Best Things To Do in Stowe, VT
Stowe is a year-round, outdoorsy destination. Hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing are the spring and summer's main activities. Must-visit trails include Stowe Recreation Path and those found at Moss Glen Falls. Autumn brings great leaf peeping opportunities along Smugglers' Notch State Park. Winter sports are big here, too, so if playing powder hound is your aim, head to a resort like Stowe Mountain to scratch your skiing itch. Or, learn more about the sport at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum. Other popular pastimes include touring the Ben & Jerry's Waterbury Factory and snowshoeing at Trapp Family Lodge.
Updated June 18, 2019
- #1View all Photos#1 in Stowe, VTHiking, Historic Homes/Mansions, Recreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Historic Homes/Mansions, Recreation, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
As avid fans of "The Sound of Music" already know, the real von Trapp family was a musical troupe that toured the world after their escape from Salzburg, Austria, in 1938. As the family business became lucrative, the von Trapps purchased a small farmhouse in Stowe and settled down to live amid the mountains yet again. Over time, the farmhouse grew into a large resort with cross-country ski trails, mountain biking paths, tennis courts and more.
The now expansive lodge mainly serves as a ski retreat, but the property's hiking trails and horse-drawn carriage rides are equally popular. "The Sound of Music" fans and von Trapp aficionados recommend partaking in a history tour of the lodge to get an overview of the family's history.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Stowe, VTParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Recreation, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you love exploring the great outdoors, then odds are you'll enjoy Stowe Recreation Path. This 5.5-mile-long greenway weaves its way between Stowe Village and Topnotch Resort. Motorized vehicles are not permitted here, so you can walk, run, bike, snowshoe, cross-country ski or rollerblade freely along the path.
No matter which season you visit, prior travelers said you'll appreciate Stowe Recreation Path's relaxed, scenic setting. An array of shops and farms also sit nearby, giving you plenty of opportunities to take a quick break. What's more, you won't have to spend any money to visit this picturesque attraction.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Stowe, VTHiking, Recreation, Sports, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Recreation, Sports, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
It might not be the biggest ski resort around, but Stowe Mountain Resort is still the place to go for skiers and snowboarders in northern Vermont. Why? The resort offers a wide variety of trails, from double-black diamonds on Mt. Mansfield's "Fourrunner Quad" to the beginner terrain at the base of Spruce Peak. There are also trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Stowe Mountain Resort's Cross Country Ski Center. And in the warmer months, the resort converts its skiing trails to hiking paths. Other warm-weather activities include gondola rides, rock climbing, zip lining and aerial ropes courses.
Many recent travelers enjoyed their time at this resort. However, some warned that roads and parking lots tend to get congested, so consider staying at the property to avoid transit headaches. Another downside: the expensive lift tickets. When purchased on the mountain, passes cost between $72 and $124 per person. To save some coin, purchase your tickets on Stowe Mountain Resort's website before arriving, or buy discounted afternoon or Sunday morning passes on-site.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Stowe, VTHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Smugglers' Notch State Park earned its unique name during the 19th and early 20th centuries when its towering cliffs aided illegal trade between the United States and Canada. Goods were transported through the park's narrow pass – now a toll road – which is lined with 1,000-foot cliffs.
Although the pass is certainly a highlight, recent visitors attest to the beauty of other natural sights like Sterling Pond and Bingham Fall – both great spots for a quick dip. If you'd like to camp, you can reserve a spot at one of 20 campsites online at the official Vermont State Parks website. From the campground, you can easily reach hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty.
- #5View all PhotosfreeMoss Glen Falls#5 in Stowe, VTHiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Tucked within eastern Stowe next to CC Putnam State Forest, Moss Glen Falls features a series of cascading waterfalls. To access these falls, you'll need to hike along the Moss Glen Falls Trail, which spans nearly 3 miles. Follow the trail to the right and you'll reach the base of the falls. Walk up instead of right and you'll eventually find yourself at an upper falls vantage point.
According to prior visitors, days with little to no snow and ice are the best times to hike here. Winter's conditions increase the chance of sliding, which can make hiking the higher part of the path extremely challenging. If you're not confident in your fitness abilities, stick to the mostly flat lower section. Also, stay alert when driving to the falls since the attraction's small parking lot can be hard to spot.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Stowe, VTToursTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDToursTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
Ben & Jerry's Waterbury Factory churns out delicious Chunky Monkey, Phish Food and other ice cream flavors in the nearby town of Waterbury, Vermont. Visitors are invited to watch the sweet treat being made on a factory tour, which includes a free sample.
Reviews of the brief tour are mixed. Some recent visitors felt that the whole experience was a bit lackluster and overrated, while others deemed this activity a must-see when in Stowe. Also, expect crowds year-round.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Stowe, VTMuseums, SportsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, SportsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
When you need a break from Stowe Mountain Resort's slopes, take a peek in this quirky little museum. Nestled in downtown Stowe, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum aims to "collect, preserve and celebrate Vermont's skiing and snowboarding history." Items found on display here include various skis, boots and chair lifts.
Recent visitors said that anyone interested in skiing and snowboarding will enjoy this museum's collection. Many cited the "10th Mountain Division" exhibit as the museum's best, though a few wished there were more items to see.
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