in wet or slippery conditions.
From Stowe’s center, the trip to and from Sunset Rock can take as little as 30 minutes and provides a sense of wilderness just above the hubbub of a thriving Vermont mountain village.