Leaving from Underhill State Park, we usually hit the Laura Cowles trail on the way up and Sunset Ridge on the way down. Laura Cowles is a steeper, more rugged, and more direct way up. Sunset Ridge offers bigger views on the way down.
I’ve been meaning to try the Canyon trail for years. It was time. It’s accessed by way of the Halfway House trail, which I’d peg somewhere between LC and SR in terms of steepness and ruggedness. About 0.2 miles before hitting the ridge of Mansfield, and the Long Trail that runs along it, you intersect the Canyon trail. It’s not marked well, with a rotted sign tucked in a bush when I visited, but it’s fairly obvious it you’re looking for it. The Canyon Trail parallels the ridge, but without the views down into Stowe. It’s got nice Westerly views with snippets of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.
It’s definitely rock hopping and climbing over, under, and around boulders and cave-like enclosures. Despite Harry’s presence in the photo, this probably isn’t recommended for dogs. He’s pretty nimble, but I had to lift his 95 lbs down at one point to avoid a big jump onto a tiny foothold. (I didn’t attempt the Subway with Harry.)
Even on a gorgeous day, with a long a traffic on the mountain, the Halfway House and Canyon trails were very quiet.
Thumbs up. I’ll be back.