Butler Lodge Trail to The Forehead

Stowe

Climb to one of Mount Mansfield’s lesser peaks, with an overnight shelter and options for longer loop routes.

Hiking Severe

Distance
7.7 km
Ascent
764 m
Descent
764 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
426 m
High Point
1.2 km
Gradient
15˚
Butler Lodge Trail to The Forehead Map

The Forehead is not the highest summit of Mount Mansfield, but it might be the most rugged. All the mountain’s peaks are named for facial features that they resemble in profile from the east, with The Chin being the true summit at 4,393 feet. The Forehead lies at the southern end of the summit ridge, rising to 3,940 feet. The Long Trail crosses over it, and Butler Lodge Trail is one way to reach that section and stand atop The Forehead.

Description

Butler Lodge Trail does have a lodge that you can stay in. Butler Lodge is one of the overnight accommodations built for the Long Trail. It’s a cabin with primitive sleeping quarters for up to 14 people. Anyone can stay there, if there’s room, for a $5 fee from April to October. In the offseason, it is free. The lodge is convenient if you want to break your ascent into multiple days or take on a longer route that includes The Forehead.

The trail begins from the trailhead on Stevensville Road and heads gradually up toward the lodge. This portion is fairly typical Green Mountain hiking, with rocks and roots and mud, but nothing too technical. Above the lodge, things get more interesting. To surmount the Forehead, you’ll join with the Long Trail and break into the subalpine zone, where there is little shelter from the elements. Ladders and exposed scrambles make parts of the trail, and much of it is on bare rock that’s often slippery.

From the top of The Forehead, you can return the way you came, or make a loop with Wampahoofus Trail to get back to Butler Lodge. There’s also the option to extend your hike on the Long Trail and tag other summits on Mount Mansfield.

Sources: https://www.greenmountainclub.org/the-long-trail/overnight-accommodations/ https://www.anotherlongwalk.com/2013/10/day-21-mount-mansfield.html https://vtsports.com/jerryis-favorite-hikes-mount-mansfield/

Difficulty

Severe

Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area