The Hell Brook trail, climbing 1.8 miles up Mt. Mansfield out of Smugglers' Notch, gains 2,600 feet in elevation over its length.
People who enjoy a short hike, time-wise, will like Hell Brook because its estimated hike time is only about three and a half hours — as long as you like climbing up very steep slopes. And, it takes you to the summit of the highest mountain in Vermont.
Hell Brook is known by locals as one of the steepest, most difficult trails in New England. It is said to be the hardest route you can take up Mansfield, and it’s not a recommended hike on a rainy day. It is simply not safe to hike a demanding rock-strewn trail with wet ground. On rainy days, the ground can be extremely muddy, making the going even more difficult, on top of potential damage to the trail.
Once on the path, you climb for about one and a half miles until it joins the Long Trail. Then the trail goes up Mansfield’s Adams Apple and onto the Chin. The 360-degree views from the summit are fantastic and, while enjoying them, you get a chance to eat, rest your muscles and get ready for the descent.
Or, take an easier route back down the mountain!
The trail is maintained by the Waterbury-based Green Mountain Club.
— Liam Walsh